If you have a garden, one of the most important pet questions you might have is probably how to get the neighbourhood cats from fouling in your flower or vegetable patch. The truth is any cat that doesn’t use a litter tray will have to do his business somewhere and the garden usually seems like the ideal place!
The garden is so appealing to the neighbourhood cats because it offers ample opportunity to cover up what they have left behind. However, while most cats do cover up their business, others do not. And that’s likely where the problem of cats fouling your garden comes in. This can be especially irritating if the culprit is not your own cat. The idea of cat faeces lying in your garden can be smelly and disgusting. It can also become a danger to your family, especially the children.
Dangers of Cat Faeces
Cat faeces are harmful to humans when close contact occurs. The most common risks from cat faeces include toxoplasmosis and E. Coli. Toxoplasmosis is actually an infection caused by a parasite that can only happen when it is ingested. Ingestion of toxoplasma gondii occurs when someone comes into contact with cat faeces and doesn’t wash properly afterward. Anyone with compromised immune systems is at high risk of this infection.
The E. Coli bacterium is usually harmless as it lives in most animal and human intestine tracts. However, some strains can cause illness if ingested that ranges from diarrhoea to death. Both can be avoided by washing well after coming into contact with cat waste. The higher risk comes from cat diarrhoea. You can minimize risk by properly managing cat waste in your garden or by preventing the cat from using your garden as a litter tray.
Methods of Prevention
There is no one way of stopping the neighbourhood cats from fouling in your garden because every cat and situation is different. So, what works for one of your neighbours may not necessarily work for you. There are a number of ways you can get a cat to stop eliminating itself in your garden. Your best bet is to try different ideas until you find a solution that works for you.
First of all, if the cat fouling your garden is your own, make sure Kitty has a clean litter tray. If you know who the cat belongs to, speak to the owner about the same topic. If that doesn’t work, you will want to try planting shrubs or placing potted plants around the area the cat likes best. Mulch, gravel, or rocks in the garden also make the garden a little less appealing for the cat.
However, if you are unable to try these ideas, some natural methods may work. Fresh manure or blood meal can be an effective deterrent; however the smell may affect you worse than the cat faeces. For something a little more pleasant, sprinkle a heavy helping of cinnamon, fresh coffee grounds, or citrus peel in your garden every few days. Other natural deterrents include citrus essential oil (lemon or orange), garlic cloves, vinegar, red wine vinegar, and even pine cones. A good old-fashioned squirt gun or sprinkler might also do the trick.
Regardless of what method you prefer to try first, when using spices or oils, it is wise to make sure the soil is damp so that it sticks. However, the damp soil may also deter the cats on its own as they prefer dry soil to damp for relieving themselves. Remember, cats are naturally cleanly animals and prefer not to get dirty.
Many people think that these natural methods of preventing cats from fouling your garden are simply myth, but we can attest that they do work with diligence. One thing to remember is to avoid cruel and unusual methods – natural as some of them may be. Cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and chilli powder can actually end up harming the cat as they burn. Other repellents such as mothballs, laxatives, and poisons will only be a danger.