Suggestions please... animal using my flower bed as a litter box!

highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)October 19, 2006

What is the best way to discourage this? I never had this problem at our last house, but the beds there were mulched with rock, here we are using a cedar mulch. The worst part is I suspect it is the next door neighbors, who we are friends with.

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The perfect solution would be if your neighbors would keep their cat indoors where it would live a longer and healthier life anyway :), but there are some things you can try.

Scarecrow Motion Activated sprayer, expensive and you have to leave it connected to a garden hose so not useful in freezing weather. It really can work for training wandering pets when used the right time of year though....combination of noise, motion, water have them looking for new 'digs'.

Lengths of chicken wire cut to fit between your plants, if they can't dig and scratch the ground or your mulch, they will find someplace else to go. Downside - it's unattractive and you risk catching a foot on it and tripping.

Get Off My Garden green jello-like cubes, available at most pet stores, have worked for me. Critter Ridder by Havahart (the pet friendly people) is a granular product that is also an effective repellent.

Can you tell I've shared your problem, having used all of the above at one time or another? I like cats, I just don't like cleaning up after someone else's, and I resent them stalking my birdbath....

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 8:42PM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

I had a neighbor's cat who discovered my kids sandbox was the world's biggest litter box. Yuck. I put a cover on it. But I share your pain. I found cats scratching in one of my perennial beds. Up to no good. I peeled some oranges and scattered the peels around my plants. Cats left. They hate citrus.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:42AM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Is your garden being eaten by voles or your lawn tunneled by moles? Got gophers? Are mice nesting in your mulch and gnawing your flowers and shrubs. Are chipmunks making your life miserable. Be glad the cat is visiting your garden. BTW, cat poop turns into good compost by spring. Just my humble opinion but check out this link. BTW, if I have seedlings or something that the cats must stay away from, I push 4 or 5 inch sticks into the soil every few inches. Cats avoid that area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Varmits in the garden

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:02AM
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Scarecrow sprinkler did it for me a few years ago...

Also I think the neighbor stopped feeding the strays after I complained (thought they were her cats, they were actually strays)...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:07AM
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I bought a "Catch-'em-Alive" trap and when I start having this problem, I set it in the back yard, inside my fence. When I catch a cat, I take it trap and all to the Humane Society and let them take it out of the trap and find it a new home or what ever they do with them.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:24AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

Loose cats are really a pain and they are decimating the bird population. Grrr. Cats (and dogs) hate to step on anything spiky. The chicken wire is cheaper or you can buy pre-made spikes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat Scat

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:53AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

When I went back and read my original post, I realized that I left out the word "cat". That really would be a problem if it were the "neighbors", LOL!!! I'm surprised no one else caught that.

Anyway, I know that cats are beneficial as far as running off other garden varmits (and I have indoor cats, so don't think I'm a cat hater), but I can't tolerate stepping on fresh poo when I'm working in the garden!

Jannie: We have a large sandbox too, but so far the privacy fence is enough to keep them out of the backyard. The orange peels sound like an inexpensive solution, so I may try that first. I'm assuming it won't harm the plants.

The scarecrow sprinkler seems like overkill in this situation, plus you can only use it for half the year (due to our zone). However, there are deers in the area, so I may need one in the future.

I definitely don't want to use a trap, as that would likely ruin our relationship with the neighbors.

Nancyd: Thanks for the link. That looks like a good solution if the orange peels don't work.

Notice how I'm starting with the cheapest solution first. Thanks everyone for the excellent ideas!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:32PM
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Cats in my area love cedar mulch and use it as their litter box. We use a combination hemlock/pine mulch in our beds, which cats apparently hate. :-)

We also sprinkle Shake Away (granulated predator urine, a fox/bobcat blend - I think) along the perimeter of our property, which keeps them out of our yard.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 1:27PM
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fennelgrl(Z6a OH)

I read of someone who used the trimmings from her annual rose pruning. She cuts them into lengths and then sticks the prickly sticks in the ground like little spikes.

BTW, if I had a neighbor who was catching cats and then transporting them straight to the Humane Society, we would be at eternal odds.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 4:10PM
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You might as well be mad at me for trapping your cat, as me be mad at you because I can't work my beds without getting a hand full of cat crap! In our town, there is a leash law for dogs and cats. You are supposed to keep your animals penned up, on a leash, or in the house. It is against the law to allow them to roam free.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Well when I first read your post I was going to suggest chasing your neighbor out of your beds with a broom but I see now you were talking about their cat. I know what you are going through because we had five cats last year and they kept the beds well fertilized.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:59PM
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daisy_me(Z6b IL)

Try calling your city offices. Most cities have a leash law and will trap the offending animal for you.

I had my city come out and trap one of my neighbors cats this Summer and deliver it straight to the Humane Society. Guess the neighbors should have considered that before they let their cat roam loose.....

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 11:54AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I checked and there is a leash law here, so if you call the police when the animal is present, they will capture the animal and give the owner (assuming you know who the animal belongs to) a citation. However, as I mentioned, the next door neighbors are very nice, so I don't want to ruin our friendship if there is another way to solve the problem.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 12:25PM
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john_4b(z4b WI)

The next door neighbors are not very nice if they let their cat out to run wild about your garden, making a mess, and hunting birds or fish (I have a pond) The very last thing I want to find is cat scat when I go working in my garden beds, or the remains of a bird or fish!

Confront the neighbors, and tell them that it makes you mad. It is not worth keeping your own frustration bottled up inside you, nor should you have to, after all.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 1:54PM
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ellix(augusta ga)

Cats really don't like the water. The scare crow is the easiest thing to do. It will not need to be used very long as cats remember after a few times. Leave it hooked up and then un-hook it in the winter. They will not return. In the future if other cats bother you then re-hook-simple. Works for lots of animals not only cats. People too. I don't mind the cats at all-now dogs can trample over all my plants.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 5:51PM
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There is another thing that emits a high-pitched shreiking noise as well, I don't know how well it works on cats.

I vote you don't speak to your neighbors about it unless you find the problem truly intractable. My money says the scarecrow water thingy will quickly train the cat to go elsewhere and then you can take it down.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 6:33PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

It is already time to winterize the sprinklers in our zone, so it would be too late to try the scarecrow this year. If one of the other suggestions doesn't work, I may try it next year.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 6:51PM
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I've tried orange peels and rose cuttings at the same time(chopped up and spread around the garden) and that seems to keep them from using it as a litter box, they still come by and chase birds and squirrels! Next year I would like to add some gardens to attract song birds so if the neighbors don't take them in, we'll have them trapped and call "Animal Control" to pick them up... it's sad to think they'll be outdoors in the bitter cold all winter. :(


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 11:53PM
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Laying chicken wire flat on the beds works like a charm. The plants will grow through it and cats don't like catching their claws in the wire. I'd put it on over the mulch. Cat droppings are not good for compost as they can carry parasites.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 6:13PM
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