How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard and Garden (Repellent Plants and More!)

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: November 27, 2022
© cabuscaa/Shutterstock.com
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Cats are definitely among the most playful and funniest animals! No one will mind a cat visiting their backyard once in a while. However, this can become a problem sometimes. One day, you can wake up with three or four cats returning to look for food and shelter. Fortunately, we’ve found some great solutions you can choose from to keep cats away from your yard and not harm them at the same time!

The first thing you can do is to make your garden unattractive. For instance, if you have other pets, don’t feed them outside, as cats will shortly come to visit you. Another thing you can do is to arrange a cat-friendly area either in your garden or somewhere in the neighborhood. Plant catnip plants, place a sandbox near them where cats can poop, and, if you have the time and the budget, add water and a food bowl. If your neighbors are up for it, you can take turns adding fresh water and food.

However, if these solutions don’t work and the cats keep returning to your garden, there are several other methods you can try. But first, let’s learn why cats like to wander around someone’s property!

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Why Do Cats Come Into Your Garden?

Norwegian forest cat marking territory by spraying.
Stray cats probably return to your garden to seek safe shelter, water, and food.

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Stray cats probably return to your garden to look for a safe shelter, water, and food. You may notice them more at night, as they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk.

If the cats belong to your neighbors, they might just be looking for someone to play with, especially if their owners aren’t home.

Other reasons cats come to your yard include mating or establishing territory. Moreover, if you have many things in your garden they can climb or jump on, you can rest assured they’ll keep coming, as cats adore these challenges!

Therefore, before choosing a method to keep the cats away, you should first try to understand what they’re looking for in your yard.

How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard and Garden

A cat coming to your garden once in a while shouldn’t be a problem. However, if it keeps returning and spending most of its time there, and above this, invites other cats over, it may become a problem. You either have to start caring for them or chase them away. As adorable as cats may be, some people are allergic to them or have no time to offer them the required care. Luckily, there are some safe methods you can resort to if you want to keep them away from your yard.

Cat Repellents

You can choose between the available cat repellents, including outdoor sprays, repellent mats, motion-activated devices, or ultrasonic repellents.

The spray gives off an unpleasant scent that cats will try to avoid at all costs. Luckily, they do not contain toxic ingredients, so you can safely use them without harming the cats around your house. Some sprays are motion-activated and startle the cats trying to get into your yard. However, some sprays require frequent applications, which may be time-consuming. Besides, the motion-activated sprays emit loud sounds that can become annoying in time.

The ultrasonic device is another product you can use to make your garden unattractive to cats. Most are solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about charging them. They emit sounds cats don’t like and may even keep away other types of animals! However, if you have other pets, the ultrasounds may disturb them, too. In this case, we advise choosing a different cat repellent.

Cat-Proof Fences

kurilian-bobtail-cat-walking-outside-on-leash
Installing a cat-proof fence works well at keeping cats from entering your garden.

©iStock.com/Oksana Lyskova

Cat-proof fences are primarily intended for keeping cats within their home territory. Since they’re curious creatures, cats often want to “travel” outside their home limits, and many owners are concerned they will get lost and won’t remember their way back.

However, if your cat problem is getting serious, you can install a cat-proof fence, too, as it works just as well at keeping cats from entering your garden!

The first option you can check is the mesh fence topper. The topper is made of bendable mesh material and should be placed on the top of your fence, meaning it will prevent cats from climbing the fence into your garden.

Another type of fence is the chicken wiring. If you’re on a tight budget, you can make it yourself by installing chicken wire with brackets. If you’re unsure how to do this, a quick search on Google will unravel the secret.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can opt for a large overhang mesh fence topper, which is basically the same as a mesh fence topper and a chicken wire, except that it extends further into your yard. In this case, if the cats somehow manage to go past the mesh fence, you’ll have further protection.

Last but not least – fence rollers! These rollers are an excellent option if you want something less noticeable than a mesh fence topper. You’ll have to place them on the top of your fence. Even if the cats climb the fence, they’ll step onto the roller and lose stability as the roller will start spinning. You can rest assured the cats won’t be returning to your yard! However, if the cats visiting you are more patient and willing to learn and adapt, they can learn how to avoid stepping on it.

Plants

While the scent of jungle geranium is pleasant to humans, cats won’t find it attractive.

©Aldrin Rachman Pradana/Shutterstock.com

Plants are our favorite choice! They’ll keep the cats away and, at the same time, enrich your garden! However, it’s essential to research the field before choosing a plant since many lists of natural cat repellents include plants that are toxic to cats, and we’re not after this.

Since a cat’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than ours, even the smell of toxic plants can make them sick. Moreover, they may accidentally or, out of curiosity, ingest the plant’s leaves or flowers. This will make them sick and even cause death if the plant has high toxicity levels. After all, we’re trying to find solutions that won’t hurt these small, intelligent felines! However, the tricky thing is that finding a non-toxic plant cat-repellent is challenging. We’ve found two options you can choose from, but there are definitely more!

First, you can plant rosemary, an evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves that produces pink, purple, white, or blue flowers. It will not only keep cats away but be useful in your kitchen!

However, if you’re looking for a plant that will add color to your yard year-round, you can opt for jungle geranium. This shrub produces small, scarlet flowers almost all year long! While the scent is pleasant to humans, cats won’t find it attractive. While other geraniums are toxic for cats, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists Ixora coccinea or the jungle geranium as non-toxic.

In the end, if you have this possibility, our first and foremost recommendation is to take the cats to a veterinarian or a cat shelter. You can also contact local community programs that feed or care for stray cats. This way, you’ll know they’ll have the chance to find a home, or at least they’ll have someone taking care of them!

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The Featured Image

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Installing a cat-proof fence works well at keeping cats from entering your garden.
© cabuscaa/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. ASPCA, Available here: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list
  2. The Practical Planter, Available here: https://thepracticalplanter.com/plants-that-repel-cats/
  3. The Spruce, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/cat-repellents-to-keep-cats-out-of-your-yard-2132573