I know, I know. You thought all the talk of cats was done. So did I. I was OVERJOYED when someone came and took the cats away. I was jumping up and down when I saw that there were only 3 kitties left. I finally went out and planted my long overdue veggie garden and azaleas, and Micah made plans for our raised bed. And then something happened. I saw 5 kitties.
5 kitties? No biggie. That’s way better than 20. And then something else happened. I saw 8 kitties. Great, here we go again. On Sunday I went outside to take off the plastic covering the seedlings and replace it with chicken wire when I saw that one of my azalea bushes was dead. As I was investigating my sad, dead bush, I noticed a yucky smell and then I saw it, kitty poop. And then I saw that they had been digging and pooping around all the bushes.
I marched upstairs and told Micah what happened. He said he’d just put some chicken wire around the bushes. What’s the point of pretty plants if I have to wrap it in ugly chicken wire? In a fit I went upstairs to pout. I came downstairs and decided to email Seattle Tilth about my kitty problem. Seattle Tilth is a nationally recognized non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring and educating people to garden organically and conserve natural resources. (from their website) They have a help email address you can write to.
OK, let’s fast forward to today. This morning I came down the stairs and I noticed one of the kitties lurking around my veggie garden. I ran down the stairs and outside so I could spray it with the hose. The hose is my new thing. I can spend hours waiting like a cat by the window for them to walk across the yard. I’ll be playing the Wii, see them out of the corner of my eye and take off for the hose. I’ve left in the middle of a movie, cut a phone conversation short and left dinner unattended to spray the cats. They say it’s suppose to work.
Anywho, this morning I head for the hose to spray the cat (who I got good) when I noticed a steamy pile of poop ON TOP of the chicken wire. That’s right, on top! See for yourself.
Cats are suppose to be afraid of chicken wire! I can’t believe it. Seriously. I went upstairs steaming (like poop) and sent Micah an email and this picture. I noticed that I had a response from Seattle Tilth. See my comments in red.
I’m glad the chicken wire is working – it’s most important to keep cats out of a vegetable bed where edibles are being grown. (This was obviously written before the Poop on Wire incident of 2010) We have a list of things here that collectively we tried and they seem to work.
Cat Deterrents for your Garden:
* blood meal fertilizer
* plastic forks
* coffee grounds (highly recommended) (I tried this around the azaleas – clearly it didn’t work)
* black pepper (tried)
* aluminum foil (tried plastic)
* cinnamon (tried)
* bramble, barberry,hawthorn, or rose bush cuttings laid on the soil surface (tried on the slope)
* heavy bark mulch or wood chips (tried on the slope)
* motion sensor sprinklers
* chicken wire (See above)
* gutter covers
* crushed rock
* citrus peels
* river rock or stone mulch over the exposed soil (tried)
* carpet tack strips
* "Scarecrow" -motion sensor automatic sprinkler device
* six-inch bamboo skewers (pointy side up)
* short twigs throughout the planted area about 6" apart
* holly leaves
* Essential Oils of Orange, Lemon, Lime, Citrus, lemon grass, citronella, mustard
* pine cones strewn on surface
* keep your area damp, they like dry soil (tried)
* jam jars or clear plastic bottles half full of water left at intervals in the flower beds. Put lid on and place in the middle of the lawn. If you have a big lawn then put a few about. Leave out and see if it works! Cats are suppose to be scared away by the bottle, but how you ask? It works best at night and if there a breeze. Take a light say from a street lamp, car or one of your windows. This light travels through the bottle and the water which is then reflected away like laser beams in different directions giving off little flashes. The cat sees these flashes and Zap! He's away. There you have it so go out and try it out on your lawn.
Give them their own areas: to keep them out of where you don't want them:
(Heck, ask your neighbor if you can add some plants to their yard that the cat will like! You get to garden, the cat stays in it's own yard, and you may make a new friend!) (Like hell I’m going to give them their own area in my yard. And have you seen my neighbor’s yard? They have taken over that too!)
* give them their own areas to dig in: loose soil and/or fine-textured mulch
* give her her own plants - ie., pots of grass for her to chew on and a place in a large planted container on her balcony with some miscanthus grass in it (the cat likes to curl up in that for some reason)
* pick the cat up and bring it to eye level with the plant to see and smell it up close. She noted that once her cat has seen and sniffed at the plant, she usually doesn't bother with it later.
* purple fountain grass
* Barley Grass
* Oat Grass
* Wheat Grass
* Wheat Berries
* Catmint cultivars
* Carex elata 'Bolwes Golden' but put it in some shade
* Jacob's Ladder
* Lemon Grass
* Striped Ribbon Grass (only in a container! they can be invasive) (Phalaris arundinacea)
* Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum)
* Silver-vine (Actinidia polygama)
* Mints (only in a container! they can be very invasive)
* Various Varieties of Cat Mints (relative of Catnip)
* Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Good luck indeed. I sent Seattle Tilth the picture above and asked them if I used the chicken wire right. I’m willing to try the garlic and the citrus thing but really, how much more am I suppose to do? I am not putting forks and bamboo skewers in my yard and garden that I or a guest my step on.
So I decided, I was worried before about the neighbors and what they would think of us, but I’m not so sure I care now. I called animal control back and told them that I want them to set traps. I don’t care if the neighbors see them. If I see a cat, it might get pelted (or at least scared) by a rock. I even contemplated buying catnip seedlings and throwing it over (along with the chicken wire poop) to the neighbors “garden.” Of course Micah came up what a rational plan that he thinks (and I hope) will work.
He wants to build one of these
He found directions online. If it works, it will take care of the side of the house veggie garden and the raised beds we still hope to build. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what else we’re going to do. I don’t know if i can take much more of this. How much money and time are we expected to invest to keep someone else outside cats out of our yard. We’ve thought about a dog but then it would need to be an outside dog and we’d need to build a fence so it would go off and poop in our neighbors’ yards. I don’t do outside (only) dogs.
What do you think? I’ve been contemplating sending my neighbor an email outlining the amount of money we’ve spent to keep their cats out of our yard. All the plants they’ve killed, the soil we have to remove and replace, the seeding that aren’t good. The money for chicken wire, plastic and cement blocks. Too much? Too crazy? I’m telling you this is driving me insane!
Again, what would you do?