Cats pooping in the garden could be a troublesome habit, even more so if the garden is not your own. Imagine the neighbors complaining about their beautiful crocuses and tulips being soiled upon when the “soil” in question is particularly stinky and deteriorating to the plant’s health.
It could be even more problematic if your cats are suffering in urine or bowel infections. Harmful pathogens like E.coli and Toxoplasma may be present in the excrement of these seemingly harmless and adorable creatures.
If they somehow make their way from the soil of the gardens to the fruits or vegetables, it can cause severe health conditions in humans who consume the infected food.
So, how to stop cats pooping in the garden? Let’s proceed to find out.
How to stop cats pooping in the garden
1. Cover the ground with cat–repellant plants or plant products:
Cats have a habit to roam around, hunt butterflies and bugs, and bring home a rat or two to impress their human parents.
They also have the habit of leaving marks wherever they go, to distinguish their territory from those of other cats, and they do it vigilantly. They may do this by rubbing their head and nose against surfaces, peeing and of course, pooping.
If they land in a garden area, which is not their own or is a part of their territory, they will do everything possible to mark the place as their own. To deter cats from defecating in garden areas, you can cover the area with citric peels or anything that has a strong, bitter, citrusy smell.
They cannot tolerate the smell, and will immediately run away from that spot as if they have seen a ghost.
Take some orange or lemon peels, something that is readily available in every household. Cut them into small pieces and lay them near the potted plants, seedlings, baby plants, and all around the garden if possible, especially if there are a lot of cats in your neighborhood, including your own.
Alternatively, you can spray lavender, peppermint or cinnamon mixtures all around the garden, and this method works for the same reason as the citrus peels because the smell is overpowering for the cats.
If you do not want to use this technique, then you can also plant herb rues in specific spots around the garden, or sprinkle dried rues around the garden. Oil of eucalyptus, citronella, vinegar or coffee grounds also work wonders in keeping cats away from the garden areas.
2. Make the path to the garden a little rough:
Twigs work really well in this case. Collect or break off twigs of different trees, and spread them near the baby plants or freshly planted seeds, so that whenever a cat tries to make its way to sniff or dig out the plant seeds, it will be deterred by pricks from the twigs.
Other things that may work include chicken wire, pebbles, eggshells, small plastic pieces, mulch, spiky mats, or sharp-side up plastic forks.
Don’t worry, these items will not hurt the cats that much. They will basically just keep the felines at bay, and some small pricks will teach them not to come back to the same spot again.
3. Go Bananas:
Bananas give off a strong smell when they start ripening. Take a bunch of unripe bananas, which are quite easy to get, peel them, chop them into pieces and place them strategically all around the garden.
They will ripen in a few days and will start emitting a smell that cats will better stay away from.
4. Install Water Sprinklers:
Sprinkling water on cats is one of the most effective ways of keeping them away from a place you don’t want them to visit.
Automatic garden sprinklers are available in the markets, and not only will they provide the daily doses of hydration to your baby plants, but will also make sure they stay protected and grow up to be large, healthy plants in the future.
Purchase and installation of water sprinklers may be on the costlier side, but it will pay you off big time especially in the long run if cat infestation is something you want to avoid.
Auto-sprinklers will get triggered as soon as the cats step into the garden and will start showering water all around, making startling noises that are sure to make the cats jump to their toes and scurry away to great distances. Funny sight it will be to witness!
5. Install Sound Motion Detectors:
One of the hi-tech gadgets to deter the feline miscreants from entering the garden area is to install a sound motion detector near the entrance of the garden.
Placing them near the entrance would be a good idea, instead of placing them in the middle of the area, because they cover a short-range.
As soon as it detects motion in the garden area, it will emit sounds at a specific frequency which is a high-pitched sound for the cats but is almost inaudible to human ears.
So, when you or other people enter the garden, the motion detector will go off alright, but you will not be disturbed by the sound because you might not even hear it. But cats? They will scurry off at super-sonic speeds with their tails coiled up behind them!
What will happen if cats poop in the garden?
In the excrements of cats may be present a parasite of the name Toxoplasma gondii that travels through food and water and may infect humans too. They cause severe health abnormalities in pregnant women and may cause people with a weaker immune system to lose mental balance.
This parasite can be found in the guts of various mammals, but they complete their life cycle in the intestines of a cat. So if humans get infected with the above-mentioned parasite, they can blame the cats for it for sure. Other pathogens that may be present in the feces of cats are hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
Now, is this incredibly dangerous for humans? It depends on how you perceive it. Not all cats defecate out Taxoplasma via their excrements, only the infected ones do.
Cats that are infected are often feral or street cats. Domestic cats should be vaccinated and should be taken for regular check-ups at the vets to locate any gut infestation beforehand.
Normally cat’s feces are considered to have the same composition as birds or cattle poop, in other words, harmless. However, cat’s poop should not be used as a fertilizer, especially not for plants that bear fruits that humans consume. They could be used as a fertilizer for ornamental plants.
1. Why do cats keep coming back to the same spot for pooping?
Ans: Cats have habits and are quite sensitive to smells. Whenever they go to a new place, they mark the territory as their own or a place they have liked and would like to visit again in the future, with their body or excrement scent.
If it is a garden area, cats would love to spend some time over there, either enjoying the nature or for a natural spot for comfortable pooping experience. Cats have a habit of digging out holes or pockets in soft soil, and then pooping into the pocket, covering the hole back again after finishing their business.
This is not something humans have taught them to do—it is an innate habit that gets reinforced observing their mother do the same when they were younger.
Therefore, once they have pooped into a garden, they have marked that amount of space as their own. When they come back to this spot and get their body smell, they will poop there or around the same place again.
Therefore, cats keep coming back to the same spot over and over due to their body smell, and garden areas are a suitable place for cats to do their business in.
2. How can I cover the body smell of cats from the garden area?
Ans: A very good way to remove the cat’s scent so that it does not visit the same area again, is to remove the source of their scent. The main source of their scent is the pooping or the peeing that they have done in the garden area.
This may not be always possible, but as soon as you spot a cat pooping in your garden area, go to that spot yourself, and remove the part where the poop has been deposited. Wear gloves and carry a shovel and a plastic packet for this purpose.
An extra thing you can do is to deposit this collected poop in a specific part of the garden area, where you are sure you are not going to plant anything in the future, or somewhere else altogether. This ensures a win-win situation both for the cat and for your garden.
The next step would be to replace the cat’s scent with a different scent so that the chances of the cat coming back to the same spot are eliminated completely. There is a plant called “Scaredy Cat” or “Coleus Canina” which is available between April and May.
Buy a pot of that plant, tear a leaf, cut the leaf into small pieces and sprinkle them around the area where the cat had pooped earlier. The leaf of this plant emits a very strong smell which the cats hate.
As much as cats are adorable, they could be a little troublesome at times. Take their pooping habits, for example. If they are potty-trained, that’s awesome, but what if they are not? What if they feel adventurous one day, and decide to poop in your garden instead?
And do not forget the neighborhood cats who might love to defecate and urinate in your garden area. It could be quite problematic and you should take immediate action on how to stop cats from pooping in the garden.
Consider keeping or growing anything around your garden that has an overpowering citrusy smell to it, because, and here is the best part, cats simply loath that smell.
Anything starting from orange peels to peppermint– either sprinkle them near baby plants or grow rue herbs around them. More expensive methods would include installations of water sprinklers and motion detectors around your garden.
There are countless ways to deter cats from pooping in gardens, adopt any and do it fast!