How do I keep my cats out of my flower garden? They're using it as a litter box!

I have just planted my flower garden with all sorts of seeds and bulbs. Unfortunately, my cats seem to think that I've dug up all of this nice dirt for them to use as a litter box. I've tried coffee grounds sprinkled on the area which I've heard are repulsive to cats and also fertilize the flowers, but my cats evidently were born at a Starbuck's. I now have sprinkled mothballs all over the flower bed but I'm afraid that they are going to burn my plants that are now coming up although they are keeping the cats out. Can anyone help me?

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Leosmama7 years ago
Get someone to attach a motion sensor (just like you have for an outside light at night) that is 'looking over your garden' to a timer for the garden sprinkler (set it to run for about a minute or so).  Then place the sprinkler in the middle of your garden. Every time the cat (or any other animal) goes to do a poo in the garden the sprinkler starts and it gets wet - and don't they just hate that!  :)

I second this option, I bought a and haven't had any problems since. Some of the best money I've spent to help my garden. It was so frustrating to work on a plant to have it eaten or dug up.

My cousin used metal jacks (from the kid's game) and sprinkled them around. The cats didn't like the randomly placed spikes. She got a "magnet sweeper" at Home Depot. Whenever she wanted to do work in her garden, she'd get the magnet sweeper, and pick up all the jacks (she wrote how many there were on the sweeper).

Maybe baking soda would take away or neutralize enough of the smell, then the cats could keep fertilizing your garden.

A lot of websites and people recommend moth balls, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with that since mothballs have naphthalene/paradichlorobenzene, which can hurt them.

I'd be surprised if others hadn't already said these but: citrus peels, mulch, netting, red peppers, coffee grounds, thorny (rose) branches (could cut paws) or a thorny plant, catnip.

We used to live in the country and have several neighbors with gardens and various animal problems.
~One with tomatoes, carrots, beans, and pineapple, put coyote urine in it and the raccoons and opossums left the fruits and vegies alone. It made the raccoons stop terrorizing our chickens at night.
~Another put his own human pee in the garden (don't know how well it worked).
~Another made a scarecrow. He was good with electronics. He got a motion-sensing christmas tree, took the green needles off, put a heavy duty plastic bag on it to make it waterproof. It worked for a while.     Maybe you could teach your cats to avoid a certain object - unpleasant things happen to them when they're near it.

I use rose prunings scattered over freshly dug ground. gives them pause (paws?) for thought
elieganz7 years ago
I live in Israel where the cats roam freely... My neighbor puts citrus peels (orange, grapefruit and lemon) on her small garden and the cats don't touch her plants.
P.A.Beard8 years ago
Holly leaves work also and if you use enough it makes a good mulch they don't like the spikes up the B
Johenix8 years ago
Plant Lemon Grass. In India they use it as a tiger repellant. Or lay down sticky fly ribbons or fly paper as a punishment device for the cat. The cat will have hours of misery trying to get the stickum out of its fur. Unbaited spring mouse traps are also good, but rat traps can break a paw.
a_traceur8 years ago
"Plant" dry, dead sticks into the flower bed about a cats width apart.
mcwillie8 years ago
this should work, plant a small (2ftx2ft) patch of catnip nearby we had one and our cats spent all their time sleeping in it
eohlin8 years ago
we had this problem in our raised tomato planter. We put a dried snake skin (shed from a 5-ft boa). The cat was terrified of it. Worked like a charm.
Spud188 years ago
There are products you can use to repel cats and dogs alike from your garden such as "Get Off My Garden" which is seen here.

My neighbor used to use this product in her garden and it seemed to work, I never seen the neighborhood cats and dogs in her yard as they used to be. She told me that she used "Get Off My Garden" spray repellent and moth balls in jars. For the mothball method, you are supposed to use mason style jars with a few holes poked in the lid. She also told me that it is somewhat dangerous and she stopped using it after she had kids because mothballs and small children do not mix. Hope this answer helps.
JennieM101 year ago

I feel for
you...we had problems with our dog also. He used to dig holes in my garden when
we were not at home. Both my husband and I work a lot and had no time to take
our Flufkins to dog training classes. We
asked one friend who works in foster care (he is always surrounded by dogs)
what we should do. He recommended one online dog behavior trainer. I love this

It helped us a lot, and I strongly recommend it for you.

There is an easy, eco-friendly, pet and kid friendly method that works for squirrels that will work for cats too

DeborahM821 year ago

its not a good fertilizer cat

poop is bad for fertilizer you can get disease 's from it especially from outside not to mention stray cat

That's why I need to know how to keep cats out of my garden.
frollard8 years ago
bb gun.

Awesome idea but that's illegal. I don't even have cats. I can't stand them! All the neighbor cats poop in my garden. Today I'm going to try pepper. Wish me luck!

JanJ32 years ago

The elderly in particular use a cat-deterrent in their garden. It is a small apparatus with a speaker attached to it. It produces a high-pitched bleep of more than a 100 decibel. The sound is mostly only audible for children, youngsters and people with ears that are still good. Many cat-deterrents use the same noise as the Mosquito. The sound causes pain in the ears, headache, and ringing in the ears. If you have any complaints consult your GP and make mention of it on social media!

