Return to the Vegetable Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Posted by Maxim1122 Israel (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 10:46

Hello everyone,
I have a cat that goes outside, and I recently installed new beds in my garden, and my cat started digging in it, and making it's needs.. you know..
And I have a rock kind of mulch over my soil, so it's annoying to separate the rocks that are dug up into the soil and find my cat's needs in the soil (it stinks like hell). I have tried all of the methods, spread mulch, spread some ground black pepper over the soil, put my potted lavender near the beds, and I bought this expensive bottle that contains gel drops that are supposed to keep cats and dogs away from the garden.. guess what? NOTHING worked...
I'm frustrated, because my growing season starts in less than two months..
What do you suggest?? Maybe I should try to spread glass shards over the top? I can't train my cat to poo in a litter box anymore, she's a grown cat. (She always did her needs in the corner of my garden where I don't mind her doing her needs there).
PS- I think that gel stuff (It says that it's made out of extra absorbent polymer and fragrance agent) dissolved into the soil and some of my cat's poo is left in the soil.. Can I still grow edible crops in there? the soil smells like that gel stuff (has a laundry detergent smell to it)..
THANKS!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"PS- I think that gel stuff (It says that it's made out of extra absorbent polymer and fragrance agent) dissolved into the soil and some of my cat's poo is left in the soil.. Can I still grow edible crops in there? the soil smells like that gel stuff (has a laundry detergent smell to it).. "

The "gel stuff" can't be good for the soil... Is it made to be applied to a garden? Personally, I would probably worry more about that then your cats feces. What is your cat eating? Dry cat food? If so, it's made of similar ingredients as cattle feed, which farmers actually intentionally apply that manure to enrich their gardens. Of course, you really don't want any cat feces in the garden.. Try and fence her out of the garden, or possibly re-train her? Grow catnip in a part of the yard you don't mind her in?


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

You could try the chicken wire method: spread 4 bricks at the small garden area you wanted to protect in a rectangle,put a layer of chicken wire on the bricks, and use 4 bricks more to hold the chicken wire in place on top of the lower bricks.

Or you could stick some disposable cheap bamboo chopsticks into the ground in appropriate distance to each other, making it impossible for your cat to sit down. Just my 2 cents.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I would try sprinkling copious amounts of red cayenne pepper on the beds. I buy it in bulk to run off rodents. My new rescue rat terrier is helping out with them also.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

If you have any shrubs or roses that you can prune now lay the twiggy prunings over your beds. The cat will avoid the area. Rain will not wash them off and no chemicals are required. I do this whenever I sow seeds. It works well and costs nothing.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Can you squirt her with a hose? Or better yet, put a sprinkler out there and turn it on when you see her going there. I've gotten rid of stray cats by squirting them with the hose or pouring water on a very friendly neighbor's cat.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 16:41

Personally, I would probably worry more about that then your cats feces.

Agree. All sorts of animals visit gardens and leave presents unless you fence it in. It is all just a part of gardening. Any piles you can't just flip out o the garden bury it in soil.

Dave

PS: For future reference, if you need "help ASAP" with something then the forum search tool is always good to try for fast results since the odds are 10:1 the issue has already been discussed many times before.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Ok I read the back of that bottle again, it says you need to apply it in the area where the cat does his needs, and keep applying it to that place until the cat no longer does her needs in the garden. It takes about a week, and I covered that spot where she does her needs with a big nylon, and sprinkled that gel stuff again, we'll see what will happen in the next week..
And Natures_Nature, That gel stuff says on the back of the bottle that it doesn't hurt the plants or the pets, and yes It's meant for outside use. My cat recently ate only dry food, I think Whiskas, but she also eats wet cat food sometimes, which is made out of various meats..


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"And Natures_Nature, That gel stuff says on the back of the bottle that it doesn't hurt the plants or the pets, and yes It's meant for outside use."

There is a big difference between not hurting plants and helping plants. I would still be cautious putting copious amounts near your garden. Can you tell us the name of the product?

