How to ACTUALLY Stop Cats from Fouling in Your Garden for Good?

How to ACTUALLY Stop Cats from Fouling in Your Garden for Good?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably as familiar with cats as they are with your garden. It’s the same story every time.

Table of Contents:

You invest time, money and labour into your green space. You often use the place to rest your mind and you want your children or grandchildren to be able to play in it, safe and undisturbed. The local cats, however, have different plans for your garden. They find it suitable for their business and use it as a giant litter box and a fighting arena. Your plants get pooped on and new seeds and bulbs are being dug out.

You accidentally step on the stinky “presents” they leave, and the kids sometimes come home covered in them after an innocent game of hide and seek. You probably can’t even stop the cats from pooping in your driveway gravel. Which is understandable because kitties love to mess on sand-like surfaces. It won’t be surprising if people with gravel-based gardens are probably having a nightmare right now. The answers are below, however, so don’t lose hope yet.

Quite disgusting, not to mention unhealthy.

There is this mind-controlling parasite that can be transmitted through cat droppings. Aside from tinkering with your emotions, the parasite can seriously damage your unborn baby if your immune system is weak. Safety is a reasonable argument to not want your neighbour’s cat pooping in your yard.

All of this or you are just very allergic to fur.

ALWAYS use gloves to safely clean cat droppings from your garden. If you happen to be a pregnant woman, ask someone to do it for you.

Don’t get us wrong, we love these animals and their bizarre ways, but only if they poop where they’re supposed to (not in your garden).

In any case, your first course of action should always be to discuss the pet’s naughty behaviour with the relevant cat owner.

Remember: it’s never the cat’s fault. They are simply animals that don’t really know whether their actions may cause you distress. As pet owners, people are obligated to encourage their pets to do their job where they are supposed to – in their litter trays.

If that does not seem to help or they don’t feel like it’s their concern – you have no choice.

You will have to deal with the matter on your own.

Tested Examples of How to Stop Felines from Pooping in Your Garden

There are some myths circulating the online space about chasing kitties away. Cats are protected by law in the UK, so you can’t call the authorities if they simply poop in your garden.

We, however, wanted to know what really works, so we gathered people’s experiences. Mentioned below are only successful real-life examples that have worked for someone in your situation. It should be noted that they may not always work for you as there are different types of cats and different gardens, as well as varying degrees of this problem. To stop cats from pooping and fouling your garden once and for all, you can:

1. Place chicken wire

Cats Won't Poop in Your Garden When You Have Chicken Wire
Why it works: Cats have sensitive paws and dislike the feeling of walking on the chicken wire. A cat needs its comfort in order to relieve the pressure, so to speak.
Disadvantages: You have to cover ALL the open spaces in your garden in chicken wire.

2. Sprinkle mothballs
Mothballs Chase Away Cats From Yard

Wikipedia / By Farmercarlos

Why it works: Honestly, we have no clue. But it does.

Disadvantages: Too many. Mothballs are easily washed away by rain. They are also really toxic. A small fraction of the cats may mistake them for food. Dogs straight up eat them. And you don’t want them in your garden if you have kids playing around, either.

3. Install a motion-activated sprinkler

Motion Activated Sprinkler Will Chase Cats Away

Unsplash / By Anthony Rossbach

Why it works: If there’s anything that all cats in the world universally hate, it’s getting wet. Especially when they least expect it. This is probably the most effective method ever. However…

Disadvantages: It is costly. The device needs to be charged up, constantly filled and the initial buying price is not very low (£20.00 to £40.00), considering you’d have to buy more than one to cover all the areas in question. There are also ultrasonic cat scarers that emit sounds that only cats can hear. However, we do not recommend them.

Low-cost alternative: You could try using a water gun. Have your kids join in on the fun as well! The only disadvantage is that you’d have to be alert 24/7 BUT some of the cats won’t come back for sure!