JanJ32 years ago

The elderly in particular use a cat-deterrent in their garden. It is a small apparatus with a speaker attached to it. It produces a high-pitched bleep of more than a 100 decibel. The sound is mostly only audible for children, youngsters and people with ears that are still good. Many cat-deterrents use the same noise as the Mosquito. The sound causes pain in the ears, headache, and ringing in the ears. If you have any complaints consult your GP and make mention of it on social media!


Anyone that suggests leaving the cat feces in as "fertilizer" has never placed their hands in cat crap. Simply letting your cats use it because it's "good" for the garden is not a solution. Even setting the risk of toxoplasmosis aside, which in and of itself is reason enough for me, I'm not sure you can even say it's good for the garden. Try everything you can, but DON'T just leave it there!

PKaren4 years ago
Put down Chicken Wire and some Rocks to wait it down. They can't dig through it. And it Won't Hurt Them!
PKaren PKaren4 years ago
And you can even cover it with landscaping to hide the wire.
Ross11224 years ago
I see red peppers but black pepper.... It's cheap an u know it works bc we can't sniff it an be like gimme some mo! So BLACK PEPPER!
tincanz7 years ago
landmines...  or motion tracking automated machine guns.

or a moat of super strong acid.        or a giant glass dome.

or a 15 foot deep pit with spikes at the bottom.

or get a dog
love it!!!
ladymargaretrose (author)  tincanz7 years ago
That would probably work however, I love my cats. I don't want to annihilate them, just discourage them from "going poo" in my flower beds. I also have 4 dogs. None of the cats are afraid of them at all so that wouldn't work either. But thanks for your suggestions anyway! LOL
Don't do anything. Their "Waste" Will help fertilize the garden.
smiley, I do not know about their "waste" but their urine will kill ANYTHING!!! My flower bed has today been pronounced dead...the urine stench is incredible and it is outside my front window.
i have the same problem. And I DO NOT OWN A CAT!! strays for all over the town come to my yard, was told that they have made my yard the meeting ground to display their stench to show who is the top cat.
Yes cause Toxoplasmosis is great.
zomusa5 years ago
I have heard cat pee is not a great fertiziler, in fact it kills the garden.

Honestly - try a BB gun
works for me!!!
saosler5 years ago
If you lay down strips of chicken wire or other suitable material that keeps the cats from scratching the ground, it works great. I have used both chicken wire and now I have deer fencing because it is vinyl and easy to cut into the areas that I need it. You can use and reuse that material. more chemicals and no worries about children getting something that would be damaging to their health or yours. I have done this for the last few years and do not have cats in my flower or vegetable beds.
stanlesha5 years ago
you get another cat for it and try to get a area for the cat please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AlleluiaPTL6 years ago
I use brambles and also fix plastic mesh so that it overlaps top of thr fence.
None of the ultra sound devices seem to work.

I am trying to develop a pole thatfits horizontally at the yop of the fence. it twists like a pole for an indoor blind. That way any creature fox, cat trying to climb will immediately loose their footing.

Any thoughts on this folks????
pebbaranski6 years ago
An easy and safe cat deterrent is human hair. As for some at a local hair salon, spread over the affected area and Voila! Problem solved.
you need an small electric fence for the energiser use a rutland esb 15 and for the wire i use galvanised wire but you can use poly wire and you need short
pegs all of this can be found on
chicken wire electric fence. just get a small electric fence energizer and lead 2 pieces of wire to chicken wire wrapped around the garden. don't forget a door!!
Ehva8 years ago
Imagine how you cats want their toilet. Like you say, they like the freshly dug soil, it is easy to dig a nice hole in... So - you need to make them an equally or even nicer toilet! One only for this purpose! I did this for my cat, and it works perfectly! (Only the neighbor cat has not quite got it). Perhaps I should actually post an instructable for it? Well, for now, you just dig a nice bed (away from your herbs) and don`t plant anything there. Then you take all the cat poo from your flower bed and place it in the new cat toilet. They will want to go where there is already poo, and where there is now lots of nice soil to scrape in. You should continue tumbling the soil around to keep the toilet nice to dig in. If they sometimes go in the flower bed again, you move the poo and hope it was only this time. I bordered my cat`s toilet with nice stones and an old log to make it constrained and an undisturbed place... I hope it works for other cats too. Good luck!
peds OT Ehva7 years ago
I agree with making an handy alternative "sand box" area.  Cats just want some dirt that is soft to dig.  You can also water your flowers more frequently, particularly when they are small and vulnerable. Cats prefer dry dirt. I have 2 cats and this method always works.  Just give them what they want!
I think that you should install some fencing in your garden that can avoid your cats to come in. I don't know that this will be a perfect idea but i think that will be helpful. You can try get it from some home improvement store online and search for more available options as well.
Johnnyg1117 years ago
Any Kind of Citrus Peel

