Deterring Cats & Critters in the Garden

Experiencing the unsightly and unpleasant discovery of cat scat in your raised beds? Well the cats sure do think you’re generous for building them a throne for a litter box! But for real, finding cat poop in your raised bed where you grow food is not cool so we’ve made the effort to search out all the tricks and tips of those who have dealt with similar issues caused by cats or other wild critters.

Make Your Yard Unwelcoming

Take a look around the property and make sure there are no food sources that would attract wild animals, though the cats will travel in regardless. But it’s a place to start! If you feed your dogs or outdoor cats outside, consider an alternative feeding place. There are mechanical motion-activated devices that you can place in the area that will spray water to startle the critter away. Just remember they’re there when you are out in the garden.

Limit Places to Hide

Close up holes under decks; keep the garage door shut, clean up random debris piled in the corner of the yard. These are all areas where raccoons, opossums; skunks and rats might like to hang out.

Create a Barrier

Though you can’t cage in your whole backyard, using chicken wire as a barrier in the commonly scatted areas could be better than nothing. Laying chicken wire across the soil around your plants can even work as it is discomforting for cats to walk across.

Make the Experience Uncomfortable

Hazelnut shells, jagged rocks, or other prickly material like twigs laid across garden areas can create an uncomfortable experience for critters to walk across. Choose materials that you won’t mind having in your garden beds and that you can easily push away for ease of planting.

Use Smelly Deterrents

There are products such as Scram for Cats or Liquid Fence that are made with a combination of ingredients that smell unappetizing to the target animals. For outdoor use only, these products create behavior-modification and still fit into an earth-friendly approach.

Some natural repellents like orange or lemon peels can be scattered across the areas you’re most concerned about but it’s often difficult to have enough to really make a difference. Some experimenting may be necessary. Other natural scents cats are known to dislike are lavender, rosemary, pennyroyal, and lemon thyme. Planting a few of these plants throughout the garden can help deter the unwanted cats and attract more beneficial pollinators.

Open to compromise?

Creating a cat-friendly space in the garden where you’re happy to accommodate their company can be a place where honeysuckle and catnip are grown.

Often times implementing more than one of these measures may be necessary. Animals are smart! But there are ways that we can trick them and help divert them to other places to do their dirty business (leading them to think they got the better end of the deal), and avoid our raised beds.