How to keep cats out of your garden
23rd December, 2019
No one likes to see a cat fight. If you have a resident kitty, you can minimise the chance of territorial conflicts arising by cat-proofing your garden.
There are plenty of clever tricks that can make the garden safer for your cat. However, moggies are notoriously wonderful climbers, skilled jumpers and intelligent to boot, so you can never entirely rule out the risk of feline invasion.
You want to protect your kitty as best you can, so it’s essential to secure reliable cat cover. You never know when your four-legged friend might become ill or injured, and vet bills quickly stack up.
Go Get It is here to help. We can compare pet insurance for you, so you’ll have peace of mind your furball’s covered, should the need for medical treatment arise.
We know you want the best possible quality of life for you puss, so take a look at our guide to keeping cats safe and sound on home turf.
Why do cats come into my garden?
There’s no one reason behind the feline urge to explore your garden. Domestic moggies tend to roam around out of curiosity, or because they’re hunting, feeding, mating or marking new territory.
Stray cats and feral kitties may be seeking their forever home.
Either way, it’s not particularly nice when the neighbourhood tom start using your well-tended garden as a litterbox or menacing your own resident furball.
Are cats legally allowed in my garden?
Kitties are protected by law to freely roam, which means they can legally enter any garden or allotment.
If you want to keep cats out of your garden, any deterrents you use must be non-harmful: they cannot inflict suffering, injury, pain or distress.
Those found to be inflicting unnecessary suffering on a moggy will be committing an offence, according to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (AWA).
The AWA also bans the poisoning of protected animals. You could be committing an offence if you use poison, snares or unlicensed deterrents, so make sure you do your homework before you start cat-proofing – you don’t want to cause unintentional harm.
The maximum penalty for those who violate the AWA is a £20,000 fine and/or up to a 6-month prison sentence.
We all want to keep our furballs safe. There are plenty of humane deterrents available, so there’s no excuse for causing a creature to suffer.
How do I keep cats out of my garden?
Here are some of the best ways to protect the resident kitty’s outdoor territory:
Water your flowerbeds
The RSPCA suggests frequently watering your flowerbeds as a means of putting pussycats off.
Why? As we know, kitties are rather regal creatures, so it’s no surprise that some of them aren’t fans of soggy earth, and will avoid walking through it at all costs.
Pack the plants in
Next, try planting your shrubs close together. This makes it harder for clever cats to find a spot to dig their way in.
Lay down chicken wire
Before you get planting, purchase some chicken wire and use wire cutters to make plant-sized holes in it.
Lay the wire down over your mulch/soil, so it covers the planting beds then install your chosen plants.
Felines loathe the sensation of chicken wire under their paws and will try to find another way around.
If your planting beds are already full, you can still carry out a little strategic mulching.
Kitties like to dig in loose earth before pooping, so covering garden beds with stone chippings, pine cones, pebbles or even egg shells will deter them from toileting, as they won’t enjoy digging through rough materials.
You could also cultivate prickly plants, positioning clippings of thorny/spiky specimens in any vulnerable gaps between plants and flowerbeds.
Some cats are more persistent than others, so never assume your garden is completely safe – felines may find a way to infiltrate its perimeters.
It’s vital to get specialist insurance cover for your moggy, and Go Get It are here to help: we’ll compare pet insurance policies so you don’t have to.
Felines aren’t partial to the scent of herbs such as lavender and rue. These aromatic plants will help to turn your garden into the least popular litterbox in town.
You could also make your garden home to Coleus canina, otherwise known as the Scaredy Cat and Pee-off.
An attractive, low-maintenance plant, it’s most powerful once it’s fully grown. Kitties, pups, foxes and rabbits alike all detest the pungent aroma of the Scaredy Cat’s foliage, while humans can only pick up on the smell when touching the plant, so it’s a win-win!
Scent deterrents such as Citronella also repel pussycats – alternatively, you can recycle your lemon and orange peel because kitties don’t like citrus smells.
You could also try Silent Roar, an eco-friendly scent deterrent that capitalises on the territorial instincts of felines.
The pellets are soaked in genuine essence of lion poop, so even the boldest pussycat will think twice about entering your garden, once they catch a whiff of lion!
The pellets don’t contain any ingredients that could harm your plants or soil, and one application helps fend off kitties for up to three months – just make sure you wear gloves when placing the pellets, otherwise you might contaminate the scent with your own.
Improve your fencing
If you have the time and budget, it’s well worth investing in close-boarded, tall fences, as these make it more difficult for kitty intruders to climb into your garden.
Even if you don’t invest in new fencing, you can still assess your current fencing for any holes or vulnerable areas, mending them quickly – sadly, feral and stray kitties are likely to seek sanctuary wherever they can, wriggling through gaps between and beneath fencing as soon as they find them.
RSPB suggests fixing loose plastic roll-up fencing to the top of your fencing, to prevent kitties from scaling it.
