Is there anything quite as infuriating as stepping outside to enjoy the sunshine only to find your garden has been littered by cat poop. That’s why we’ve put together this extensive guide on how to stop cats pooping in your garden. We’ve looked at several proven methods to both stop cats using your garden as a luxury toilet but also to ban them from your garden altogether.
How to Deal with Cat Poop in Your Garden
Before we look at preventing cats from using your garden as their own personal litter tray, let’s first look at how to deal with any poop you do happen to find in your garden.
Without going into too many details and turning this into a science lesson, cat poop contains Toxoplasma Gondii, which can cause Toxoplasmosis which just so happens to be one of the most common parasitic infections to affect humans.
So when it comes to removing any remaining cat poop from your garden there are a few rules you ought to stick to:
a) Buy high-quality gardening or rubber gloves which you keep dedicated for the job
b) Also, purchase a garden trowel which you use solely for removing cat faeces from your garden
c) Line one bin liner with another to prevent any parasites from spreading and then dispose of in your garbage
d) If the cat has buried their poop, then ensure you dig up both the poop and an inch or so of the surrounding area to ensure you catch every morsel. Remember, Toxoplasma Gondii can survive for 18 months!
e) Your gloves and trowel may be dedicated to poop cleaning but still clean them with a strong detergent after each use
f) It should go without saying but always clean your hands after cleaning up poop
How to Stop Cats Pooping in Your Garden
In the next section of our guide, we have covered 8 popular methods for stopping cats using your garden as a toilet:
Method #1: Use an Ultrasonic Cat Scarer
This is probably the go-to method when it comes to trying to stop cats pooping in your garden. As soon as most people spot a cat trespassing on their property, they head out to their local B&Q and pick up an ultrasonic cat scarer.
But do they really work? According to the marketing material of most reasonably priced cat scarers, you are able to protect an area of around 100sqm using one device. The idea is that they play a high pitched tone that’s an irritant to cats and that cannot be heard by humans.
The problem, however, is that like humans, not all cats are created equally. Some have greater hearing sensitivity than other cats. It’s also why in some rare cases humans can hear these ultrasonic pest scarers. The other problem, of course, is that these high pitched tones are tuned in to affect cats only but will affect other animals – including dogs.
So when it comes to answering whether or not ultrasonic scarers work, it’s an annoying answer: They may work.
Method #2: Install a Motion-Activated Sprinkler
This is the most extreme method on the list! If you don’t want to fall out with your neighbour then it might even be worth avoiding this method as it can annoy cats owners.
Essentially, a motion-activated sprinkler will squirt cats with water if they enter the garden. It’s one of the most effective ways to stop cats pooping in your garden.
However, it is also one of the more difficult to implement for a variety of reasons:
a) Power – Some of these motion-activated sprinklers require a power source. You can find battery operated versions but they do tend to be less powerful with a small radius of range.
b) Water – You have to get the water from somewhere and that generally requires a constant feed from a hose pipe or water pump. Unless you don’t mind permanently running a hose around your garden to feed the squirter then avoid.
c) Innocent Targets – Motional-activated sprinklers aren’t advanced enough yet to detect humans. So if you happen to accidentally walk into it’s detection zone you’ll find yourself getting soaked too.
Method #3: Get a Dog
Perhaps seen by most as an extreme method but it all comes down to how much you want to rid your garden of cat faeces. Nothing scares cats away quite as well as a raging dog.
Cats tend to be scared of dogs because most dogs don’t speak cat very well unsurprisingly. Dogs with high prey drives – breeds such as hounds – look at cats like they do any other animal: Potential prey. Their initial reaction is to pounce.
There are of course pitfalls to getting a dog for the sole reason of stopping cats coming into your garden. Firstly, it’s a costly and long term endeavour. You will actually need to want to own a dog.
Secondly, there is a risk that the cat has grown up around a dog and therefore isn’t threatened by the presence of a dog.
Method #4: Get a Male Cat
An extreme measure for most, but if desperation calls then one option you do have is to get a cat of your own. Cats are notoriously territorial, it’s why you have a poop problem in the first place after all. If you have your own cat then they will territorially look over your garden, fending off competition from neighbouring cats.
