How to keep cats out of your garden

Keep cats out of your garden

The Rise of the Cat

Today, cats have the distinguished honor of being the most popular pet in the world. They are extremely adaptable creatures and are found virtually everywhere on earth. Due to their rapid breeding rates, the cat population has swelled to an astonishing 60 million in the United States alone. This figure includes household cats, as well as the ever-increasing number of strays.

There are many reasons this figure has exploded. One reason is cat owners are failing to spay and neuter, resulting in unwanted litters. Another reason is abandonment. Cat owners are abandoning their pets because of relocation, not being able to afford the cat, or even downright neglect. (Cats)

Identifying Cat Damage

The sheer volume of stray cats has become an expensive nuisance to homeowners, as cats cause damage to landscaping, lawns, gardens, and ponds. Cats use gardens as their litter boxes, destroying plants and seedlings as they dig. They damage trees with their excessive clawing. And they leave a repulsive smell in yards by marking and spraying. Also, cats are instinctive hunters. Their flexible bodies, quick reflexes, acute hearing, and sharp retractable claws make them perfect predators for locating and catching prey, especially small mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. Those with decorative ponds have problems with felines feeding on their fish.

Dangers of Strays

One in ten animal bites come from the infamous feline. Besides pain, cat bites can have dangerous ramifications. Humans can contract infections, such as cat-scratch disease, salmonellosis, tulermia, and rabies. Their feces can transmit toxoplasmosis, which can pose a serious danger to pregnant women and immunosuppressed individuals. In fact, a considerable percentage of domestic and stray cats are carriers of the Toxoplasma parasite, which can cause lasting effects and even fatality in humans. With these potential health threats, finding an effective cat repellent to keep strays out of yards has never been more important. (Toxoplasmosis)

Cat Repellents — Keep Out Cats?

To keep cats out of your yard, you need to find an effective cat repellent. There are several common strategies for keeping cats out of an area, but they are not all highly effective. For instance, some will try positioning a sandbox and catnip a distance from their home to draw them away. However, cats have a large roaming radius. A sandbox and catnip will be a welcome sign to the area, not a cat repellent for your yard.

Cats won’t walk on bristly items. This cat quality has been helpful to those homeowners with areas of fallen pinecones and needles. However, spreading these all over your yard isn’t an easy cat repellent method.

Fencing alone will not keep cats out. Cats have lithe bodies that squeeze through small places and surmount tall obstacles. If you have a fence, you should combine your efforts with an effective cat repellent.

What is the best method for keeping strays and feral cats at bay? Water is nature’s very own cat repellent. Cats hate being wet, which you can use to your advantage. Based on the fact cats hate water, the motion detector sprinkler has been refined for use as a highly effective cat repellent.

Motion Detector Sprinkler — An Effective Cat Repellent

A motion detector sprinkler is similar to a water sprinkler, but instead of running continuously, it fires a burst of water to harmlessly frighten cats away. It’s a clean, harmless, and effective cat repellent that sets up quickly and easily. Simply install a standard battery, connect the sprinkler to a hose, and stake the unit into the ground. Because it runs 24 hours a day, a motion detector sprinkler is the perfect solution to these nocturnal predators.

These cat repellents should be placed in the area that has experienced cat damage. Putting a motion detector sprinkler by a decorative pond will prevent felines from feeding on the fish. Installing one in your garden will not only nourish your plants, it will also put an end to the digging and litter box smell.

You should also install these cat repellents in the pathway where they search for food and water. You’ll stop them from entering your yard and reaching your pets’ dishes, decorative ponds, bird baths, and gardens.

The Power Behind the Motion Detector Sprinkler

A motion detector sprinkler has an infrared sensor, which can sense movement up to 35 feet in front of the unit. When motion is detected, the sprinkler will eject a sudden jet of water accompanied by a “whoosh” sound. This combination works as a highly effective cat repellent by creating a negative experience for the trespassing animal. They will be conditioned to avoid the area in the future.

The most effective motion detector sprinklers feature adjustable sensitivity detectors and random spray patterns, meaning cats won’t become accustomed to the jets of water. With over 1000 square feet of coverage from one unit, these cat repellents offer widespread protection. To cover more area, simply install more than one sprinkler. Not only will you have an effective cat repellent, you’ll also be protecting your yard from other unwanted animal guests, such as deer, dogs, raccoons, groundhogs, opossum, skunks, rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

Types of Motion Detector Sprinklers

Most motion detector sprinklers are eco-friendly, using only 2-3 cups of water per activation. Infrared proximity and pivoting sensors offer 180 degrees of protection, never missing an animal that ventures within reach of the unit. High-tech systems have the added benefits of remote functionality, timer options, and a sprinkler mode. Solar-powered models utilize a refillable basin for their water supply, making them hose-less and relocatable. (Havahart Spray Away)

Works Cited

Cats. 19 January 2011.

Toxoplasmosis. 2 November 2010.

Havahart Spray Away – Motion Activated Water Repellent. 19 January 2011.

Guest Post By: Havahart®

23 Responses to “How to keep cats out of your garden”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    Oooh, motion detector sprinkler! What an awesome idea.


  2. bdaniel7 Says:

    But what happens when you go in the garden/on the lawn?


  3. Robert Says:

    It sprays anything that moves.

    An electric fence works and doesn’t spray you. Don’t by the cheap ones. Unless they touch bare skin the cat will ignore them and weeds will short them out.


