What a better way to see the fruits of your labor then to grow a vegetable garden, right? You spend countless hours making sure you do everything right so that the fruit and vegetables you harvest are the best tasting you have ever grown.
However, looking through your kitchen window one morning you notice your neighbor’s cat decides to use your home vegetable garden as their personal litter box to do their business. Don’t get mad at the cat, (maybe your neighbor though). The cat is just working off of their instincts as to how they were taught so they see a spot that looks like where they should go and, well, they go.
Just like the cat’s owner trained it to do it’s business in an appropriate spot, you must train the cat that the appropriate spot is not your vegetable garden. We asked our experts on our Facebook vegetable gardening page as to what methods they use to deter cats from doing their business in their vegetable gardens, and here is what they came up with.
Are you a dog person? This seemed to be the biggest consensus for many who responded, and that was to get yourself a dog to let the cat know not to enter the yard. Of course with owning a dog comes a great responsibility in many cities and towns all over the world, from licensing to shots, to leash laws and the list goes on and on. So keep this in mind if this is the route you choose.
A number of people suggested using cocoa mulch to act as a natural deterrent for cats and although I have read no scientific studies that suggest this, those that did post this claimed it worked great and one person wrote that it even helped with her snail problem.
The next method of choice for deterring cats was to sprinkle hot pepper flakes in and around the area where you see the cat attempt to do its thing. However, those that wrote in that used this method said that after a rain, you need to replenish the source. In other words put down more hot pepper flakes.
There are also a number of devices that came up in the conversation. The one mentioned the most was netting over the garden. This allows for the plants to receive the sunlight, water and nutrients they need and at the same time keeps the cats out. Another popular device, although it was not named, was an electronic device that emits a sound that is unheard of to humans but apparently not liked very well by the cats in the neighborhood. You will have to do a Google search on such devices to find out what works best for you.
Finally, last but not least, but last for a reason, was to contact your local SPCA or animal control department to rent some cages and trap the cat. Just like dogs, cats have rules they must abide by as well so your neighbor just can’t let their cat roam around all over the place. I left this for last, because this should be a last resort after all of the above have failed. You don’t want to create a war with your neighbor over something that could be handled differently. However, if you tried everything else, then go this route. The local animal control board will warn your neighbor about the issue.
Cats make great pets; there is no question about it. But you do not want them to interfere with your home vegetable garden and you certainly do not want them to do their business there. Try the methods above to make sure you can deter them from causing you any problems.
Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC
Photo. Leo 65