And they don't like Moth Balls very well either !
put an electric wire around it, or just spray something at them when you see them in it.......
itsmissmia8 years ago
I put down bird block netting that I bought at Orchard Supply Hardware for less than $10...make sure to get some u-stakes to hold it down...$3 for a pack of 25. Lay it over your flower bed, stake it down and trust me, your cats won't be interested. It's not as much fun scraping around when they're getting their claws caught in the netting. It's 100% safe and it allows your flowers the opportunity to grow. Good luck!
gadgetdd8 years ago
Try "scarecrow sprinkler". As we know water is a cat’s worst enemy.
The sprinkler combines a surprise spray of water with unexpected motion and noise to create a safe, effective deterrent to unwanted visitors, helping keep your garden looking its best.
You may want to see video and reviews at:
Ground black pepper (the cheaper the better) does the trick for my plants. We have more than a dozen neighborhood cats and they all stopped digging up my just-planted-seeds and seedlings when I started to use the pepper. I bought the giant package at Costco and keep it in the house while I keep a small re-usable spice shaker in my garden tool carry all. After a rain or until the plants are big enough, I shake more pepper each week. You don't want to allow the cats to continue, as commercial cat foods contain all kinds of nasties that don't belong in fruits and veggies. Also, there's toxoplasmosis (spread via kitty feces, see wikipedia for more info). Rice hulls work well too... They don't like the pokey bits between their toes.
Sharlyn8 years ago
have also heard the if you spray WD 40 on the ground--they don't like the smell and it doesn't hurt the plants
chris730448 years ago
jmarsha8 years ago
I put pine cones in my large houseplants to keep our cat out. It would work outside, too. Their feet don't like it. Put as many in as you can, like mulch! Not to be morbid, but cemeteries usually have the best and most.
chinkapin8 years ago
I just lost my cat to coyotes. Just be glad they are not crapping in your flowers. I woul let my cat pee in my bed if he would come back. But in the mean time you could try peppercorns.
Emsaid8 years ago
Try Putting an electric fence around your garden.
PCfreak Emsaid8 years ago
ouch!!!!!!!!! poor cats
stncilr8 years ago
Pie plates that are hung from a stick planted in the ground by a rope when the wind blows, the plate will hit against the stick and scare them kittens.
HeathersArk8 years ago
Yikes @ electric fence! :( Poor kitties & other critters. For a more natural approach try coffee grounds sprinkled around your planting beds, also blends in well with mulch beds so it is not visible. This wards off all sorts of critters (aka rabbits too, even keeps some insects like ants away if you sprinkle around the foundation of your home.) Crushed egg shells sprinkled on top of beds (don't crush too small....I believe it is the feeling of "walking on egg shells" :) that bothers them) keep squirrels at bay from digging in gardens to burry their treasures......although I just think that is the cutest thing! :)
Alicat53808 years ago
The small chicken wire layer across the ground works
Yes, this is what we do. Big rocks also work too.
d2j58 years ago
you could make some kind of pen area for your cats to be out side so that they ar'nt in your garden, anyhow its just an idea
We had mint growing wild near the back door. Every time I ran over it with my scooter/wheelchair .... the scent was just SOOOO wonderful! Then hubby pulled it up; put it into a pot where it died :(
well mint spreads like a weed so a few new mint plants could replace the other ones
IckleAme8 years ago
I remember when I was a kid I had a neighbour who had problems with cats coming into their garden. They put orange peel in the soil next to their plants and this deterred the kitties! Good luck!
dillpixel8 years ago
Chicken wire (for smaller areas) or deer fencing (for larger areas) can be cut to fit and once it's laid down, animals will avoid walking on it or messing in it. They don't like it. ;0) It's not very expensive, either, and so far it has not kept anything from growing there. Good luck!
Mothballs. Keeps away everything! Deer, cats, dogs; heck, my aunt even said the keep snakes away! Take an old soda pop bottle - about a 24 oz - poke holes in it with a nail. This will allow the "aroma" to escape but contain the chemically run off from wet mothballs. Put the cap on and set it out.
smileyguy8 years ago
Try catnip... but heavily sprinkled with the strongest pepper or chilli you can find! At first they will be intrigued and attracted by the catnip, but when they have a sniff they'll get a shock! keep it up and they'll eventually relate that area of the garden with a burning nose!! bit mean, but it'll work!!
papabob568 years ago
Paganwonder is correct about the pepper, I use whatever bulk pepper (black, red or whatever) I can get cheap. I also use rose bush trimmings as a natural barbed wire on the ground, that works as well. You can steer them to an area in the yard you want them to use, by dumping a small amount of litter from their litterbox. I've dug out an area in the corner of my yard thats blocked from view by some large bushes. The cats like it, I like it, its a win-win for all concerned. : )
13angels8 years ago
use pine needles as top mulch, cats hate anything between thier toes, also if you plant mint it WILL take over your garden.
lopoff8 years ago
put minty things. i had a cat pooping in my drive way i put a mint plant their the cats went away so plant some mint and no more kittys
paganwonder8 years ago
ground blackpepper has been working- don't know if it will continue to work- I got a couple of big bottles from Costco pretty cheap.
I heard that Kayne pepper will keep them away, it works with deer and squirrels.