4. Put up cocktail sticks


Why it works: If a cat can’t find a comfortable place to squat, it will simply leave. You can use any plastic pointy tools for that matter (even plastic forks work). “Plant” them around your plants or where the cat usually does the business to keep the animals out.

Disadvantages: You’d have to cover all of your yard with these if you want to banish cats completely.

5. Scatter urine


Why it works: Cats are territorial and won’t come near if there’s another “animal” already marking the territory.

Disadvantages: It smells. There’s a reason people use toilets and not their gardens to do the deed. Alternatively, you could try store-bought fox urine, but the problem with the odour will remain.

6. Embed containers with ammonia


Why it works: Ammonia smells very much like cat urine even to cats. You can place a litter box somewhere away from your plants and pathway. Fill in vials or other container with some ammonia or simple an ammonia soaked rag. This will lure the cats to discharge in this litter, as opposed to your lawn.

Disadvantages: You will still have cats visiting your garden but you will relocate the damage. This is applicable if you are okay with occasionally throwing away the waste of the litter. However, your plants and grass will be safe.

7. Become the owner of a male cat


Why it works: If you have a tom on your own, he will perceive the backyard as his territory and therefore defend it!

Disadvantages: Cats require minimal care, but now you are responsible for teaching your new friend where to poop. The mind of a cat works like this: if he has pooped somewhere before, he will poop there again. You have to make sure that the scent of cat faeces is concentrated in the desired spot of the garden. Teaching kitties where the loo’s at is much easier if you adopt them as babies. You don’t want to put others through the same troubles you’ve been, right?

8. Become a dog owner

Garden Statue of Dog
Why it works: ???

Disadvantages: Not everyone wants a new pet. Dogs are usually nice and friendly, but they require care. Besides, you’d have to protect your garden from your own pet now as dogs really like to roam and cause havoc. Also, sometimes cats get used to the presence of dogs and find ways to irritate them, just for the sake of it.

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Bonus Solutions (That Are Not as Likely to Work)

1. Lion dung cat repellent


Why it may work: Lions are cats, but bigger and stronger. If a neighbourhood kitty smells a lion nearby, it may retreat. They sell lion dung in local garden centres.

Disadvantages: Lion dung is not a fertiliser. It comes in pellets and they get easily washed away in the rain.

2. Sheep manure

Why it may work: We are unaware of why sheep manure may work at all, but there are people who advocate its success.

Disadvantages: Doesn’t really have any. If it turns out it doesn’t work against cats, it’s a great fertiliser for your plants. It has an unobtrusive odour, too.

Types of cat scarers that will truly work and the explanations behind them

Cat scarers come with different technology and mechanisms. Every type exploits a different cat weakness. Below you will find out how and which cat scarers will really work:

  • Ultra-sonic cat scarer: These automated scarecrows use sound wavelengths that are too short for the human ear to decipher, but a cat will hear. The device plays them really loud (for whoever hears them) which ultimately irritates the felines. Cats are really picky when it comes to loud noises, as you can probably tell when you turn on your vacuum cleaner. The ultra-sonic cat repellents conveniently work with 9V batteries. However, there’s a reason we did not recommend them as they only cover a limited area. For the ultra-sonic noise to be released there needs to be a movement in front of the device. They are triggered by movement sensors which will only cover that much area. Cats are smart and will eventually learn to avoid this area. For this device to work you’d have to know exactly where the intruders enter from.
  • Infra-red sprinkle scarer: This automated cat scarer has a spinning water-sprinkler head and is activated by heat sources and not motion. When the infra-red registers heat signals from an animal it starts sprinkling the violator with water. The water can be from your own water source in the garden or a container inside the device. Most animals won’t tolerate being sprayed with water. We did recommend the sprinkler above because the head spins and sprinkles in a radius. The heat-detector also works in a radius as opposed to the movement detector which only “watches” over a cone-shaped area of sight.
  • Animal-shaped stands with glowing eyes: These usually come in the forms of owls and cats that have taken various on-alert stances. The effect, however, comes from the realistic looking eyes that are often made from a very efficient light-reflecting material. The glowy-eyes scarers are even used to (successfully) deter the persistent badger from gardens, among other animals such as foxes. There are solar-powered versions of this cat repeller that will feed electricity into the eye sockets, lighting them up artificially.

