A beautiful garden is some people’s pride and joy, and there’s nothing worse than having your pride and joy torn to shreds by something that is only following its natural instincts. Cats are one of the UK’s favourite companions – we are home to an estimated 10.9 million pet cats[i] – but that doesn’t mean that everything about them is loveable. Pet cats are well known for terrorising people’s gardens in so many ways and, though this is frustrating, what can often be more frustrating is finding natural ways to keep the furballs out of your flowerbeds. We have a few things for you to try that will deter cats from your garden without harming them, so you can keep both your flowers and your conscience intact.
Why Should You Keep Cats Out of Your Garden?
You might be questioning why people are desperate to rid their garden of cats, especially if they’re your pet of choice. Just because you think they’re cute doesn’t mean that yours (or anyone else’s) should be able to roam free through your garden as they can become a nuisance. They can quickly start to pose quite a problem to your garden for many reasons, and some of their natural actions can have rather alarming consequences.
- Cats kill birds. If your garden is full of flowers and insects, it will draw in plenty of them, followed quickly by their furry predators. If you do find an injured bird in your garden, you can find some tips on what to do and where to take them here.
- Cats’ faeces can be crawling with parasites. Their waste can poison any food you may be growing in your garden and can be dangerous if it gets on your hands when gardening.
- Cats destroy your plants. In accordance with their natural instincts, cats dig holes to mask their scent and hide evidence of their presence, and in the process of this, your flowers and plants could fall onto the hit list.
- Destructive cats could cause neighbourhood tensions. If certain neighbours’ cats are messing up many gardens in the area, this could put a strain on local relations.
How To Get Cats Out Of Your Garden
Now you know the problems cats are likely to cause, you’re probably wondering how you can keep them away. Although protecting your garden is important, it’s also important not to hurt these intruders because they are only following their natural instincts and don’t mean any specific harm to you or your flowerbeds. We have a few suggestions for you on how to keep cats out of your garden naturally without any harm to them or to your property.
1. Don’t Feed Them
If you feed cats that come into your garden, they are more likely to come back because they will assume that you’ll feed them again, so never feed cats if you don’t want them hanging around. You may be doing this unintentionally when you leave food out for birds, so make sure bird feeders are high up and out of a cat’s reach, not only so they can’t feed from them but also to protect the birds. If you’ve already lured cats back this way, try some of the other ideas below.
2. Plants Cats Hate
One of the easiest ways to keep cats away from your flowerbeds is to fill them with plants that they can’t stand. These will stop cats from pooping in your garden without causing them any issues, and many of them will also attract beneficial wildlife to help your garden thrive. There’s a surprising number of plants that cats hate, but here are some of the best ideas that are proven to work without a doubt.
Lavender is the most popular way of deterring cats because the scent that sends them away is what attracts people to it. The herb grows throughout the year and flowers into a pretty purple colour that will be beneficial to the overall look of your garden. Lavender can also be used for a number of things in the home including cooking, aromatherapy and sleep aid.
Though rue looks very pretty, it has quite a menacing depth – this plant is poisonous and will cause vomiting to both humans and cats if it is eaten. Obviously, if you choose to put this in your garden, be careful when handling it and take precautions for children or other pets. Don’t worry about the cats though – they’ll avoid the plant as soon as they smell it, so they won’t be hurt by it.
Like lavender, rosemary is good for your cooking just as much as it is for attacking the sensitive senses of cats. People love this herb because it looks and smells great in their garden, so would make a valued contribution to yours too.
Anything with thorns
You have a lot of spiky options to choose from that will help deter cats, because they won’t risk getting hurt just to wander through your garden. Blackberry bushes, rose bushes, holly and any kind of thick shrubbery will form the perfect barrier to keep cats out.
This sounds counterintuitive as catnip is irresistible to most cats due to the high it gives them but, if you want to lure them away from a certain part of your garden, a good way of doing this is with catnip. If cats smell this plant, they are highly likely to go over and investigate, so if you stick it in a tucked away part of your garden away from the danger zones, you can tempt them away from destroying your flowerbeds.
3. Loud Noises
Loud noises are a great way to deter cats because they scare them off. It might take a few attempts for them to realise that the noise will happen every time they come into your garden, but once it sinks in it should keep them away. To drive them away with loud noises, try things like:
- Wind chimes
- Motion activated devices
- Ultrasound devices
You could try spraying cats with water to keep them away, as, like with loud noises, it helps them reassociate your garden with something negative rather than positive. Keep full spray bottles or water guns on hand for when you see them approaching or, if you are able, try motion-activated sprinklers, though always make sure you know when they are on so you’re not driving yourself away from your garden. A good idea is also keeping your flowerbeds regularly watered as cats don’t like wet soil.
If cats can’t dig or even get in your garden, they will move on quickly, so try putting up high fences or planting many shrubs close together to create a barrier. Grow prickly plants in and around your flower beds or hide pinecones, chippings, twigs or sharp pebbles in them so the cats won’t be able to walk over them. They will quickly move on when they realise they can’t get to their favourite places in your garden.
Keeping Cats Out of Your Garden for Good
When going about driving cats away from your treasured garden, it’s good to remember that they are determined and cunning, so using a mixture of these natural methods is best to keep them away for good. Though it might take some time, if you are patient and determined, your garden will be cat free in no time, with the added joy that you achieved this using some of the most humane ways possible. Do you have any experiences or ideas about keeping cats off your garden? Let us know!
Angela Waxler is an ex florist, a professional gardener and has been working in the industry for well over 25 years. Angela has worked with brands all over the world during her career.