Sunday, July 8, 2007

How to Keep Cats Out of a Garden

Let me preface this post by saying I'm an animal lover and I own a cat.

That said, I moved into my current house just about a year ago and I have a feline frenzy in my backyard. This is due to my neighbor's flock of cats that roam the 'hood.

So anyway, this year I put together my first garden ever and it actually turned out looking pretty decent. And it also happens to be cat poop central. :-( Thus ensued my ongoing battle with keeping the cats at bay. Here's what I've tried:
  • Sprinkling cayenne pepper around in the hope that it would be offensive to their noses. Good idea in theory, but it washes away in the rain, and isn't exactly cheap to spread it everyday. Verdict: No go.
  • Spraying the cats with a water gun. This was actually recommended by my neighbor, who said that if her cats bug me, spray with water. This tactic does indeed work, and it is indeed a fun little hobby, but only when I'm around and see them out back. Not coincidentally, the excrement shows up when I wake up in the morning. Verdict: Marginally effective.
  • Putting up thorny branches. I had the idea that maybe if I plugged some thorny branches in the ground, they'd stay away because they would be a nuisance. I didn't have many branches to work with, but managed to secure one particular area that was often frequented. Verdict: No apparent success.
  • Forks in the ground. I just put plastic forks in the ground with the tines sticking up to keep them from walking around there. Verdict: Too early to tell, but I can't see how this would fail to work. The main downside being that it looks really bizarre.
I've read online several other solutions, none of which appeal to me. For example, I have no interest in spraying a chemical around my yard to keep the cats away... this kind of solution does not appeal to me in the least due to the potential environmental effects. Nor does buying an automatic sprayer that is available, for 50+ bucks that sprays anything that crosses its sensor. That's getting a bit pricey and a bit psycho. Plus if anything's going to be shooting water, then it's me!

But if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! It's time to end the litter box trend and I'm all ears for new, environmentally sound, affordable, humane, and preferably un-noticeable solutions. Maybe I should just move...

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