***

You can try combinations of the methods and see what works for your cat visitors. Please do share your experience with us (successful or not) in the comment section below! This way, we can update this article on a regular basis and help more people out. Have a fantastic gardening!

Header image source: Anastasia Vetkovskaya/shutterctock.com

Icon pack by Icons8

Posted in Garden Advice

Last update: March 6, 2019
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Comments (38)

  • The cat that uses my gravel must be deaf, as I have a sonic scarer which is positioned no more than 2 feet away from the stop where the cat continually fouls. I am considering the sensor with the water spray to see if that works. Fingers crossed.

    • Hello Sandra,

      Two questions step from your comment:
      – Are you certain your sonic scarer works properly? Maybe the batteries have died and need changing.
      – Is it pointing the right direction? Maybe the cat pees 2 feet behind the sensor and not in front of it.

      If the answers to both these questions are positive, then we wish you luck with the water spray. Do keep us updated on how that works out for you.

    • i throw the shit back over fence back in there garden and he said put it in bag in a bin #!*#!%$!# head i said only thing going in a bag in the bin is your cat
      IF YOU DONT STOP IT shitting in my garden

  • A site was setup to flag problem areas where cats are messing everywhere – http://www.shittingcats.co.uk/

    You can mark on a map where you’re having the problem – it’s surprising how many people are suffering this problem and blaiming dogs or foxes when in reality it’s the neighbours pride and joy who of course has taught it how to use a litter tray.

  • We have a high hedge surrounding our front garden. When we bought this house the neighbour’s cat must have been fouling this garden for a long time, gaining access under the hedge as well as down the drive. We were really sick of clearing up after it almost on a daily basis. We bought a cat scarer from the RSPB, not cheap but it works very well to protect the drive area. Then we collected rose and pyracantha clippings (lots of them the thornier the better) and placed them all around the perimeter of the garden under the hedge. All this has worked a treat for almost a year now. We keep a close eye on the scarer, to change the batteries when they run down as the cat returned once when the batteries died unnoticed by us. It seems like a lot of trouble and expense and some people resent that, feeling that the cat owners should take responsibility for their cats, but this has prevented us falling out with our neighbours and given us our garden back, so it was worth both the expense and the trouble it took.

  • Why are pet owners not responsible for there cats fouling when dog owners are .Thinking of young children playing in there own garden or helping mam or dad.
    Has this nothing to do with health and safety

  • I am at my wits end. A cat or cats messes on my lawn nearly every day. I have never seen it doing it, I just see the results. I have tried granules, Urine (mine and lots of it) plants that are supposed to scare cats, citrus peel, nothing works. I am running out of ideas. I have had the front garden blocked over so that stopped the mess there am now thinking of paving over the lawn. Please help !!!

    • Hello Paul,

      As we’ve put this in the article – the cat repellents might not always work as stray cats or cats in general are still animals, and their behaviour is unpredictable. Even the most effective methods that are proven to work might not, if you don’t dispose of the cat poo as soon as you see it, or wash away the cat urine with soapy water. It’s because other cats are attracted to the smell and return to the same place. Then also immediately sprinkle cat repellents on the problem area.

      Again, a big disclaimer, those tips are not likely to work on their own, they will however increase your chances of getting your weapon of choice to work.

      And, when we talk about disposing of cat poo, be very careful how you do it. Always use protection gloves as we’ve mentioned above, since it may carry parasites that cause lengthy and serious illness.

      What’s more, it might take months before any cat repellent does its job. You should vary and choose different options, often at the same time before you find the right combo.

      We are obviously including both DIY and professional methods in the article so that you can take an economically-driven decision for yourselves. But if natural methods don’t work, then you might have to splash out on electronic gear.