Again, I would worry more about the product than the cat.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Whether or not you are worried about the faeces, the digging can devastate a seed bed or newly planted plants. So I would still try to keep the cat out. The low tech twig technique is effective and has no side issues.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

The product is from Israel (where I'm from), and it's water based, I'll try to grow some green onions in the next week, in that soil and I'll see if they will grow without any negative side effects.
I have one more question.. I am afraid that some of the faeces will stay in the soil, and I won't be able to grow there.. Is it possible? or will the faeces decompose by the time the season starts?


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"The product is from Israel (where I'm from), and it's water based, I'll try to grow some green onions in the next week, in that soil and I'll see if they will grow without any negative side effects. "

If your really concerned, you could plant some ornamentals there this season? Or, if not concerned, plant the green onions. It's still difficult to guide you without knowing the exact ingredients..


Personally, I would focus on making the cat a little "retreat" far away from your garden. Perhaps, plant her own little garden for her? There's several ways to train cats, you just have to put in the time and work.


Maxim, what is your concern about cat feces, germs, disease? I personally wouldn't worry about that. All you can do is either train your cat, or just pick up the feces every time you come across it.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 14:52

I am afraid that some of the faeces will stay in the soil, and I won't be able to grow there.. Is it possible? or will the faeces decompose by the time the season starts?

They rapidly decompose, more so if buried in soil.

I too wonder why you are so concerned about the cat when all sorts of animals deposit urine and feces in gardens and always have. Not to mention that gardeners use all sorts of manures in their gardens and have for eons.

I don't know what sorts of mammals and insects you have in Israel but here it is dogs, squirrels, coyotes, deer, rabbits, worms/grubs, beetles, birds, mice, rats, etc. etc. Most of it you never even see but it is there so cat feces are the least of the problems.

Gardens are far from a sterile environment at any time. :) That is why you wash all the foods before eating them and, when appropriate, cook them well.

Dave

This post was edited by digdirt on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 18:12


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

At my previous house I had a lot more sun and a much larger veggie garden. When I would sow rows of seeds in nice freshly raked soil, I laid down a piece of wire fencing flat over the rows. The fencing was that typical yard wire with 2x4 inch openings. It can be cut to the size you wish to use. This worked very well to keep cat from digging in my rows of seeds, and easy to remove once the seedlings got a few inches tall.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I've read somewhere that if cat or dog faeces are present in the soil, you can't grow edible crops, is it true?


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 11:19

I've read somewhere that if cat or dog faeces are present in the soil, you can't grow edible crops, is it true?

I think this question has already been answered above - several times. One can "read somewhere" lots of things. That doesn't make them true. Obviously it is NOT true.

In addition to the deposits made by many garden animal visitors, composted animal wastes have been used in gardens as a source of nutrients for centuries.

But the choice is yours. No matter what we say, clearly you believe it is a danger and you aren't going to be comfortable eating food from your garden. So find a method to keep the cat out of the garden that will let you be comfortable with eating the food.

Dave


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I would just cut pieces of chicken wire and place them where they are needed. Nothing fancy, just place them around.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Get rid of the cat: -)D


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Cat Feces is dangerous to have around your vegatables, period ! Just because we use other animal manure, it does not mean it is okay to have cat or dog feces. It is entirely different. I use a motion sprinkler, and it WORKS !! It really does ! I just position it so that if they come in from either direction, they will get sprayed. They do not like it at all. Good luck !! =)


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I think the simplest strategy would be to remove the bed. No, I don't mean with a backhoe and pickup truck. I mean by making the bed unavailable to the cat. Since you don't have anything growing there now, you could cover it with newsprint, butcher paper, or a tarp. The cat walks out there, is puzzled that it can't find it's "place", and finds another one that is ideally away from the garden. Cats are creatures of habit, so once it changes it's "place" you're done. I'm guessing that in two months it will have totally forgotten about your garden bed.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Cat Feces is dangerous to have around your vegatables, period ! Just because we use other animal manure, it does not mean it is okay to have cat or dog feces. It is entirely different.

