Cats in my garden

Asked April 20, 2020, 2:50 PM EDT

Hi! So I manage a community garden that happens to have community cats. Unfortunately, the cats are using the garden beds as a litter box. Any suggestions on how to deter them? Thank you, Lauren

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

The principle to keeping cats out of garden beds is to either block their access or to make them uncomfortable once they’re in the bed. I doubt there’s one best way to do that because success will depend, to a degree, on the cats.

Here are some ideas to consider:

- Lay chicken wire or hardware cloth on the soil surface when the bed is out of production.

- After a garden is planted, place a number of upright sticks among the plants. The sticks can be removed after the plants grow enough to cover the space.

- Some people use a several inch-deep mulch of hazel nut shells.

- Single or double strands of electric fence at low voltage might teach cats the garden is not for them. One style of electric fence is powered by flashlight batteries. The fence can be turned off after the cats have “learned” to avoid the area, then reactivated if needed.

- Cat/dog repellent, available at garden centers and hardware stores; sometimes they work well, other times not so much.

- An automatic sprinkler activated by a motion detector; this may need to be adjusted periodically if the cats are particularly wily.

Good luck.