      Regards,
      Fantastic Team

    • Hi I have the same problem as you . 2 cats next door pooh regularly on my open plan lawn, which I have spent time and effort on and money too, trying to make it look nice. These cats do their mess every single day on my grass. There is no soil out in the front. I have engaged with my neighbour in a friendly way and they started to clean up but have since downed tools on that one. I am going to try some of the methods recommended and will get back if I have any success. Very frustrating and a horrible smell and mess.

      • pick up the crap with a small gardeners spade, and sling it in the garden of the cat owners, see if they like clearing it up every day

  • White vinegar sprayed over soil deters the foul little git that’s too lazy to bury it in our garden. That said, at least I can see those to pick them up unlike those who bury…

    Super soaker water gun works well when I manage to catch them but the sound of the door generally sends them scarpering before I can get them!

    They’re supposed to hate lavender, so I have a mound of it ready to be planted this weekend. Loads of roses planted as they hate thorns. Luckily I like both, but my newly made borders are their haven

    Becoming a car hater – they’re driving me to distraction….

  • I have heard that starfish from the fish market put out in the garden work sometimes. The dirty dumping cat comes to drop his load, smells the starfish and eats it, then the cat doesn’t come back to your garden ever again. Not sure how this would work, surely feeding a cat will only encourage it to come back

  • I have indoor cats, who only get supervised access outside. Local cats use my garden as a toilet and it’s not even buried! I love cats but not their poop in my garden. I don’t like the thought of spraying an animal with water or spiky things in the garden. I think sometimes we forget that these are living creatures, with a right to roam in the UK! Please try natural deterrents like citrus peel, bottles of water and plants that repel rogue pooping.

  • It’s amazing to me that we live in a world where cats have more rights than humans. They are legally allowed to trespass onto your property and crap whenever they like and the owners have no responsibility at all to stop them. The whole world has gone mad.

  • We have 2 very selfish neighbours who have 2 dogs who bark constantly and 6 cats who defecate constantly all around our house even on the pathway around the house. It has got so bad the gardens are now out of bounds to the Grandchildren in case they pick up an infection or disease. There really should be a law stating people with cats should be responsible for them especially as their faeces can cause illnesses !!

    • Anthony Johnson

      I believe cats should not be allowed to free roam just as dogs are not allowed to. Why should a cat have any more freedom than a dog? beats me. Cats should be supervised outside at all times by their owners or they should not have a cat in the first place. They have become lazy persons pets at the expense of those peoples gardens they choose to crap in.

  • I was having cats and a dog leaving mess on a gravel driveway , a bit annoying especially on a dark evening when I get out of the car and accidentally tread in it , what I did was go to the shop and purchased some citrus toilet blocks took them home cut them out of there cage , and sliced them into 1cm pieces , had no mess since putting them down

    • Great stuff Colin, thank you a lot for sharing your experience! Cats are known to be curious about everything except citrus.

  • Like the chicken wire only no cost, I have found that spreading twigs in a tight layer over the area I want to protect seems to work. It’s natural and doubles as mulch. It doesn’t harm the cats at all, it just makes the space uncomfortable to walk on. You’ll have to lay down new twigs from time to time as the old ones will decay but if you, like me, have a tree or two in your yard then you should have a supply of twigs. If not, you could always search around. I’m sure there are plenty of people wanting to get rid of twigs.

  • I agree cat owners should take responsability and train their cats better or at least offer to pick up their pet’s poos when they see and hear us neighbours doing it or commenting on it. It is selfish and a slacker’s attitude!

  • I think the cats are deaf! Nothing works. Have tried sonic, pellets, lavender and chicken wire which I think they jump over to the nearest gap. Will try citrus as advised. Val

  • I also have this horrible problem of cats using our garden as a loo. We have tried the sonic thingy and sprinkling cat repellent granules, put holly branches on the wall toppings and chased them away with shouts and clapping loudly. Nothing is working and my grandchildren can’t play in the garden because I’m concerned they will get their feet/shoes dirty. As I’ve learnt that cats don’t like citrus, I am going to try putting some citronella oil into water in a spray bottle and spray the garden and driveway. Might need a few bottles and risk RSS in my hand, but am getting desperate!!

