If you’ve ever owned a cat at the same time you’ve had a flower garden you know what a challenge it is to keep the cat from using the bathroom amidst the flowers. So much for the luscious aroma of your beautiful flowers. There’s a few steps you can take, though, to eliminate the problem without phasing the cat.
Many gardeners, when faced with the problem of litter box garden beds run straight to the store shelf that contains repellents for just such occasions. The commercial repellents generally work well but may contain methyl nonyl ketone – a poisonous chemical spray which should never be used on food plants.
Avoiding harsh chemicals is a matter of choosing a more natural way to turn away cats. Sprays that contain hot pepper or oil of mustard work well and are less dangerous to the cat. Spray the liquid every few days or after rainfall. Be sure and follow instructions on the package as to how much and how often to spray, or what plants must be avoided with the sprays.
You can mix up sprays at home and spray around flower gardens to run off animals as well. Vinegar is a good deterrent and is all-natural. Most animals don’t like the smell and will avoid it. Spray juice from store-bought peppers onto the plants and this will also encourage animals to go elsewhere.
If you have a sprinkler it’s a good way to deter cats from the flower beds. Set the timer to go off at random times. The flower beds will stay damp and cats hate wet dirt. They’ll go elsewhere to do their business simply because it’s more comfortable to do so.
If you don’t have kids you can keep an outdoor sandbox made strictly for the cats. Cats love sand and will be pleased to use the area for their outdoor bathroom. And with a scoop it’ll be easy to keep the area cleaned.
If you have kids and want to use the sandbox method, make a small vinyl roof, attached to four skinny metal poles, to place over the sand box. Cats love to explore and will be immediately drawn to the area, and the roof can be placed close to the sandbox to deter children from getting into the box. The roof can simply be lifted off for cleanup.
Some gardeners use chicken wire to keep cats away from flowers. Lay the chicken wire around the flower bed, cover with soil, then worry no more. When cats try to use the bathroom, and they start scratching at the dirt like cats do, they will not like the chicken wire catching their claws and will go elsewhere.
Farm and garden stores sell a mat-type product that is laid around the flower beds to prevent cats from using the area. The mats are plastic and have small spikes that cats don’t like. The spikes are also plastic, and won’t hurt the cat, but will keep the cat from coming back to that particular area.
There are some plants that naturally make cats flee. One is called Coleus Canina. Some nurseries label the plant “scardey-cat” or “dog’s gone” but the odor coming from the plant sends cats running. The plant has dark green leaves with blue flower spikes and is very attractive, but not to animals.