Of course, the main disadvantage here is that you now have a cat and with that cat is your responsibility. So if you’ve never wanted a cat before then you’re probably best skipping over this method of a deterrent.
Method #5: Lay Chicken Wire Down
Much like a cattle grid works to contain sheep, chicken wire works to keep cats out of your garden simply because they find walking on it incredibly uncomfortable. They hate the feeling of the harsh wire on their soft paws.
Buy yourself a roll of chicken wire and lay it down on the ground where you find cats generally enter. They’ll only make the mistake walking on it once!
You will also find that it works as a great deterrent against digging. If you find cats not only leave a mess in your garden but also dig it up, then this deterrent can work wonders. Of course, it’s not always practical, especially if you have a well-established garden full of plants and little ground you can access.
Method #6: Season Your Garden with Spices
There are plenty of spices that deter cats from using your garden as their own personal potties such as paprika and cinnamon. However, like most living mammals, cats are individuals and have their own individual tastes so when it comes to using spices to deter cats you will have to go with trial and error.
But here are our top 5 spices that we have found to be most effective when trying to prevent cats from coming into your garden:
1) Citrus Fruits – Admittedly not a spice, citrus fruit, however, can be one of the most effective ways of deterring cats from coming anywhere near your private property. Collect any citrus peels in a container and even ask friends and family to provide you with some if you’re not much of a fruit eater. Then shed the peel into small pieces (or use a blender) and sprinkle in your flowerbeds.
2) Cinnamon – cinnamon is probably one of the most pleasant smelling spices for humans, just think of how many candles with the scent are sold! But, for whatever reason, cats are averse to the scent that cinnamon produces. Just buy a jar of ground cinnamon and sprinkle it on the soil of your flowerbeds to keep the kitty away.
3) Chilli Powder or Paprika – Cat owners will probably hate us for mentioning this one as many see it as cruel, but chilli powder really can work wonders when it comes to preventing cats from coming into your garden. First, cats hate the smell like many spices. Secondly, cats will get the powder in their paws which can act as an irritant. The problem arises however when a cat scratches a sensitive area of their body or their eyes… You can probably imagine the pain!
4) Curry Powder – Another spice which has a pungent smell to deter cats. The issue here o, of course, is that it will turn your ground yellow and can leave the faint hint of curry in the air which probably isn’t what you want when relaxing in the garden?
5) Black Pepper – Black pepper is the slightly less intrusive version of curry powder. It’ll deter cats but won’t leave your garden smelling. Again, there are some moral questions which need to be asked when it comes to using black pepper and how it may affect cats.
Method #7: Plant Coleus Canina
Coleus Canina, a herb in the mint family, actually has the nickname ‘scaredy cat’. Although a bit of a dodgy marketing ploy, it is reported to work at repelling nearly 7 in 10 cats.
It originated in Germany where some clever clogs biologist decided to create a hybrid plant with one purpose: Keep cats away.
Although the plant is part of the mint family, you certainly don’t want to make tea from it or throw it in with your peas as the smell is pungent with some saying it actually gives off the smell of urine when you brush by it.
Method #8: Sprinkle Purpose-Made Cat Repellents
Of course, there are also purpose-made cat repellents which you can sprinkle across your garden to deter cats. You have to continuously reapply the repellents to your garden until the cat gets the message and you can finally stop applying it.
The downside here is that it can get costly as you will need quite a large supply of the repellent. The other downside, with many methods, is that success is mixed with many sufferers claiming that most purpose-made cat repellents are garbage and fail to make any difference.
Can You Really Stop Cats Pooping in Your Garden?
Ultimately, what might work for one cat won’t work for another. It’s all trial and error. The above eight methods should, however, give you a great starting point for finding our what will prevent your neighbour’s cat from using your garden as a toilet.
But don’t forget to share the methods you have tried, and let everyone know what has failed and what has worked for you when it comes to preventing cats leaving a mess all over your property.