This post was written by Rachel Thomas from www.babysitting.net. Next door's new kitten has just started using the containers in my porch as a toilet, so I will be trying some of the more permaculture-friendly options! We certainly have a lot of coffee grounds here, so that one is well worth a go.
Those of you who have cats understand the pain of keeping our furry friends out of the planters and gardens. Those of you that don't, understand this pain as well. Natural repellents can save the day by protecting your flowers and vegetables from being trampled or eaten. Not only are these non-toxic methods to protect your plants and the animal, most of them are inexpensive and easy to try.
1. Citrus Fruits - The peels from citrus fruits can be pungent to the point of repelling a feline from an area. These fruits consist of oranges, lemons, grapefruits and many others. Placing these peels on or around your garden can shield the plants from the kitties and deter future visits. Once you've noticed the feline traffic disappear, simply remove the peels. While not all cats have been repelled by this method, there has been a great deal of success among people.
2. Used Coffee Grounds - Many people have had a degree of success using used coffee grounds. Whether they are sprinkled in or around the pot, these grounds produce a smell that is unattractive to many cats. They will avoid the area if possible and find a more appealing location for their purpose.
3. Rough Stones - Placing porous and rough stones in your garden can create a very uncomfortable location for a cat. Depending on the style of garden you have, a layer of stones on top of the soil could help reduce the amount of water that is evaporated from sunlight as well as protect against the pitter-patter of feline feet. Many gardens look beautiful as they support a white quartz background to a series of blooming plants.
4. Black Pepper - Many people have had success repelling cats by using black pepper on and around the garden area. It's a non-toxic method of creating a terrible smell that the little creatures are discouraged by. However, you do not want to use salt in your garden. It will kill the plants and make the soil useless for future growth.
5. Mothballs - Some people don't like the idea of using mothballs for they contain naphthalene, which is deadly to life. However, you can greatly reduce the harmful effects if you load them up in a mason jar or even a pop bottle. Once you poke large enough holes in the containers to allow the smell to permeate the garden, cats will avoid the area.
6. Motion Sensing Sprinklers - If you have an elaborate garden, you can attach a motion sensing switch to activate your garden's sprinkler system any time an animal gets too close. Although this can be a bit more costly than the above alternatives, it is a near fool proof method to deter cats from the area. The sound of the sprinklers themselves is enough to drive fear into most felines.
When protecting virtually any area from unwanted animal activity, it's all about decreasing the comfort level. In addition to these methods, there are sprays and other materials you can pick up at any pet shop that can help discourage cats from entering your garden. Nearly all of these are non-toxic repellents and many of them are organic. Regardless of the size of your garden, there are ways to keep it safe from becoming a restroom or a bed for your own or your neighbor's cat.
Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.