Cat poop in my tomato pots! HELP!

erin007(9)June 3, 2008

Help! I live in an apartment and so I plant in containers, I've got some nice tomato plants (cherries) and have recently discovered that there's a stray kitten who's been pooping in the pot!!!!

I removed whatever I could find but what should I do now to keep him/her out of this planter!!!

Does this mean I can't eat them now!! (I probably shouldn't as it wouldn't be safe???)

I'm so upset... These are my first tomatoes I've ever grown.

Any advice is appreciated!

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alfie_md6

Just be sure to wash the tomatoes before you eat them :-).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:33PM
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ligardener

I don't think it will affect the quality of the tomatoes. Manure (not the cat kind, but manure nonetheless) is always used for fertilizing. It's the soil that has attracted the kitty. It looks like a litter box. Covering the soil with a towel, piece of window screen, or something should do it, I imagine.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:38PM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

Just put some large rocks that she can't move or anything for that matter. I had to do that with my houseplants because my cat thought I had put them there for his entertainment...It won't hurt your tom's.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 4:00PM
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mariabee(6KY)

I had something very similar happen to me. One of the neighbor's cats was doing it in the flower bed right beside my front door. The smell was not nice. I got a bunch of garlic cloves and planted them thickly all around the flowers. I didn't get much for garlic, but the cat found another place to go. I think that would work well for tomato containers too. I wouldn't cover the soil with a large rock or rocks because it would compact the soil and absorb a lot of heat. You should keep the soil covered all the time with mulch (grass clippings or crushed leaves, something that breaks down) to keep the soil soft and minimize drying out.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 4:39PM
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noinwi

Put a litter box down for kitty, then find it a home, please!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 4:59PM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

a kitty will go through mulch or grass clippings or leaves the same as soil...they don't care...You can buy thes decortative balls made out of vines or ceramic or plastic and they would work too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 5:12PM
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lilacs_of_may

My suggestion would be to take in the little guy and then provide him with his own litter box. Little kittens shouldn't be wandering around alone. It's a dangerous world out there.

I agree with the above that if you remove the poop it should be okay. There are animal repellents that should help keep him or other animals away from your plants. Some kind of screen, maybe even just window screen cut to size, would act as discouragement, too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:46PM
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erin007(9)

Thanks everyone! Yes... we've been feeding him and trying to catch him but he's too scared of us and keeps running off(he's super fast!)

We already have 2 cats but decided to adopt the little guy if we can only get our hands on him. He's very tiny and all black.

Hopefully he won't poop in my tomato planter again, I put some rocks and stuff in there and covered with a makeshift cage of hangers.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow. : -) Now if I can only catch him!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:44PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Don't worry about bacteria unless the tomatoes fall into the soil. Bacteria won't travel from the roots to the fruit.

Cat trapping (done lots of it): Get a carrier and securely block the door open. Put the food just inside the door to start, then keep moving it toward the back. When he's used to the carrier, anchor the carrier so it won't move, unblock the door, tie a string to the latch side and run the other end through a ventilation hole. Watch until the kit is in the carrier, then pull the string to close the door. Keep tension on the string as you approach, so he can't force the door open. Open the carrier in a small place, like a bathroom, if you need to. If you don't anchor the carrier, you won't be able to exert enough pressure on the string to keep the door closed, you'll just be pulling the carrier toward you and the kit will escape.

Or borrow a trap from a cat rescue organization or your local Animal Control (you won't have to watch it).

Sue

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 11:16PM
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wenderina(9 Berkeley, CA)

Glad to hear that you're planning to take in the kitten! This may be a moot point right now given that it's just a kitten, but you might want to be aware that outdoor cats that catch and eat mice or birds may be exposed to toxoplasmosis, which may then be passed along in their feces. Generally speaking, it's nothing to worry about for healthy adults, however, for a woman who might have plans to become pregnant, it is something to be aware of, as it can cause birth defects or worse. Even then, impeccable sanitary practices (wearing gloves, washing hands, don't put your hands to face, etc.) should help keep things safe. I'm just more aware of it because I love gardening and my husband and I would like to start our family within the year, but my neighbor's sweet cat insisted on using our tomato beds as its litter box. I end up scrunching up bird netting and floating row cover cloth and putting it on the ground, around my tomatoes.

Also, there's a product called Shake-Away and one formulation is specifically to deter cats. It uses fox scents or something and makes the cats stay away because of fear of a natural predator, which I liked because I didn't want to harm the cat, just deter it, but it's quite expensive.

Anyway, hopefully you will be able to take in the kitty and this will not be an issue going forward, but I'm including a link to info regarding toxoplasmosis from the CDC.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: cats and toxoplasmosis

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:27AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Outdoor cats might also have tapeworm from eating infected rodents, and it might not show up in the stool sample. A good vet will automatically give your cat an anthelmintic for tapes after extended time outdoors. Good for you for taking in the kitty, hope he is still young enough to socialize him.

Meanwhile does Liquid Fence actually work for dogs and cats?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 7:53AM
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alfie_md6

Wenderina, you can have your doctor run a blood test called a toxoplasmosis antibody titer on you. If you're seropositive -- i.e., you've already had toxoplasmosis -- you don't need to worry further about getting infected.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:00AM
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oldroser(z5)

Chicken wire laid flat over a garden area will deter cats and plants will grow up through it. Speaking for myself,I don't want cat poop in my veggie patch. Or flower garden either for that matter.
OTOH, cats do deter rabbits, mice, rats.....

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:24AM
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mrmulcher

kill the cats

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 2:41PM
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