SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

How to keep cats out of your garden

People try lots of things to keep cats off gardens and although there is no guaranteed way to achieve success, these tips are humane and may be worth trying.

  • Leaving empty plastic fizzy-drink bottles around
  • Having a cat or dog of your own which keeps other cats out of the garden.
  • Place fresh orange or lemon peels, wet coffee grounds and/or metal pans filled with vinegar in the areas where you don’t want cats, as these smells may deter cats.
  • Putting chicken wire over the soil once seeds have been planted; this prevents the cat from digging up the soil and the seedlings can grow through it very successfully.
  • Use ultrasonic cat deterrents: there is some limited evidence that these may have some effect by emitting a high pitched sound (at a frequency above that we can hear) which may deter the cat so he/she goes elsewhere.
  • Providing cats with an area of light, raked soil or sand away from the main vegetable plot (or other area where you don’t want the cats) to use as a latrine.
  • Motion-activated sprinklers could be worth a try (this is not ideal as it is unpleasant for most cats but it is not harmful and they can move away).
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large river rocks to prevent cats from digging. Rocks have the added benefit of deterring weeds.
  • Make sure there is no food or rubbish out that may be attracting cats.
  • Proper fencing that can keep cats out.

It is important that people remember to cover children's sand pits or boxes when they are not being used as zoonotic disease could be transferred from a cat to your child. For a cat these are the most tempting of all as they have nice soft sand, which is easy to dig in and cover over.

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