Dangerous how? What data is this claim based on please?

If it were true then millions of us who enjoy rural living and always have numbers of cats freely roaming the farms, ranches, and gardens - not to mention all the dogs - would be what? ill? dead?

It isn't like the plants just suck up feces and all the bacteria in the soil and dump it right into the edible parts! If you don't want it in your garden, fine. But please don't make unsubstantiated claims of danger.

Dave


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Cats are prime hosts for toxoplasmosis, which is a parasitic disease. Google it. All kinds of nasty stuff, including mental disorders, is linked to toxoplasmosis infection in humans. Very bad for pregnancy. The eggs remain viable in soil for several years. Composting won't necessarily kill them. Those eggs are easily picked up by humans by hand-to-mouth contact in gardening. That being said, this parasitic disease is picked up by cats by eating infected meat. So the rule of not composting cat poop probably doesn't apply as much to indoor cats, unless they're killing rodents in houses. Outdoor, and especially feral cats are the usual feline hosts. In this case, it sounds like we're talking about an outdoor cat. Now, you don't have control of stray outdoor rodents in your gardens, but still ...

That being said as well, lots of people get toxoplasmosis. The epidemiology is that there is a good chance that you've had it. Most of the time, when it is acute, it just seems like the flu. But it's a flu with risks, and it can turn chronic.

By the way, dog poop isn't as bad. The main hazard from that is roundworms, though roundworms don't survive composting.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

P.S. That's why we wash our hands with soap when we're done in the garden.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

My cat is vaccinated, is this still a problem?


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I'm pretty sure there is no vaccine for toxoplasmosis.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I'd rather have the cat then the mice that will show up, once the cat is no longer there. We have barn kitties and they love the garden beds. They occasionally will dig in freshly dug up soil, but mostly like to sleep and play in the garden. These are mainly rose and perennial beds.

For a veggie garden...I wouldn't use rock mulch, but I would try Floral's excellent suggestion! I might try that myself :)


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"P.S. That's why we wash our hands with soap when we're done in the garden."

I never wash my hands with antibacterial soaps, and i certainly don't wash my vegetables with soap. I do, however, use "old fashion" lard and lye soap when showering, but on occasions. Sure there are some gnarly pathogens and germs, but im not too fond of the "germ theory". Humans been exposed to these germs for eons, they certainly didn't have these anti microbials like they do today.


"For a veggie garden...I wouldn't use rock mulch, but I would try Floral's excellent suggestion!"

I was going to address the rock mulch.. Why not use organic matter that will decompose and nourish the soil, instead of inorganic rocks that aren't decomposing or adding any real benefit to the soil, besides maybe moisture retention, and pest prevention?


I give my dogs raw bones and when I shovel snow, I accidentally throw some feces over the garden fence along with the snow. The germs haven't killed me, yet..


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"Humans been exposed to these germs for eons, they certainly didn't have these anti microbials like they do today."

Yeah, eons ago they used to die like crazy too! Microbial illnesses were a leading cause of early death. Ah, the good 'ol days. But that's right, if you end up with some bad disease from your soil, they'll now probably have some treatment for it.

Actually, just hosing off your hands will probably keep you pretty healthy.

Of course, there are those who take antiseptic showers and gargle with gin every time they touch dirt ...


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

"Cats are prime hosts for toxoplasmosis, which is a parasitic disease."

If you have cats, you've probably already been exposed, and frankly, most of the research at this point says its only dangerous if you're exposed for the first time while pregnant in the (I believe) 2nd trimester. (or immunocomprimised)

There's some worry, but mice are also a host for Toxo, as are some small birds, and you're not going to keep them out of your garden.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I think that's exactly right. As I said, there's a good chance you've already had it. So toxoplasmosis is not a disease to be desperately feared. But there is no reason to encourage it. It is noteworthy that (outdoor) cat poop is just epidemiologically different than cattle poop.

