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How To Keep Cats Out Of Your Yard

I love cats! What is there not to like about them? Oh maybe when they mess in your yard…

But let me tell you something – there are ways to keep them away from your yard for good.

Want to know something even better? They cost next to nothing, don’t hurt & I am going to outline them now!

I know the feeling:

Cats and other pets are fun to have around until the moment they start disturbing your garden or destroying your flowerbed.

When the pet in question belongs elsewhere, then the frustrations and annoyance escalate to all-new high levels.

But don’t worry, if you are wondering how to keep cats out of your yard there are effective ways of doing so!

Remember this:

If it is not tamed early, stray cats become a threat to birds and other small domestic animals.

Besides that, cat poo contains the toxoplasmosis-causing parasite which can be fatal to human health.

Now that’s a problem.

The challenge people face when dealing with stray cats, however, is how to repel them without harming both the animal and their relationship with neighbors.

Good news:

We have ten strategies here to make your garden cat-free.

How To Keep Cats Out Of Your Yards

#1 Keep Pets Of Your Own

The rule of thumb among predators is that intruders are never welcome in marked territories.

So:

Keeping a male dog or a cat which is hostile to others is a sure way of making your yard unattractive to stray cats.

But a warning:

This strategy is however ineffective if:

  • Your cat is a female and in heat,
  • You feed your cat from outside and leave left-overs which end-up attracting poorly fed cats from your neighborhood.

#2 Apply Cat-Repellent Scents

You aren’t ready to keep a dog for a pet?

No problem.

For a few bucks, you can acquire dog urine from your local vet, which you then sprinkle around your garden to make stray cats think that there is a dog around.

Here is something interesting:

Cats also hate the smell of citrus, lemons, garlic, oranges and vinegar among other household items.

You can choose to buy ready to use scented cat repellents or if you have the recipe, make some at home.

However:

Since it is hard to satisfy cats’ curiosity, there is a chance that they will keep coming back until they are convinced that indeed there is a dog.

It is therefore good to regularly sprinkle the repellents.

#3 Use Ultrasonic Deterrent Alarms

Ultrasonic deterrents are designed to detect body heat and small movements, triggering unpleasant ultrasounds from the alarm.

I am not going to lie:

They are expensive – they cost anything up to a few hundred dollars from your local hardware store.

But here is the interesting thing:

Place them strategically around your garden so that the signal sounds only when movements are made in the garden.

After getting the same experience for several visits, unwanted feline visitors start keeping away.

#4 Plant ‘Disgustingly-Smelling’ Plants Around Your Garden

Want to know a secret?

Cats hate the smell of plants such as lavender, thorny roses, geranium, and coleus canina.

Planting them in and around your garden, therefore, makes the cats equally hate the area.

And the best thing?

Such plants are not harmful to either humans or animals and are beautiful for the general outlook of your landscape.

This is particularly the best cat repellent technique to use if the cats are scratching your garden plants.

#5 Electric Fences

Erecting a low-voltage electric fence around your garden is enough to keep feline visitors at bay.

An excellent example of such a fence is a battery-powered wire placed a few inches above the ground.

There is no need to be alarmed:

Remember that the idea here is not to harm your neighbor’s pet – which is against the law – but to protect your garden.

These fences are commercially available and do just enough to let the cat know it shouldn’t be there without hurting it in anyway.

But remember this:

If you opt to use this strategy, however, it is essential that you put clear signs around the yard that will alert people not to step on the wire.

If you have young children, you will need to ensure that they stay away from the garden, too.

#6 Make the Texture of Your Garden Less Appealing

One of the reasons felines in your neighborhood are choosing your garden as their “toilet” or playing ground is due to the soft texture on its surface.

Basically:

If the surface is too hard for them to dig or too rough for their skin, then they will be forced to find alternatives.

You can make the surface sharp or hard by placing stones, pebbles, heavy buck mulch, or protruding toothpicks planted about 4-6 inches apart.

And one more thing:

Because cats hate wet surfaces, keeping your yard moist at all times will also do the magic.

#7 Shining Light Deterrents

Cats get scared by light reflections at night especially if they are seeing them for the first time.