Alternatively, they recommend tying string or taut wire 10-15cm above your fencing – this will make it tougher for agile furballs to balance.
Of course, a serious fall can cause kitties significant injury, so if your pussycat likes to climb outdoors, it’s best to leave the top of your fencing alone.
Go Get It will compare pet insurance for you, helping you ensure your furball’s covered when they’re out and about.
Don’t hand out meals
If you don’t want feline visitors, it’s never a smart idea to give food to another owner’s cat – this will only encourage the kitty to keep returning for more.
Likewise, never leave bowls of food unattended outdoors. This won’t just attract other cats: it will attract all kinds of neighbourhood pests, such as rats and mice.
Spray a little water
You should never use a high-powered super soaker on a cat – all you want to do is frighten them off, not physically harm them.
It’s ok to squirt a low-pressure water pistol in the intruding cat’s direction, but not directly at them. You’ll need to be strategic, squirting the cat from a hidden part of the garden, where you’re out of sight.
If the kitty sees you as the source of the water, they may associate you (and humans in general) with the negative experience, rather than your garden.
As a result, they may adapt to this perceived threat by avoiding the garden when you’re around, then happily enter it and explore when you’re not there.
To solve this problem, you could consider installing an automatic spray in your garden, activated by an infrared sensor that picks up on movement – these are easily found online.
Clap or shout
You may not feel comfortable spraying furballs with water, in which case you could consider shooing them away by clapping your hands or shouting loudly when you catch them in the garden.
Talk to your neighbours
If possible, try to have a civil chat with cat-owning neighbours, politely asking that they provide toileting sites for their kitties in their own gardens. They could also assist by ensuring their pussycat is neutered.
Use an ultrasound device
You could try using an electronic device designed to deter cats with a high-frequency sound. These devices are inaudible to humans, but felines absolutely hate the sound they emit.
They’re easy to install: all you need to do is place the device in a position facing the garden. Every time a noisy pussycat comes by, a motion sensor will pick up on their presence and give off the unbearable sound.
It seems these devices are pretty effective: RSPB research has shown that CATWatch, an ultrasonic kitty deterrent, can reduce feline visits to gardens by a third.
Be aware that the device could affect your own moggy, too. It’s best to fit any preventative tactics around your cat’s behaviours and preferences.
You should also secure reliable pet cover – Go Get It will compare pet insurance on your behalf, saving you time and money.
String up shiny objects
Try threading old CDs on twine, making little knots in it, to keep them separated. String them up on trees or across your garden beds: the light bouncing off of them may deter cats.
Safeguard bird tables
Birds are irresistible to neighbourhood cats so if you have a bustling bird table, make sure it’s well kitty-proofed.
Grease the pole leading up to the table with Vaseline, as this will make it harder for cats to climb up it and pounce.
You can also attach a domed baffle to the pole – these clever accessories help prevent kitties from scaling up to the top of the table, leaving the birds to feed in peace.
Keeping your garden and house sparkling clean can also help minimise kitty interest:
- Avoid feeding your own animals outdoors, as the scent of food will lure in other creatures.
- If you use an outdoor barbeque, keep it clean in order to reduce appealing food smells.
- Make sure your bins are kept in a secure place.
- The minute you spot urine spray, clean it up using an enzyme-based scent neutraliser. This helps to deter recurrent spraying and makes it tougher for cats to mark their territory in your garden.
- Clear away any debris that offers hiding places for small prey such as mice – cats love to chase little creatures like this.
Switch it up
Different cats have different dislikes, so it’s worth changing your tactics on a regular basis, seeing what works best.
Make sure that any cat repellents you use are licensed, using them as per the manufacturer’s instructions: otherwise, you could be committing an offence and cause a creature unnecessary suffering or harm.
Likewise, it’s not advisable to use homemade deterrents, as they may have harmful effects that put you in violation of the law.
Realistically, you may not be able to completely prevent cats coming into your garden. As a result, it’s essential to take steps to protect your own puss.
Make sure your kitty has dependable cover, as a nasty fight could seriously harm them – Go Get It can do the hard work and compare pet insurance for you.
How else can I avoid my cat getting into fights?
So, how else can you reduce the chance of cat fights occurring between your beloved furball and other neighbourhood cats?
We suggest following this 3-step plan:
- Fit your outside door with a microchip cat-flap that only opens upon scanning the resident kitty’s microchip.
- Arrange a timeshare with cat-owning neighbours, agreeing on a timetable that details when each of your cats will be allowed outside.
- Keep a litter tray inside your home, enabling your pussycat to stay indoors if they’re feeling threatened.
Looking after your furball
You can take every precaution in the world, but it’s impossible to protect your cat from every risk.
Go Get It understands how much your pet means to you. As the UK’s only dedicated pet insurance comparison site, we can help you secure the right policy for your furball, so you’ll have reassurance they’re covered whether they’re indoors or roaming free.
Don’t wait. Get a quote today.