Mid-South backyards play host to a variety of animals, including cats. All animals fill important roles in our urban environment, but if you want to keep cats out of your yard, there are many humane ways. Keep in mind that what might work for one cat, might not work for another, so be willing to try more than one solution
Here are several easy, safe, and effective ways to deter cats from using a neighbor's garden as a litter box:
1. Cats dislike the smell of CITRUS: try putting orange and lemon peels out; spray the area with citrus-scented sprays; or sprinkle with orange-scented pet bedding like Citrafresh
2. Spray CAT REPELLENT (available at pet supply stores) around the perimeter of your yard and along the top of the fences.
3. Scatter COFFEE GROUNDS or PIPE TOBACCO in the area
4. Soak strips of old towels or rags with old PERFUME and hang them near target plants.
5. This MIXTURE is easy to make and can be used anywhere you want to repel cats (or groundhogs, for that matter):
2 parts cayenne pepper
3 parts dry mustard
5 parts flour
Simply mix together and sprinkle.
6. Sprinkle the garden with GROUND BLACK PEPPER. When they step on the pepper, it "burns" their sensitive pads. The pepper is unnoticeable as it blends in with the dirt. You can purchase pepper from Costco/Sam’s in bulk to make this cost-effective cat deterrent.
7. Cats do not like TEA LEAVES, so empty your used ones onto the garden soil
8. MARIGOLDS! They smell funny and cats have always avoided the areas where they are planted.
9. Use large FLAT RIVER STONES in your garden beds to make the soil less diggable, and so less attractive to cats. Besides, river stones are pretty. You can also use them in houseplant pots to keep the furry little darlings out of those
10. There are many HERBS that cats don’t like to be around, including lavender, rue, geranium, absinthe, and lemon-thyme.
11. You could also try using a SPRINKLER that is activated by a motion-sensor. All it takes is a time or two of getting dowsed with water to deter any cat. It can work for intruders, too. the “Scarecrow” sprays intruding animals. The Scarecrow is made by Contech (800-767-8658). Safe Pet Products (currently $72.95). To order: call 1-877-231-1426
12. Make an Outdoor Litterbox (For cat owners with outside cats.)
A sandbox will tend to be an attractive place for cats to do their thing. Take a very large Rubbermaid plastic container and fill it with regular "kiddie sand box" sand. If you can, put a couple of pieces of the cats' poop in it to attract them. The cats will enjoy digging in the fine sand and will shift to using it. Scoop occasionally and once a month or so, dump and replace the sand. If you want to be extra neat, use a large Rubbermaid storage container for the box, filling the bottom with several inches of sand. Then cut a door in one of the sides, above sand level and approximately 8 x 8 inches. Keep the container covered.
Another method: Cats love a pile of peat moss (4 feet square, 8 inches deep) in a corner of the yard, replaced once a month or so. It's very cheap, easy to handle and dispose of, keeps the smell down, and is far more attractive than the neighbor's garden.
Outside cats should always wear collars with ID &/or be Microchipped. Collars fall off--microchipping is strongly recommended.
Conflict Resolution: Sit down and talk.
Calmly share your concerns with the goal of amicably resolving the problem. Listen closely and ask questions. If the cats belong to your neighbors, talk to them and try to work things out amicably. Encourage them to keep litter boxes in their houses and yards for the cats to use.