  • I need to borrow a Cat eating dog !!!!!

    They crap in our garden and the driveway outside our house. Been sprinkling hot Chili everywhere our 7 year old doesn’t play… I hope the little b*stards get really sore tongues from licking that off their paws.

  • During a year of ill-health an area of my garden has become overgrown and ugh a communal toilet for cats. I’m now faced with clearing it and being sickened by the horrible stuff. There’s no way out of the clearing up job before I can begin to replant. Wellingtons, rubber gloves and grim determination are the only way. Hard not to be disheartened at 80 but I won’t give up without a fight! I will certainly apply some of the suggestions you offer. Oh and by the way I have a lovely male cat who uses his tray but is bullied by the thugs who’ve taken over his patch. Phew feel better after sharing that.

    • Fantastic Team

      Thanks Andrée for sharing your experience with us here. We are in the process of preparing a guide for clearing an overgrown garden, coming up in the next days. We’ll share it here, it can help you with the task ahead! And btw, if you are living in an area we serve, you can check our garden clearance service, as well.

      Regards,

      The Fantastic team

  • I’m definitely going to try the citrus toilet blocks that Colin suggests. I’ve just bought some orange oil, too, which I’m going to spray on the areas where the neighbour’s tom cat has been middening. My only concern is whether this will damage my plants, but I have to try and stop this behaviour (the tom has progressed from crapping on my borders and lawn, to crapping on my raised plant pots, so is almost certainly marking ‘his’ territory; the neighbourhood has a big cat population) I’ll let you know if this works. I’ve also bought some spiky berberis shrubs to act as a physical deterrent, but they’ll take a while to grow into a hedge…

    Like others, I’m so frustrated that my garden is not my own because this ‘top cat’ wants to claim it for himself. His owner knows he is doing it, because he actually crapped in my garden, in full view, while I was talking with her! She offered to pick it up, but she’s elderly, with a bad hip, so I couldn’t let her do it. It’s so infuriating! My own cat lives indoors, so I deeply resent having my garden spoilt by other people’s pets.

    • Fantastic Team

      Hey Lisa,

      Orange oil is mostly used for killing pests, so we are not sure what effect on cats it might have, but could as well be their kryptonite (we haven’t tested it), so we’d be glad to hear about your experience later. Just be careful with orange oil around baby plants because they could suffer its effects as well. Check this guide we found about how to use it properly.

      Regards,
      The Fantastic team

  • Brenda Redhead

    Don’t get me wrong, I love cats, had a few in my 70 odd years, and after trying citrus skins, skewers, pepper dust, and garlic sprays to deter the cat that likes to poop in my small walled garden, I think I have finally discovered the answer,,,it was a last resort but it works!!! Thinly slice garlic cloves and place near plants that were regularly up rooted and on any bare soil. So far it’s been 3 weeks without any poop to clean up. Result!

    • Fantastic Team

      This is an interesting observation Brenda! Thank you for sharing your experience!

      We’d love to know if the garlic solution works for others, too.

  • I am also sick of cleaning up cat poo it makes me feel like not planting up my beds.
    I have tried all proprietary substances to no avail.
    Cat water sprayer seems to work but not cheap and it would be hard to cover the whole garden.
    Clearing immediately and hosing down seems to stop it temporarily, this is what I do currently.
    I have just tried to start a petition on the government website to “Make cat owners legally responsible for cleaning up their cats faeces” but need five email addresses to start it. As soon as I can I will start it.

    • Fantastic Team

      That’s a great initiative Pete, and we do support it when it comes to regulating an issue that’s been bothersome for many households. Is there an online link to sign up?

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