Q. How do I keep neighborhood cats out of my garden?
Cats can be cute and cuddly for their owners, but not so cute leaving a mess in your garden. Although helpful for keeping mice away, cats don't clean up after themselves.
There are ways to discourage neighbors' cats from coming into your yard. One is placing some prickly balls from the sweetgum tree in the area visited by kitty. Felines do not like their paws pricked. Another deterrent is chicken wire laid down in unused areas; cats don't like the the feeling of the wire on their tender paws. If new plants are planted, they can grow through the chicken wire holes, or you can cut the openings larger so plants can grow through them easily. Pin down the wire to keep it from shifting.
Also, certain odors can help repel cats from entering your yard or garden. They hate the scent of citrus, so sprinkle lemon and orange peels throughout your yard to discourage them. Commercial repellents are also available.
Plants with scents that cats do not care for will discourage them. These include lavender, geranium, rue, lemon-thyme, and a plant called "scaredy cat plant" (Coleus canina).
For the technologically minded, a motion-activated sprinkler can be installed to spray water, keeping cats away. High-pitched animal-repellent ultrasonic devices can also be used.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service