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Cats sometimes cause problems to flower and vegetable beds, and are especially fond of digging in fresh seed beds.

Uk.d-i-y contributors have used the following deterrent approaches with some success. However they've all failed some of the time.


Putting sticks upright in the ground, spaced 4" apart, makes it awkward and uncomfortable for cats to walk the area.

  • works well
  • can use garden litter and prunings for the sticks
  • only practical for small areas
  • sticks can sometimes take root - putting the sticks in upside down prevents this
  • good for seed beds

Sonic & Ultrasonic repellants

  • High cost
  • Effectiveness questioned
  • sometimes triggered at the wrong times
  • Sonic repellers can annoy neighbouring humans
  • Can affect cats in neighbouring gardens
  • can affect other animals too

Electric fence

  • You'll lean on it sooner or later :)
  • So will the kids
  • then they'll torture each other with it
  • Affects other animals too
  • Takes a battery

Pepper dust

  • Very irritating if the wind blows it
  • temporary
  • affects all animals


Some scare off cats, some curl up with them.


  • Cats guard their territory, and usually do their business in someone else's garden - but no guarantees!

Tiger turd

  • Effective repellant for cats & several other species
  • Stinks
  • Doesn't last well
  • Available from zoos, circuses and some garden centres.


  • they whiff
  • will also deter many insects
  • need replacing eventually

Electronic water spray

Electronic detector plus sprayer. A car windscreen sprayer can be used, or a solenoid on a mains pressure system.

  • sometimes effective
  • kids, dog, visitors etc will get sprayed sooner or later

Hand held spray

Eg an empty washing up liquid bottle

  • effective against nervous cats
  • costs nothing
  • a fair bit of hassle to train a cat though

Bottles of water

Half fill some clear 2 litre plastic drink bottles. Place them on their side where you want to keep the cats away from.

  • the exact reason for deterrence is uncertain, maybe the sight of water is offputting, or perhaps the reflections.

Toy snake

A plastic snake may look like a toy to us, but cats naturally regard them as dangerous.

  • effective with some cats
  • Other snake like items can work with timid cats, such as a vacuum cleaner hose
  • These have more chance of working if you move them often.


Someone found that ferret pee in the garden put the cats off. No, human pee isn't legal.

Orange peel

Cats (and most animals) hate the smell of citrus. Peel from orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime all work.

Aluminium foil

Putting ali foil down can work to keep cats off too.

Diversion bed

Since cats love seed beds, they can often be diverted from one area to another by raking over another area that acts as a diversion. Works well when you want the cat to stay but not attack the seed beds.

See Also