It is best to first pickup all waste and treat spots with enzymes (Nature's Miracle, Petzyme, Simple Solution, Anti Icky Poo, etc.) to remove current odors if possible before applying / installing the first two categories of deterrents (“Sprays & Sprinkles” and “Semi-Permanent). Also, talk to cat caregivers (if any) about moving the cats’ feeding station away from the area if it is closeby.
Sprays & Sprinkles
• Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances.
Coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, or oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus also deter cats.
• Use an aromatic spray product, such as Dog and Cat Repellent, available atwww.gardeners.com
• Apply cat repellent liberally around the edges of the yard, the tops of fences, and on any favorite digging areas or plants. Available at pet supply stores and atwww.gardeners.com
• Cayenne pepper – buy cheap at grocery store, sprinkle on or mix into top layer of soil
• Shake Away– 100% organic, and has a lot of great reviews. Read about and purchase at:
• Critter Ridder - Home Depothttp://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100390658&N=10000003+90401+502561
Some people are not fans of this, as it smells strong when kept in the garage and there is concern about the safety for animals. We do not have further information on this aspect, one should read the label and call the manufacturer with any questions/concerns. This product is made by Havahart, which is typically known to produce humane products.
Other sprays, both organic and conventional, are available at pet stores.
• “Flea Halt” - uses nematodes (microscopic worm-like animals) that are natural and safe to add to your yard. This can help keep fleas away, which are more commonly found in areas with a lot of squirrels. Found at your local garden center.
• Predator urine - although we don’t advocate this based on the thought that the process of gathering the predator urine is inhumane. Read about atwww.predatorpee.com
• Cat Scat™, a nonchemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that are cut into smaller pieces and pressed into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging. Pro: reported to be very effective, easily hidden, with spikes that are easily camouflaged in rose gardens, etc. Con: can’t use in “traffic” area since spikes disallow other pets or people to walk there. Available at
• Use plastic carpet runners spike-side up, covered lightly in soil. They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores. Or, set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
• Cover exposed ground in flower beds with (1) large, attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging or (2) large bark. Both have the added benefit of deterring weeds.
• Rubber mulch – recycled shredded rubber tires keep cats out of gardens or other areas. Available atwww.acehardware.com or www.lowes.com.
• Black plastic netting used for keeping birds out. This works on top of plants and to some extent just as a boarder around plants or garden space (depends how determined cats are).
• Artfully arrange branches in a lattice-type pattern or wooden or plastic lattice fencing material over soil. You can disguise these by planting flowers and seeds in the openings. You can also try embedding wooden chopsticks, pinecones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed eight inches apart.
• Aluminum foil– crumple up sheets of aluminum foil and place where you don’t want the cat to go, or try on the perimeter. Pro: pretty effective. Con: eye sore (but oftentimes it can be used for a month or two to train animals to stay out, and once removed they often don’t return).
•Plant the herb “rue” or marigolds, Coleus Canina, lavender, geranium, petunias to repel cats. You can also sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
• Establish a litter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard. You can use new potting soil or cat attract herbal mix, or a combination. Keep litter box clean and free of deposits.
“The Big Guns”
• CatStop™ ultrasonic animal repellent (motion activated sound emitter) – this emits a high decibel sound when motion is detected. It is said to be very effective. Con: may scare your pets if they are free-roaming. Read more and order here (may also be purchased at pet stores, call first to be sure they carry this product):
• Stay Away Automatic Pet Deterrent - motion activated sound and air emitter
• ScareCrow™ motion activated water sprayer – Pro: if installed properly, it can be very effective. Con: must install effectively (proper direction) so as to get cats but not people who walk nearby. Not effective on some cats. We have heard many more positive experiences than negative. Read about and order at:http://www.contech-inc.com/
• Use cat fencing to keep cats out of area, such as your backyard. Read about at order atwww.catfencing.com
Alley Cat Allies' brochure addressing common complaints about feral cats and how to remedy the problems: