12 Brilliant Ways to Keep Cats Out of Your Raised Garden Beds

As any gardener with curious outdoor cats knows, our furry feline friends don’t always mix well with flower and vegetable gardens. Cats love loose, soft soil and will happily use your carefully tended raised beds as their own personal litter box Even worse, they may dig up seedlings or damage plants in the process

If neighborhood cats or your own kitties are wreaking havoc in your raised garden beds don’t despair. There are many effective solutions for safely and humanely keeping cats away from your plants. In this article, we’ll explore 12 brilliant methods to stop cats from turning your garden into a potty.

Why It’s Important to Keep Cats Out

Before getting into solutions, let’s quickly review why it’s so crucial to prevent cats in your raised beds There are two primary risks

  • Health risks: Cat poop can spread parasites like roundworms or toxoplasmosis and may also have bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella. These can linger in soil and be transmitted to humans.

  • Destruction: Cats may accidentally uproot seedlings, damage plant roots, or move seeds when they dig in loose soil to bury their waste.

For the health of people and plants, it’s vital to deter cats from gardens, especially those used for food production. Happily, there are many effective and safe options!

12 Smart Ways to Deter Cats

Here are 12 of the top methods recommended by gardeners for keeping cats away from raised beds:

1. Use Physical Barriers

Physical barriers like fencing or wire that block access are very effective against curious cats. Options include:

  • Plastic garden fencing
  • Chicken wire laid over beds
  • Hardware cloth on frame around beds
  • Lattice panels around perimeter

The key is ensuring cats cannot push underneath or climb over the barrier. A height of around 2 feet is optimal for deterrence.

2. Apply Mulch

Bulk mulches make it hard for cats to dig and bury waste. Spread a 2-3 inch layer of:

  • Wood chips
  • Pine needles
  • Pea gravel
  • Crushed stone

Replenish as needed. Works great around perennials.

3. Use Natural Repellents

Apply strong scents cats dislike to make gardens unappealing such as:

  • Citrus peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Citronella or eucalyptus oils
  • Lavender or rue plants around beds

Reapply frequently. Works best for smaller spaces.

4. Install Scary Stuff

Objects that startle cats when moved can be effective deterrents. Options are:

  • Tackles or wind chimes above beds
  • Aluminum foil pans filled with pebbles
  • Mylar tape along edges
  • Fake plastic snakes or owls moved periodically

5. Apply Smelly Stuff

You may get some looks from neighbors, but stinky substances keep cats away like:

  • Dog or human hair clippings
  • Used kitty litter
  • Granular lion dung or predator urine
  • Ammonia soaked rags

Reapply weekly. Store bought repellents work best.

6. Install Water Sources

A simple sink with sensor hose attached to beds keeps areas moist, making them unappealing for cats. Or place oscillating sprinklers nearby and turn on when cats appear.

7. Use a Motion-Activated Deterrent

When triggered by movement, devices give cats a harmless but startling water spray. Products include:

  • ScareCrow motion activated sprinkler
  • Havahart Spray Away
  • CatStop automated compressed air

Position to cover problem areas in garden.

8. Apply Textural Fillers

Before adding soil, fill raised beds with materials that deter digging such as:

  • Large pinecones
  • Lava rocks
  • Chopped twigs or sticks

9. Employ Electronic Repellents

Non-toxic devices emit ultrasonic, high-pitched frequencies when detecting motion. Cats dislike the noise but humans usually can’t hear it. Or try a solar-powered sonic spike.

10. Block Access Below Beds

Prevent cats from crawling underneath by lining the base with:

  • Hardware cloth
  • Weed barrier fabric
  • Lattice panels
  • Bricks or blocks

11. Train Your Cat

For your own cats, provide plenty of appealing places to potty like dirt or grassy patches away from your garden beds. Give treats and praise when they use acceptable areas.

12. Use Deterrent Scents on Your Cat

Rubbing paws or fur with scent cats dislike including citrus, menthol or eucalyptus may deter your own cat from entering garden beds. Never use toxic essential oils directly on cats.

Find the Method That Works for You

With persistence and consistency using one or more of these methods, you can effectively keep cats away from raised beds. Just be patient, as it make take some trial and error to find the right solution for your unique situation.

The key is addressing the problem promptly at first signs of cat intrusion. Left unchecked, undesirable behaviors like using gardens as litter boxes will quickly become entrenched habits.

While not always completely fail-proof, you stand an excellent chance of success combining one or more of the techniques outlined above. With a little effort, your flowers and veggies can grow happily and healthily, safe from curious cats and free of unsanitary surprises. Happy gardening!

Keeping Cats OUT of the Garden | Pantry Chat Podcast Short


How do I stop my cat from pooping in my raised bed?

As we saw with the lion dung, cats can be sensitive to scent and aromas, so using strong smells in the growing beds may deter cats from pooping in the garden. You can make sprays, sprinkle dried materials or grow plants with strong scents. Many cats dislike the smell of peppermint, lavender and cinnamon.

How do I keep cats out of my raised beds?

Stretching netting over beds, running string between posts at the top of fences and using light mulches that a cat’s feet will sink into will all make a cat feel that it’s not on solid ground, encouraging it to go elsewhere.

What is a natural cat repellent for gardens?

1. Homemade cat deterrent spray. Mix together lemon juice, rosemary and white vinegar – three things cats detest. Put the liquid in a spray bottle so it’s easy to use around the garden.

Can coffee grounds deter cats?

The strong smell of coffee can be enough to keep cats off of your garden. Simply take your fresh, wet coffee grounds and distribute them around your borders and plants where you want to discourage feline attention. What’s more, the coffee grounds are entirely biodegradable so they will decompose and enrich your soil.

Leave a Comment