  4. Keri-Ann Says:

    As much fun as the sprinkler sounds, we’ve had success putting coffee grounds around the perimeter of the garden. I just asked at Starbucks if they had any I could take for my garden and they presented me with a huge bag for free. :) It’s been almost two weeks since I put it down and so far the cats are still out.


  5. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    bdaniel7, you get wet :) I see my kids having more fun with this than anything.

    Keri-Ann, funny you mentioned that. I got my first bag of coffee grounds from the Cafe in my building today, which is good for keeping cats away as well as to deter slugs.


  6. Ken Says:

    The article mentions deer as well. Aren’t the deer in the NW fairly tolerant of rain? Will the sprinkler drive them off?


  7. metis Says:

    cats are annoying, but how do i get rid of the fluffy tailed tree rats? between digging up *any* thing planted, and deadheading the buds off any blooming flower, i’m about to start trapping grey squirrels and shipping them overseas.


  8. Journey11 Says:

    I’m not a big fan of cats either. Wonder if this sprinkler would work on chickens? Mine are more destructive than rabbits or deer!


  9. Rob Says:

    I keep saying “get a dog” when this subject comes up. A nice Cocker spaniel/ poodle mix werks fer me!


  10. Keeping Cats out of Garden Says:

    Unfortunately, when new neighbours moved in next door they brought their cats with them. I’m a bird lover, and have done everything I can to make my garden bird-friendly. Obviously their cats marauding around wasn’t a good combination. In the end I got a cat scarer. It’s humane and did the job.


  11. Harriet Says:

    Sounds as though you need an alley cat ally. If there is a group in your area, they trap, neuter, and return (TNR) the animals. They check them for diseases, give shots, too. Removing them from an area only leaves it open for other colonies to move in. The better way, though it doesn’t make an immediate difference, is TNR.
    http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity//


  12. Amanda Says:

    I only have problems with cats in my veggie garden. They are my cats but they are hard to control. After tons of research the solution was to put chicken wire on the ground where ever there werent any plants. They don’t like walking on the stuff and they can’t dig through the small holes.


  13. James Mann Says:

    We’ve had problems with cats in our home vegetable garden.

    I am sure we get every cat in the neighbourhood and they love digging in our flower beds and home vegetable gardens.

    We have a dog but she only goes out in nice weather but has to be kept on a chain as our yard is open on the street side.

    The cats still come in the yard because they know now that she can’t get at them.

    Plus I think most of the cats visit us after dark.

    I was wondering about the motion activated sprinkler. Do they have a setting so that it would be scaring off the birds we love having in our yard?


  14. James M Says:

    The ultrasonic units are quite effective too – and they don’t drive birds away either. They have a greater reach than the sprinkler systems too. the only downside I can think of is that they aren’t as much fun for the kids! ;-)


  15. Carole Weaks Says:

    Ok…have read some good ideas….does the coffee really work and will it bother my little feathered friends….the new neighbor’s cat is driving me nuts…it stands in the busheds behinf my feeder and tries to kill my birds….don’t want to use anything that would drive away my birds….what in the world is a cat scarer? I really need some help here! I don’t have anywhere near my feeders to plug in an ultrasonic unit…plus do the run the birds off? Thanks for the help,


  16. solar garden stakes;solar flowers; solar garden lights Says:

    Ok, the title “winter gardening” might be a tad bit misleading. I am not suggesting that you actually garden during the winter but you should be using this time to plan your upcoming garden. As you look out at your yard and garden area during the cold months of winter, let your thoughts run wild and you will be amazed at what images you can conjure up. You might even want to try some of your new found ideas this spring!


  17. solar flower lights Says:

    Cats and our gardens are normally a terrible mix. Regardless if it really is our personal beloved feline crushing our prized perennials or a neighbour’s cat improvising a litter box on our lawn, cats and gardens are a terrible blend. All the same you should not get rid of hope, cats are intelligent and can simply be conditioned to regard our gardens. This can be used to regardless if we want to establish a “cat zone” in our garden for our individual feline, or if we want to maintain the marauding mass of neighbourhood cats absent.


  18. Tommy friend Says:

    I hear that glass jars full of water will keep cats out because a cat won’t potty if it see’s it own reflection because it thinks it’s being watched


  19. Tracey Leech Says:

    I believe that cats should be allowed to play outside, it’s natural, you just need the right show them what they can do and what not. Cats are inherently wild animals, it is impossible to limit the closed space.


  20. jb Says:

    does anyone know of a remote-controlled version of these cat sprinkler deterrents? how does the owner not get sprayed himself when going out or coming back home? i need one in my driveway where my neighbor’s unwanted dogs and cats come into and do their stuff and walk on the hood and roof of my car.


  21. Hunter Says:

    I can vouch for the motion activated sprinkler. I used it in my yard, not to keep cats out of a garden, but to keep raccoons from tearing up my lawn. Within a day of installing it, the raccoons had move on and were not destroying my grass. It was much easier and cheaper than having them trapped live and released elsewhere.


  22. Gerri Says:

    We have a cat that is eating the flowers off my cucumber plant than vomiting them back up in my yard. Nice thing to wake up to in the morning. Used moth balls…that worked for a while but really don’t want to keep those in the yard…doing coffee grounds now but also going to go get some chicken wire I guess…


  23. Steve Jacob Says:

    Why don’t you plant Rosemary and lavenders in the garden they work as an excellent natural cat repellent.


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