Keeping Cats Out of the Garden

We love our next-door neighbor, but I think sheís trying to tell us something: She put moth balls all along the line between your yards, I guess to keep our kitties out of her garden. But moth balls are toxic!

Here are several easy, safe, and effective ways to deter cats from using your neighbor’s garden as a litter box, but, unlike moth balls, they don’t pose a health hazard to cats or humans. Or, heck, you could do what my boss suggested and try releasing a whole herd of gophers or mice. Then your kitties will be the guests of honor! (Just kidding!)

1. There are many herbs that cats donít like to be around, including lavender, rue, geranium, absinthe, and lemon-thyme. Also, a German professional gardener, Dieter Stegmaier of Essingen, has created a hybrid so repulsive to cats, they stay a yard away from it. It smells like schnapps to us, and is actually a pretty and hardy plant with blue flowers that bloom throughout most of the summer. Its Latin name is Coleus canin. You can order it through various mail order services in Germany, for example here:

2. This mixture is easy to make and can be used anywhere you want to repel cats (or groundhogs, for that matter):

2 parts cayenne pepper
3 parts dry mustard
5 parts flour

Simply mix together and sprinkle.

3. Use large flat river stones in your garden beds to make the soil less diggable, and so less attractive to cats. Besides, river stones are pretty. You can also use them in houseplant pots to keep the furry little darlings out of those.

4. Cats donít like tea leaves, so empty your used ones onto the garden soil.

5. You could also try using a sprinkler that is activated by a motion-sensor. All it takes is a time or two of getting dowsed with water to deter any cat. It can work for intruders, too.

By Cait Johnson, Assistant Producer, Healthy Living Channels


Maria R
Maria Rabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing

.4 years ago

thank you for sharing the info

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

I'm very fortunate to have amazing well behaved kitties that have no interest in doing their business in the garden or wrecking the flowers and herbs!! Every spring i plant cat grass for them around the garden and on the deck and they just sunbathe in it!! Thanks

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 years ago

Rose cuttings can be used to protect new plants. A water pistol also makes a point. The coleus works quite well but it isn't hardy enough for winters round here.

Carol R.
Carol R4 years ago

Thanks for ther tips

Lydia Price

I liked the idea for the sprinkler, but I strongly agree with others here that cats should be kept indoors for their own safety. By the way, my kitties always played with and tore open tea bags, so I don't know how effective tea leaves as a deterrent would be.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for info and good comments.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for info and good comments.

Dale Overall

Cats are versatile and can be either indoor or indoor/outdoor pets depending on where you live and the neighbourhood. Cats and cat purrsons live in different situations and what suits some does not suit others. Nothing is black and is full of grey areas.

Joanne M.
Joanne M5 years ago

Cat owners need to be responsible for their cats. I have cats that are allowed out in the yard when I am around. Letting cats roam is an invitation to for problems. Even if they are fixed, they can still get in fights especially when another cat comes into their yard,

In addition to other cats there are dogs and in our area there are also racoons. Both can do serious damage to a cat.