“Who doesn’t love cats?” – Your feline-loving friends say as they stroke their beloved feline companion. As the adored moggy narrows their eyes in contentment and rumbles audibly with pleasure you can’t quite bring yourself to retort with “anyone with a nice garden”.
It’s not that you don’t like cats. You understand that they can be a loving and loyal pet. They may not be as forthcoming in their affections as their canine counterparts but you certainly get the appeal. You may or may not own a cat yourself but even if you don’t you certainly don’t begrudge your friends and neighbours the pleasure they derive from their furry friends.
However, these adorable little balls of fluff are also some of nature’s most efficient hunters with a powerful set of instincts that make them a nightmare for those who love their gardens. They’re clever and agile and able to scale most garden fences with ease.
Once they’re on your property they can use your trees or garden furniture as a scratching post. They can crush, shred or nibble on your carefully cultivated flowers. What’s more, they can leave smelly deposits all over your lawn which you have the dubious honour of cleaning up. Not to mention keeping birds and other wild creatures away.
Oregano: A natural solution to an age-old problem?
Does Oregano Deter Cats?
Believe it or not, cats have been domesticated for around 10,000 years. Over the centuries, many means have been employed to keep them out of our gardens over the years from essential oils to sophisticated electronic devices that use ultrasonics. If you want to keep cats away in a cost-effective and humane manner, oregano could become your new best friend.
Oregano is one of many herbs that smell just delightful to humans but extremely repellent to cats. Its strong scent is amplified around 1,400% by a cat’s sophisticated sense of smell. So does oregano deter cats? We’d say so!
Is Oregano Harmful to Cats?
The jury’s out on this one. While oregano can cause digestive upsets in adult cats these are often fairly mild. Oregano contains essential oils that are high in phenols and terpenoids which cats are unable to digest. This can result in liver damage in some cases.
In the vast majority of cases, though, effects are relatively mild and some argue that tiny doses of oregano can even be beneficial to the health of both cats and dogs.
The good news, however, is that most cats won’t want to get close enough to your oregano to want to taste it anyway.
So How Effective is Oregano?
Planting oregano can be effective in keeping cats at bay but for a more pungent aroma it may be worth investing in some oregano oil and applying 3-4 drops to a dried out and slightly moistened used tea bag.
If you’d rather plant your oregano, for maximum efficacy, plant oregano as one component of a thriving, cat-repellent herb garden. Other cat-repellent herbs you might want to try include rosemary, lavender and lemon balm.
Not only will your garden be free of feline invaders, but the meals you cook in your kitchen will also always be infused with oregano’s wonderful flavour and you’ll even attract some new wildlife to your garden.