Sometimes all you need to do is:

Make such deterrents at home by stringing together unwanted CDs or half-full plastic bottles and hanging them about four inches from the ground, all around your garden.

Because it is neither smelly nor dangerous to humans, this is a good cat deterrent strategy to consider for areas close to your house.

Note:

The disadvantage of this approach, on the other hand, is that it becomes obsolete the moment your regular feline visitor gets used to the new environment.

#8 Induced Relocation

Has your cat made the flowerbed its territory?

You can ‘smoke’ him out by creating a better territory and cleaning its scent off the garden.

Think I’m exaggerating?

All you need to do is fill a tray with compost, fine-grained sand or any other soft and warm material to act as your cat’s ‘toilet’.

An alternative to this is to designate an area for your cat where you can plant cat-friendly plants such as valerian and catnip.

The solution is:

Once it relocates from the flowerbed, sprinkle ordinary white vinegar on your garden to wash its scent and discourage it from ever going back to the former territory.

Always ensure that the tray is clean for the sake of your cat’s health.

#9 Spraying Intruding Cats

You can use a low-powered water hose to spray cats out of your garden during the day.

So:

To ensure that intruding cats are kept at bay around the clock, buy motion-activated sprinklers with three-seconds spray pulses, and position them strategically around the yard.

Such sprinklers are available at your local hardware and come with installation guides.

Please don’t forget:

You must remember to make sure they are set low enough just to give the intruding cats a literal dash of water as you don’t want to damage their health.

#10 Erect a Metal or Plastic Fence

Chicken wire fences are impassable for cats but climbable.

This may sound weird but:

You should, therefore, make sure that the fence is more than six feet high and is too slippery for the cat (smearing it with grease or Vaseline makes it slippery).

If your garden is small, a metallic cage will do.

Finally just remember…

I love cats, but am fully aware that they can be a pain if they make your backyard their home, so whatever you do, as you work towards repelling stray cats from your property, always remember that they have their rights and are loved by their owners.

Choose the method that will not harm the animal and avoid an unnecessary feud with your neighbor or even worse court charges and penalties!

Good luck!

USEFUL RESOURCES

Want to learn more about keeping cats out of yard? Check out these resources:

About The Author

Steve Mann

Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at steve@suaveyards.com.

4 Comments

  1. Michael Miller

    I never grew up with cats because my mom was severely allergic. During our first month of moving to our country home we caught around 10 mice in the home. The cats did a good job getting rid of them. Since that time we have lost all 4 cats while living byn the highway.

    Our neighbors cat has now adopted our family and I felt bad for it so I started feeding it. It has since become our porch cat.

    I understand how much of a nuisance cats can be. I was watching a documentary where they were trying to determine the most ferocious feline killer. They decided on the cat because it is the only feline that hunts for fun. If I ever want to deter cats in the future I will definitely look at following your suggestions

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      You sound like me in that you have a soft spot for cats! Sorry to hear about the four you have lost living by the highway. 

      Interesting fact about the cat being the only feline that hunts for fun, had never really thought about that. Anyway glad my list is of use – hope it helps in the future.

      Reply
  2. Daniella

    Hi Steve,

    I have a cat, and two big dogs and my cat always destroy all my plants in my garden. Since they are used to each other, my cat is not afraid at all of my dogs, quite the opposite:) My neighborhood cats don’t even try to get inside my garden because of my dogs, which is great. I am happily surprised to read that cats hate Lavender. I love this plants, I think it’s beautiful, and it smells good. I will definitely plant some Lavender around my garden. I’ll tell you how it goes. I really hope my cat won’t do any damage anymore!
    Thank you very much for these excellent tips!

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Hi Daniella, sounds like your cat and dogs have a great relationship and the dogs do a good job of keeping neighbouring cats away!

      Lavender is such a lovely smelling plant I agree, and the fact that it deters cats as well is a bonus. Be sure to keep me updated and I hope it works for you!

      Steve

      Reply

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About Me

SteveHi, my name is Steve and I am the founder and editor of Suave Yards.

Once upon a time I was a complete gardening newbie, but over the last few years I have learnt a lot about yard care – all stemming from taking over a mess of a garden when I started at university!

My team and I have put together a comprehensive series of reviews and guides to help you create the perfect garden.

So please take a look around!

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