Cats In Your Garden
Controlling Cats in your Garden:
Nesting birds are very vulnerable to cats, as are fledglings and birds roosting for the night.
Ways to Protect Outside Birds from Cats:
- Bell collars on cats offer birds little protection, although they may give them some warning that cats are on the prowl.
- Nailing a sheet metal guard or cone to a tree trunk is unsightly, but it may deter less agile felines.
- Bird nests / houses mounted on metal poles are the most difficult for predators to reach, especially if you smear the poles with a petroleum jelly and hot pepper mixture.
- Try moving the feeder to a new location or hang them higher than a cat can jump.
- Keep domestic cats and dogs indoors at night. You can protect any chicks / fledglings by keeping your dogs and cats in the house at those times when they are particularly vulnerable.
- Desex domestic cats and dogs.
Ways to Discourage Cats from Visiting Your Garden:
- Water: Try spraying the intruder with a blast from the hose.
- Deterrent Plants: Plant rue (pictured below) - the blue foliage makes this an attractive garden accent, but cats can't stand the odor and will make a wide berth around the planting. Thorny roses also deter cats.
- Cats like dirt areas to use as their personal litter bin. Therefore, it's best to plant or mulch any areas to make your garden a less enjoyable place for cats to be.
- Homemade Remedies: Sprinkle your plants with crushed pepper. It will irritate cats and may even produce a few extra pepper plants in the garden. Cayenne is also said to work though you will need to reapply it after every rain. Or try ground-up grapefruit and lemon rinds. Or make a tea of rue, hot pepper liquid, or lemon juice to spray on plants.
- Commercial products like predator urine and cat (and dog) repellents also are available at many garden centers.
- Scare them: Try to get rid of unwanted cat visitors with devices that use sound, light, and/or water to scare them away.
- Mats: Another possibility is to lay down mats, which have soft upward facing points. It won't hurt the cats-to walk on these, but most cats don't like to step on them.
Stopping your Cat from Visiting your Neighbor's Garden:
Cats like dirt, as a patch of dirt is an invitation to come do their business. It also makes a great place to play or roll. One way to keep your own cats from roaming in your neighbor's garden is to make your space attractive to them. In an out of the way corner of the yard, plant a patch of catnip, the aphrodisiac of cats. Spread some sand for sleeping nearby.
If your cats like to keep you company in the garden, leave a cat-sized play area in one part of the garden. Make sure you plant or mulch the rest of the garden so your cats have no other place to roll and will stay in their designated area.
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