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Cats in the garden

I have a problem with my cat digging in my veggie garden. He has damaged and uprooted many seedlings and young plants and I'm worried about eating produce that has been growing near cat excrement. He is not deterred by commercial repellents. Do you have any tips for keeping cats out of the garden? Is there anything I can plant amongst my veggies that will keep him away?


I also have problems with cats digging in the garden. A cat loves nothing more than to do its business in freshly turned soil but it's usually discouraged when the plants are big enough to cover the soil, which is why soil with little seedlings is particularly attractive.

I can think of two approaches to discouraging the cat. The first is some kind of physical barrier. If I have very small seedlings, I often place a net of chicken mesh over the top until the plants get bigger. This is very successful and can be moved around as needed. If you don't have any chicken wire at hand you could try inserting a load of bamboo stakes or sticks amongst the plants - physically preventing the cat from parking itself!

The other approach is related to the fact that cats usually sniff the soil before defecating, so placing something strong smelling or irritating can discourage them. I have heard of people using chilli powder or pepper (a bit mean really) or even citrus skins. As long as you wash your produce well, I wouldn't worry too much about eating it.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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