Also correct that wild animals can poop toxoplasmosis all over your garden. Though I suspect that wild rodents at least are largely going to avoid places where there is a lot of human smell. They'll dash in for a snack, and then dash out.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Wild rodents that have toxoplasmosis aren't going to avoid anything. They're probably attracted to human smell, just as they're attracted to cat urine.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

That's a good point. See link below. All the more reason for keeping cats out of garden beds, because they just attract rodents with toxoplasmosis. But there is no evidence that toxoplasmosis affects other rodent fears.

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


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Re the antibacterial soap. My kids' Ped pooh poohed antibacterial stuff way back in the 80s, due to staph bugs that were becoming immune to antibiotics!
He encouraged them to run around and roll in the dirt!
Because we were in a horse area, he did insist on regular tetnis vaccines and all other vaccines be up to date.
As for the cat Sh**, we have a bunch of cats lately and are leaving cardboard down and putting wire down for new or re-vamped beds.
When I find it, I fling it over the fence to the neighbor's field who introduced all these cats to my property! Nancy


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Spread basic pinecones over the bed .... they don't like them at all ....


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Since my wife is watching an episode of Suits that I've already seen, I'll share our experience with toxoplasmosis.

Our 1-1/2 YO had a large abcess on the side of his neck. The ER doctor lanced it, had it teasted, and it turned out to be toxoplasmosis. His body's first line of defense, the lymphatic system, did it's job.

We had a couple of outdoor cats that were also pets. But this happened in late winter, so no garden or vegetables were involved. We assumed he got it from direct contact with the cats. We did not get rid of the cats as they kept the neighbor's rats at bay. Plus, not as much was known about toxoplasmosis back then.

Well, the abcess healed and after 30 plus years he's still not
schitzophrenic. We do have a familial problem with clinical depression. But that's, as they say, genetic - you get it from your kids.

This post was edited by terry_neoh on Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 22:54


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Pine cones in potted plants, chicken wire over beds...simple.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I use bird netting over my garden to keep the cats out. I lay it down right over the bed. I am gardening in raised beds so I just staple it to the wood then cut holes for the plants when I need to. My thought was that the cats wouldn't want to get their paws caught in it and it seems to have worked with my cats.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

We put a sprinkler on a motion detector. When anything passed in front of the detector, the sprinkler came on. The cat avoids the garden now. Unfortunately, once or twice I forgot it was on and got drenched working in the yard.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

I am trying to make "hoop houses " over each bed,...but its slow going with over 20 plus raised beds. using 2by 4 wire fencing...and others are using 4by 6 opening fencing attaching it to various size boards.. most of my raised beds are 4 by 4 in size but quite a few are close to 4 by 8 foot..... s lots to do. reason for hoops is to try to keep out insects, etc covering hoops with row cover or tulle etc......plus having cattle panels around giant garden with poultry wire ...wired to cattle panels
thought fence would keep out the rabbits . I did not consider outdoor only Kitty would be using them for extra litter boxes... Cat has several acres for his big litter box... Plus covering walk path with cardboard the mulch or deep old straw
Only reason for cat.... is to keep away the horrendous number mice that plagued us for over a year....
and he catches lots of voles too....
just chiming in
Jean


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

Either cats or squirrels or some other varmint were digging in my carrot box, so I stretched bird netting across the top. Problem solved. By the time the carrots are big enough to be constrained by the netting, there won't be all the open dirt to dig in.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

My cat has been pooping in my beds for years. At first I totally freaked out (still do when the meany pants digs up fresh planted seeds) but I'm mostly over it. I remove it when I see it. She pees in there too, fit I. Font of me as I'm yelling and shooing her.
Anyway, I read they like the clear spaces of the garden, so I've been adding my grass clippings to the bar spots. So far it's working, hopefully long enough for the crops to fill in and keep her out.


 o
RE: My cat is digging in my beds (Please help asap!)

worked for me with several stray cats destroying my lawn.

Scarecrow sprinkler

This post was edited by michelliot on Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 12:14


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Vegetable Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here