Cats are one of the most beloved pets across Britain. However, they have a tendency to deface areas of the garden and relieve themselves in places gardeners do not like. Whilst it’s better than using the carpet as a toilet, cat poop can wreak havoc on gardens and damage delicate local ecosystems. Gardening experts at BBC Gardeners’ World have discovered the best way to keep cats from gardens as the weather starts to warm up.
They said: “We’re a nation of cat lovers. Many of us own and love cats, but can still be irritated when foul in our gardens and hunt birds.
“They also have a habit of sunbathing on top of prized plants, squashing them.
“Because cats are carnivores, their faeces can contain parasites or pathogens not present in other types of manure, such as horse and cow.
“As such there can be risks associated with cats defecating in your vegetable patch, which is particularly attractive to cats as it often has freshly dug soil and bare earth.
“There are various ways to discourage cats from visiting your garden and vegetable plot.
READ MORE: Garden pests: How to avoid a rat infestation in your garden
Soil can also be covered with rough items as “cats prefer to walk on soft soil and will avoid prickly surfaces”, according to the gardening pros.
Essentially, make garden beds less inviting, or less like a litter box.
They explained: “They’re also more likely to defecate in soft soil or compost. Make beds and borders less attractive to them by covering areas of bare soil with twigs, pine cones or holly leaves, or laying down chicken wire.
“Driving sticks or skewers into the ground will have a similar effect. Pots can be mulched with a thick layer of gravel.”
Ultrasonic cat deterrents can also be used to prevent cats entering gardens.
The experts said: “Cat repellent devices emit ultrasonic sounds audible to cats. They can be used to stop cats from coming into your garden in the first place, or placed in specific areas such as around your bird feeders.
“Ultrasonic water devices can be used to spray a jet of water in the direction of anything that passes in front of it – including cats.
“Cats hate water, so this might encourage them to stay away from your garden, but you could unwittingly soak other animals, such as hedgehogs too.”
Cats won’t generally be repelled by plants as such, but they can be deterred by the scents or textures of particular shrubs
By carefully placing these plants at entry points you can cut down on cats wandering into gardens.
Mixing them into borders can prevent cats from climbing over flowerbeds, where they dig and disturb plants and seedlings.
The gardening experts advised: “Dot as many of these throughout the garden as possible, particularly in areas that cats keep returning to, such as the vegetable patch.”
The foliage on the scary cat plan is said to give off an “unpleasant smell” when touched and is said to deter cats as well as dogs, foxes and rabbits.