Keeping Cats out of the Garden

I love cats.  I really do.  I have two of my own rescue fuzzits to prove it.

But I do NOT love them in the garden. And as much as I take good care to give my own furry friends their yard time safely away from the veggies, other neighborhood cats (and even skunks) will find their way in. When they started digging this spring, and leaving their little “presents”, I started thinking hard for a safe, friendly, EASY solution.

After a good bit of brainstorming, I think I managed to come up with a safe way to deter the feline diggers that would not impact my food crops ability to grow, or my ability to easily work in the garden.

Like most gardeners, I’m sure you have tried every method you can think of.  So have I.

I’ve tried laying pieces of old garden hose to look like snakes. I’ve tried hot cayenne pepper powder around the edges.  I’ve tried basil plants around the edges.  I’ve even tried those “cat scat” mats from Lee Valley which are preformed small plastic mats with tiny soft plastic spikes intended to deter the felines.  Trouble is, none of them worked, or the plants could not grow, or I could not work in the gardens easily through the season.

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Gardens with their anti-cat devices installed

So I started to think hard about an easy, inexpensive, no maintenance, safe way to keep the cats out, not impact the plants’ ability to grow, and not change how easily I can work in the garden.  What I found was as inexpensive as buying 10 or more packs of 100 bamboo kebab sticks from the dollar store.

I spent some time setting them into the gardens, about 9/sq foot, which left plenty of room for the plants.  Instant results.  Anywhere the sticks existed, the cats and animals left alone.  WIN!

I left the sticks in all season, and did not find any issue with working in and maintaining the garden.  This was important, because I wanted to deter animals, not cause anything dangerous.  If me with my bigger hands could work and dig easily, no worries.  PLus, the sticks are long enough that they are not easily knocked over by me or the visiting fuzzy felines.

Plants growing easily up and around the sticks
Plants growing easily up and around the sticks

The plants grow up around them as easily as they would any other stick or post in the garden.  I did find that after a full season many of the sticks need to be replaced, so it will be an inexpensive thing for me to replace in the spring.

What fun have you had with cats in your gardens?  Do you have other safe, easy methods that work?  I’d LOVE to hear them!

6 thoughts on “Keeping Cats out of the Garden

  1. I have similar issues with the neighbours cats defecating in my gardens. I ended up using plastic forks with decent success, but I had to pull them once there was enough vegetation that the cats were staying away as I kept sticking myself on the tines. I may have to try the skewer idea.

  2. We have a lot of kitties in my neighborhood. I like the idea of using kebab sticks. Thanks!


  4. I have a birch tree that drops lots of finer branches. So I pick them up and lay them in a criss-cross, mish mash pattern across my garden – it keeps most of the varmits away and easy to maintain and shift as required but I will try your idea this year

  5. We have a leash pet law where I live. One of our village trustees feeds two ferrel cats. These cats use surrounding yards as their litter boxes. I have tried orange peels, coffee grounds to keep our cats from my yard and garden. Short term remedies. I have a dog. I have even put shards of broken dishes around my house foundation. I have put carpet runners on patio chair cushions to keep them off.

    I’m going to try the vinegar and the sticks.

  6. Thank you for this. I will most definitely try these kebab skewers. I’ve tried coffee grounds, orange peels in the gardens, ginger and cayenne spices sprinkled in flowerbeds, even bought a whole ginger root and shredded it. The cut-up rinds and shredded ginger root have a very strong, pungent and citrus smell but they dry up and lose their odor after a short time.

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