Vegetable Garden

How to stop cats pooping in the garden

June 25, 2013

CharlieDo you have a problem with cats pooping in your garden? For some of us, cats are our very best friends, but for others they can be a real nuisance.

Thankfully, surrounded by fields as we are, our own cats have found somewhere else to head off to ‘do their business’ but it can be a real problem for urban gardeners.

Apart from the annoyance of finding cat mess among your plants, there’s a health reason why you need to discourage them from using your soil as a toilet. Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that’s extremely dangerous for pregnant women or anyone with a suppressed immune system, can be carried in cat faeces or in garden soil.

Over the years I’ve heard of many remedies for preventing cats pooping in gardens ranging from citrus fruit skins scattered around the veg, automatic water squirters, planting rue, moth balls, various essential oils and the more difficult for Irish gardeners to come by… tiger poo. I’m sure they all have their merits but one effective method we found to prevent our feline friends bopping down among the lettuce and radishes in a community garden was to scatter dried spices around the beds.

Cats don’t like sneezy pepper around them as they squat. After the first dose of cayenne pepper sprinkled around the soil the problem stopped. Others have tried chilli powder and some swear by cinnamon (which also repels ants so a double bonus). However, as Mona mentions in the comments, there’s no easy fix. The pepper seems to work long enough for the cats to go elsewhere but will have to be reapplied to keep them away.

Have you a tried and tested cure for keeping cats away from your vegetable beds?



  • Reply Tanya @ Lovely Greenst June 25, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    What works for me is mulching my beds with grass clippings. The cats tend to not dig if there isn’t any exposed soil. Plus, the mulching helps keep weeds down and the soil moist 🙂

    • Reply greensideupveg June 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      That’s a great tip Tanya! Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  • Reply dot January 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    well our next door cat will scratch the mulch out to do its crapping an also it will crap on top of my pot plants an know I have removed the pots to the back of the house an know its doing its crapping in pebbles that I have in the front garden please help or I might have vto shoot the cat before long

    • Reply greensideupveg January 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Try sprinkling the pepper around the plants, it worked for us 🙂

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  • Reply Darryl June 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    catnip. think about it…most animals won’t naturally poop where they eat…plant some catnip…worked for me. plus, cats in the neighborhood love me…queue Supefly themesong 🙂

    • Reply Dee Sewell July 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

      That’s an interesting theory, thanks. I’d say it would have to be a fairly substantial plant though. I planted two in our garden a few years ago and they vanished! I can only assume the cats had a party while we were sleeping.

  • Reply Maria January 15, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Coffee grounds work well but you do have to keep reapplying

    • Reply Dee Sewell February 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Interesting use and good for the soil.

  • Reply Ginette August 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I use vinegar infused with citrus peels to clean my house and, eventually, when the peels are used up and totally soaked in vinegar, I place them around my plants and it does seem to work to some degree because I have several cats who visit but have never seen poop etc. in the veg bed.

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