7 Ways To Keep Your Yard Feline-Free
Even if you are firmly in the “hate” category, I can guarantee you’ve watched a funny cat video or shared a cat-related meme with a friend.
So, if we can agree that cats can be adorable, funny and downright sassy...
Why Get Rid Of Them?
Well, I bet we also agree that walking outside to find your garden has been invaded by a cat army, wrecking your flower beds and turning your lawn into a communal litter tray in the process, is not adorable, nor funny.
Putting aside the fact that it is just a general inconvenience, cat faeces and urine harbour something quite sinister.
Escherichia Coli bacterial infection - Commonly known as E.coli, this bacterium can lead to severe abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. Antibiotic treatment is necessary to cure E.coli infections.
Toxoplasmosis - The alarming thing about Toxoplasmosis is that people don't even know they have it, as the symptoms are similar to that of a cold or flu. It can lead to high fever, diarrhoea and fatigue in the elderly, children or people with weak immune systems. It can also prove fatal to pregnant women.
Roundworm - If ingested, roundworm eggs and larvae can then enter the intestine of humans, and we have all watched a viral YouTube video of these bad boys in action.
Cat urine is also harmful to humans.
If not cleaned, it will eventually start to emit ammonia. Ammonia, as well as causing severe allergic reactions, can lead to diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis.
So, if you have children, are pregnant, or have an elderly relative staying with you, this list should be a PRIORITY.
For everyone else… well it still should be a priority. Who wants ringworm, pneumonia or bronchitis? Exactly.
What Can We Do?
Regular visits from pesky felines will move certain sick & twisted individuals to use inhumane techniques to rid them of their unwanted guests - which we completely abhor.
There are quite a few HUMANE ways to deter cats from visiting your property.
In fact, I had a hard time choosing the best ones.
I spent hours trawling the web, scouring books and pestering cat experts, to bring you this list. You’re welcome.
So, without further ado, here’s my 7 top ways to stay feline-free. Cheap, quick and more importantly, 100% safe for humans and animals alike.
No, not to the cat, to the owner. Most situations can be resolved or even avoided by simply having a discussion.
If you know who the owners are, ask if they can restrict their AWOL pet’s movement or prevent it from going outside as much.
It might seem like a long shot, but you never know, they might empathise with you and agree to keep the cat indoors more.
Hey, you might at least get a complimentary bottle of wine out of it!
If you too have pets, be it cats or dogs, have a look at how you interact with them throughout the day.
If you are actively throwing bits of fresh meat outside for them, or leaving food outside, you’re advertising a daily banquet at yours - and everyone's invited baby!
Make a conscientious effort to change how you feed your pets.
Also, if you have a children’s sandpit, make sure you cover it up when not in use. Otherwise, you’ll have cats lining up to use it as a 5* toilet, rather than a tiny litter box.
Protecting your newly planted flower beds with chicken wire or netting actually serves two purposes.
The first is quite obvious, acting as a barrier, it means a cat won’t be able to get anywhere near the plants.
Secondly, it has a psychological effect on the cat. If it can’t get what it wants from your garden, it will go elsewhere.
Now I know you would never wish a cat army invasion on your fellow neighbours, but... out of sight, out of mind!
Unlike some of the other tips in this guide, fortifying your garden is not a subtle option. To some, it will provide a very real level of enforcement, and offer them peace of mind knowing their tulips are as secure as Fort Knox.
To some, it’s simply an eyesore, especially if you take pride in your gardener. No one wants to gaze out across the yard equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.
Despite their inability to keep dinosaurs in their enclosures in movies, “cat-safe” electric fences are available and apparently quite effective. Granted, they are a significant investment, I’d only advise upgrading to these if your tulips are award winning.
A major downside of both wire and netting is the lack of viable lawn protection.
Sure you’re keeping your flower beds safe, but the cats are free to direct their attention to your turf instead.
Short of fencing your entire garden, cats will still be able to slip past your defences.
Water, water and more water!
It’s common knowledge that cats dislike water. And although there are some exceptions, the majority of cats will go out their way to avoid coming into contact with it. So use it to your advantage.
Sprinklers, water guns and hose pipes are great ways to scare off would-be intruders before they can wreak havoc.
If you don’t want to leave your sprinkler out all year round, you can get sprinklers that are disguised as scarecrows that activate if they detect movement.
If you’re not feeling the scarecrow ambush tactic, make sure you have a plastic water gun to hand.
First, fire a warning shot to show you mean business. Then, rapid fire my friend.
Just remember to use fresh water with nothing mixed in.
Cats love certain odours. Catnip, beef and pizza to name a few.
They also hate certain odours.
Cat’s have sensitive snouts. Smells help warn them of potential dangers - other cats and predators.
Citrus fruits like lime, lemon and orange aggravate their sense of smell, which is why you should scatter around your garden.
Vinegar will work too. Basically, anything that is slightly acidic, but obviously nothing corrosive.
Mothballs are another option, as is cayenne pepper, but the latter should only be used sparingly. You don’t want your kids rolling around in it.
Then there're commercial repellents.
Available from pet stores, garden centres and online, these are sprinkled over your lawn and plants.
What’s in them? A top secret mixture of everything cat’s hate apparently. Urine secretions from coyotes, foxes and bobcats - the cat’s natural predators.
Although it sounds harmful, they are organic and completely harmless to humans and animals.
Finally, you can use nature itself.
The Coleus Canina plant, more commonly known as the "scaredy cat plant", is effective at keeping cats at bay. Other plants such as rue, lavender and pennyroyal have a similar effect.
Planting these at various places in your garden will stop any stray furry felines.
Don’t worry, no one is pregnant.
Akin to their acute sense of smell, cats also have excellent hearing. They will jump into orbit if they are exposed to high-pitch frequencies.
Like the spy scarecrow we covered earlier, the latest addition to the domestic cat defense network is an outside ultrasound device.
Trying its utmost to blend in with your tulips, the ultrasound device is triggered by movement. But, rather than spraying the cat with water, it emits a high-pitch frequency that is inaudible to humans.
A cat’s survival instinct kicks in, causing it to flee.
These devices are affordable, can be positioned discreetly and require little to no maintenance. Their downside is that they actually do their job too well.
Their domestic archenemy, the dog, is also blessed with great hearing. So when the ultrasound device is triggered by an offending cat, there is a small chance that it will cause your dog, and every other dog in a 5 mile vicinity, to bark. Lots.
Cats hate “rustling”... is probably the easiest way I can explain it.
Maybe it’s a frequency thing as explained in the previous point.
Or maybe it’s because something crunchy underfoot will cause them to blow their cover/stalking approach.
Regardless, crushing pine cones and scattering them amongst your flower beds is a great way to deter cats.
Basically, by creating your own pine field… get it? “minefield” but with pines, cats will markedly avoid that particular area.
It’s a cheap and easy, will blend in with the soil, and will actually provide nutrients to your flowers as they decompose.
And there you have it… 7 Ways To Keep Your Yard Feline-Free.
For the time-conscious people out there, here’s a Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) breakdown:
- Cat faeces and urine can cause dangerous diseases. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.
- Speak with the owner(s) responsible.
- If you have pets, make sure you keep their food inside, and don’t feed them outside at all.
- Cover sand pits.
- Use chicken wire or netting to cover newly planted flowers.
- Scatter the skin/zest of limes, lemons and oranges around your garden.
- Invest in proximity defence mechanisms like a sprinkler or ultrasound alarm.
- Spread crushed pine cones in between your flower beds.
- Finally, as a last resort, keep a water gun handy.
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