Critter Control: Cats

Either you love 'em or you don't. If you love 'em, skip this section. If you don't, read on.


Cats are very territorial, and as a result, they spend a great deal of time either marking their territory or fighting over it. They are also very good at catching prey.

Good Points

The love, affection, companionship, and amusement they provide. Also, in the garden, they are your best friend, controlling rabbits, mice, chipmunks and the like.

Bad Points

While they're in there, they use your garden as a bathroom, howl and screech until all hours of the night, give a free ride to all of the fleas and ticks in the neighborhood, and use your young trees as a scratching post. And did I mention that they positively love to dig into your house plants?

Favorite Foods

Fish, milk, canned or bagged cat food, and small animals.



Any one of the commercial dog and cat repellents that are available are effective, in the short term. Overspray the area first with a mixture of ¼ cup of Shampoo and ¼ cup of Lysol©disinfectant in two gallons of warm water.


There are a whole host of things you can try, depending upon the nature and severity of the cat problem. This list is by no means exhaustive; you may have to try one or more to be effective.

  • Get a big dog to scare them away (this method has its own set of problems; see the Dogs section).
  • Plant catnip in a special area of your garden just for them.

Sprinkle any one of the following mixtures in and around the area to be protected:

  • ground black pepper or hot Cayenne pepper;
  • dried rue leaves (or you can interplant it in the garden);
  • mothball crystals or flakes; or
  • dry Borax soap.

To prevent cats from using your beds or garden as a toilet...

  • Work chicken fertilizer by itself, and/or orange peels and coffee grounds into the top layer of soil.
  • Stretch and fasten chicken wire over newly planted beds; the cats won't be able to scratch up the dirt, so they will leave it alone. Also, use this in conjunction with the above method.
  • Live-trap them using fish, meat, or cat food as bait (check local ordinances first).

For More Controls, Click On: Critter Controls