Cats and Gardens

The majority of cats bury their faeces and are meticulous about this.  Dominant uncastrated tom cats may not bury their faeces to show they are ‘Top Cat’ in the area. For this and many other reasons it is best to have your cat neutered. Since cats bury their faeces they need a suitable area for this purpose. If one is not provided the cat may use newly dug ground especially the fine earth of a seed bed for preference. Cats will also use fallen leaves, grass cuttings, pebbles on drives and sand pits. They may also use long grass if the earth is too hard to dig a hole in. To discourage cats from defecating in your garden take note of their likes and dislikes listed below:

Cats dislike…

  • Wet earth – so water the flower beds last thing at night.
  • Boggy, marshy ground – so put this around your garden pond to discourage fishing.
  • Netting or chicken wire – so put it down on any flower beds preferred by cats and your plants can still grow thorough it. Cover your compost heap as well.
  • Prickly plants, ground cover roses, shrubs and the plant Rue (Ruta graveoleus, sold generally as the variety “Jackmans Blue”), which has blue foliage.
  • Diluted surgical spirit sprayed onto fences etc. seems to keep unwanted cats away.
  • Orange and citrus smells, oil of peppermint and eucalyptus can be very effective inkeeping a flower bed or vegetable patch cat free.

Cats like…

  • Dry areas.
  • Sandy soil.

Probably the most important thing you can do to protect your garden as a whole is to provide an attractive toilet area in the garden for your cat to use. Encourage him to use it by sprinkling cat litter on the chosen spot. Once he starts to use it, it will soon become a habit.
Trees and plants
Cats like scratching the bark of trees – this doesn’t damage established trees but saplings will benefit from the protection of plastic-coated mesh tied around their lower trunks. Cats love the exotic climbing plant Actinidia kolomikta, cat nip and cat mint – so don’t grow them unless you don’t mind the cats enjoying then too.

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