Cats are beautiful creatures and we love having them around. However, when we’re encouraging birds to feed in our garden or we’ve just planted new flowerbeds, they can be a bit of a nightmare! We want to keep our birds safe and our beds blooming! But how do we keep cats out?
When researching how to keep cats out of your garden it can seem that there is an overwhelming amount of information. Different techniques seem to work in different gardens and with different cats! We’ve compiled a guide of safe and effective ways of keeping the cats out!
Keep Cats Out
Stop them with smell –
Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell. There are many smells they are known to dislike. For example, Coleus canina, also known as the ‘scaredy cat plant’, is a smell that felines do not enjoy. You could also try rue, lavender (also deer-resistant) and pennyroyal. Cats can also be repelled by dried blood found in bloodmeal fertilizer as well as citrus scents. Lay orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit peel around the garden to spread the scent. You could also use moth balls as a cat repellent. Oils such as lavender, citronella, lemongrass and peppermint work well as non-toxic cat repellents. Mix these oils 1 part to 3 parts water and place in a spray bottle. Spray around your garden or douse cotton wool balls and place around the garden.
Stop them with sound and light –
Some sounds can acts as a cat deterrent. You can purchase devices that operate on a high frequency. This noise is inaudible to humans but unbearable for cats. This will keep them away in a very humane but effective way. You can also place half filled plastic bottles around your borders. This will work especially during summer months. The reflection of the sun on the water is said to deter animals.
Build a barrier –
Regularly check your fences for holes or gaps that cats could be using to climb through. This includes spots beneath decks, behind sheds and within large bushes. While you cannot stop them from climbing over your fences, blocking the easy routes is a good first step of defense. If you do find a gap, build a chicken wire fence then leans in the cats direction. This will prevent the cat being able to enter as they cannot climb over it. Prevent them from climbing up trees by purchasing spiked belts that surround the foliage.
Preventative planting –
When laying your new beds, cover the soil with chicken wire before you plant. Using wire cutters, you can open holes in the wires just big enough for you to lay your plants. Once planted, they will then be safe as cats will avoid walking on chicken wire as it is uncomfortable on their paws. You can also cleverly arrange your landscaping to discourage cats whilst nurturing birds! Plant thorny bushes that will discourage cats but yield plenty of berries for your feathered friends to snack on. Cats will stay away from these bushes as they cannot jump on them due to their spikes.
Protect the birds –
Know who’s cat is chasing your birds? Perhaps a friendly conversation is in order. Work with your neighbours to prevent their cats catching birds by suggesting their cats wear bells and bright collars. This will help alert birds of them and give them a chance to escape. When choosing a bird house, choose a design with steep roofs and few perches to prevent cats from being able to stand or jump on them. Try to keep nesting boxes at least 8 feet from the ground.
Hopefully these techniques will help to keep your beds blooming, your birds visiting and the cats safe! Let us know if you have any more top tips!
Wild about birds? Read our wild bird guide here!