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Feral cats can be a major issue in your lawn and garden. In some cases, they are just mere annoyances but in others they can be downright hazardous. There are ways you can deter feral cats from making constant trips to your garden, and you may need to use more than one of them until you hit on the right recipe. Some of them, particularly testosterone-filled tomcats, may not be deterred easily.
Keeping Cats from Digging in Your Garden
The worst thing about feral cats is that they can really carve up your garden. They will use it as a litter box, digging up and throwing around soil, moss, and mulch. They will poop in the garden, dig up plants, and generally make it less pleasant.
- Install garden mesh or chicken wire just underneath the top of the soil. This can leave enough room for plants to grow through, but will also deter cats by making it so they cannot dig. Plastic carpet runners with the pegged sides turned up can also be used – the plastic nubs will irritate their paws.
- There are a number of substances that will irritate a cat and maybe drive them off. These scents and substances include fresh citrus peels, coffee grounds, lemongrass, citronella, oil of lavender, and vinegar.
- Plant the herb rue, or spread dried rue around the garden.
- Cat Scat is a manufactured deterrent, rubber mats that are placed in the soil and act much in the same way as the plastic carpet runners can.
Unfortunately, these are all only temporary measures. Cats will either figure their way around these measures, or grow accustomed to them and ignore them in the long run.
Keeping Cats from Marking Your Property
Cats will mark their territory by spraying property, to let other cats know they are around. This is certainly an annoyance, but the stench of cat urine can be stomach-turning after a bit. On top of that it, if you have a cat of your own, it may encourage your cat to mark inside or outside in response.
Cats do almost all of their marking on vertical surfaces. Using the repellants previously mentioned, you can keep position them to keep the markers way from vertical surfaces. Another solution that has been raised is to make a mixture of cayenne pepper and water, and spray it on the surfaces. This mixture can be harmful to cats in large doses, so don’t saturate the areas. There have been reports of blindness due to the use of this mixture.
General Cat Removal or Elimination
Even if you don’t smell cats marking, and you don’t see any damages in your garden, the possibility of of local feral cats doing damage in the long run is high. Your best bet is to deal with them now, before they become a problem. Use a cat trap to capture the cats alive, and turn them over to animal control, the SPCA, or any other local shelter or feline rescue organization to be spayed. Spaying is a solution to marking, digging, and other adverse behaviors.
Another way that a cat can be driven away is to install motion-detector sprinklers. Everyone knows they aren’t fond of water, so setting a motion-detector system to go off when they are detected in the vicinity will certainly surprise them and drive them off. If it happens enough, it will drive the beasts off.
You’ll want to deal with ferals as soon as you detect that they are making visits. The more comfortable they get, the harder it will be to find their marking spots and remove them. Even if you only imagine you’re smelling or seeing damage from them it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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