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Twelve Practical Ways to Keep Cats Off Your Garden – Organically
The simplest, humane way to keep cats out of the garden is to install chicken coop wire, supported by bricks, across a manicured plot. Or scatter old holly leaves, pea sticks or blackberry stems. Where this is impossible, plant the route around the flower bed. Cats hate it. (Unfortunately, it’s the same with every other plant. Ruta is not a good companion.)
It is said that cats also hate garlic, chamomile and tagetes. And I am reliably told that the prickly restharrow (Ononis spinosa) deters cats. That advice is completely useless, of course, to those of us who wouldn’t recognize it from a bath brush.
However, in my experience, citronella is also a proven organic cat repellent. Spray the edges of the bed with 100 drops of citronella per 1 liter of water. Apply daily until your cats are reared. It is easier to get the peel of an orange, grapefruit or lemon, and I think it is also effective.
Cordons of chili oil, curry powder, garam masala, and the like also repel cats. The next idea is a bit controversial. Nor is it organic. So if you’re a cat lover, I have to tread carefully (unlike my neighbor’s cats who used to use my flower bed as a jogging track).
I surrounded my plot with small plastic milk bottles, sunk into the ground with the tops removed and each containing a few teaspoons of ammonia. The cats were not harmed by this as none of them came within ten feet of those bottles of strong smell.
Strong repellent for cats
Another idea, if you are not picky, is to put the dog’s excrement in closed margarine containers, well pierced on the side. Place them around the vegetable bed and the cats will not come near you. Neither will the dogs. They have a keen sense of territory and will not invade another dog’s ‘land’.
Do not put dog, cat or human feces – or the feces of any other carnivores – on the soil itself, even around inedible flowers. Residues remain in the soil and can be toxic. children have to go blind after wiping soil contaminated with feces from the eyes.
Clay pellets impregnated with lion or tiger urine are now widely available. Humans are said to be almost odorless, and repel cats, dogs, foxes, wolves, possums, yetis and bears. But they are also best protected from prying fingers in perforated containers.
If your bird boxes are attacked by cats, grow roses and blackberries on trees or posts that support the boxes. Or ask your local fast food joint for a large empty barrel that once held cooking oil and cut it into a metal collar. Two collars will girdle even a large tree. Wrap it around a support four feet above the ground, the shiny surface outermost, and such a band will protect bird boxes from cats, squirrels, and little boys. Put it lower, it will prevent the rabbits from biting the trees.
Practical use for pets in the organic garden
Small pets sometimes have practical uses. For example, hair brushed from the coats of cats or dogs (or from horses or any furry animal) can be placed in the bean trenches to add slow-release nitrogen.
Indeed, human hair swept from barbershops makes a wonderful addition to compost bins, if you’re not picky. Hung in mesh bags around the orchard, it will also repel deer and wild boar as effectively as rotten eggs. (Hydrogen sulfide released by leftover poultry eggs was, in laboratory tests, even more effective at deterring four-legged pests than proprietary repellents.)
Culinary ways to repel cats
Grow red hot chili peppers in your greenhouse – not to eat them, because only Lucifer can enjoy them – but to grind them and soak them in vegetable oil over the winter. Apply this noxious paste to cardboard strips in the spring and lay them around your seedlings or any other plants you want to protect. Not only will the cats spray, but the fiery scent will also repel many insect pests.
You can also mix such an organic (but humane) nerve gas 1:5 with water mixed with dishwashing liquid, strain and spray plants infested with aphids, caterpillars and anything that crawls, twitches or flies. It kills or deters almost all of them.
A more stylish cat repeller…
it is made from a discarded plastic cola bottle or dishwashing liquid. Remove the plug. Throw in some old nylon stockings, some glass or rock wool insulation, or even the plastic foam interior of an unemployed teddy bear. This makes the fuse. Make sure the wick fits snugly and protrudes from the top.
Fill the bottle one-third full with your strongest human nerve gas (see above) and ensure the wick is soaked to the top. Immerse the bottle next to the most selected plants. The wick will then spray your cat repellant into the air.
A few of these bottles in the planting bed, replenished regularly, should deter even Tom & Jerry.
Note that the above repellents will not harm beneficial insects, birds or any of your pets. Unless they eat them, which they won’t. Just keep small children away.
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