/ Home & Energy

How can you keep your garden feline-free?

Cat in grass

More than half of the Which? members we surveyed said cats have been a problem in their garden in the past two years. There are many tips and products available to keep them out, but which actually work?

I know lots of people adore cats and even though I’m dreadfully allergic to them, I think they’re fluffy, loveable things too. Until they keep me awake with their interminable howling or are cr***ing in my garden; and then my thoughts turn murderous.

I’ve tried numerous ways of deterring cats. For the night-time howling there’s nothing more effective than nipping out and chucking a glass of water over them – they move along quite promptly.

Ways to keep cats away

But when they’re soiling in my flower beds, on my lawn and even in my containers I find it more difficult to catch them at it and stop them. I’ve tried various methods of putting them off, including half-filled bottles of water, plastic snakes and prickly berberis clippings. The prickly clippings worked reasonably well, but the others were completely ineffective. The only way I’ve found to deter them permanently is to plant so densely they can’t get to bare soil.

The lawn-cr***ing I just put up with – but what else can I do? In a recent survey of our members, quite a lot of people recommended a motion-activated water spray or an ultrasonic repellent. I’m sorely tempted. But I don’t want to chase wildlife out of my garden either.

Have you had cat problems? Have you tried out some home-remedies for repelling these furry fiends? Or do you think that getting a dog is the only way to finally be rid of feline problems forever?


Very disappointed in the Which? article on “deterring cats” – “Cat repellents”! The article refers only to deterring cats from gardens without consideration of the much more costly problem of cats climbing on and scratching cars which of course spend the greater part of their lives parked in garden driveways.
Also disappointed that the article consists of a member survey only. Why didn’t Which test a few devices?
Searching online, I’m surprised to be unable to find a sonic cat repeller that runs off a car battery.

S*** gets censored but “crap” is ok?

I’ve added c*** to the profanity filter 🙂

In these days of artificial intelligence could the profanity filter not include a thesaurus that substitutes a nicer version of the word rejected?
It is sad, though, that these days I cannot think of a profane word that is not used widely in print and the media. Once upon a time you reserved some words for private use that expressed an emotion in the strongest possible way. I now don’t know any such words that are left – they’ve all become devalued. I don’t suppose anyone can suggest any as the filter will just leave us guessing. Oh b*****!

I’m actually regretting adding that c word to the profanity filter. Instead, I’m going to take both out of the profanity filter. Unless I hear otherwise, which will make me reassess. I remember the days when ‘reassess’ would be filtered due to the word ‘ass’ being in the middle.

Anyway, back to cats.

I used to have cats defecating in my front garden. After being chased a few times they stopped visiting.

I never have a problem these days because I’m lucky enough to have neighbours without cats. 🐱

What makes you think it’s your front garden? Cats are not just territorial but proprietorial.

I will bear that in mind, John. I have realised that one of my neighbours does have a cat but it seems to stay in their back garden, as did their previous cats. Thinking back to the early eighties, I had to be careful to keep the doors shut or I would find a cat (belonging to the same neighbours) in my bungalow. Once I came home to find I had locked it in and on another occasion I found it on the worktop sampling my baking. 🙁

I must ask my neighbours how they have trained their cats to stay away from my home and garden.

Cats are independent creatures with no concept of other people’s property, We had such an independent animal when I was small. It knew the time my father was walking home from work for lunch and in the evening. It would wait in someone’s garden down our road and then meet him and follow him home. As for property, neighbours about 6 houses away had laid out a (tinned) salmon salad tea for guests but left a window open in the dining room. The salmon largely disappeared, the culprit being our cat.
This is life, isn’t it? We need to share our world; we don’t own it.

I would like to see evidence to support this, Malcolm. Cats can certainly be trained to avoid scratching furniture and to use litter trays. On the other hand, it seems difficult or impossible to persuade some cats not to attack birds. It would be interesting to know what can, cannot and might be achieved.

Fran says:
1 December 2015

I used to find as many as ten foul offerings on my lawn if I hadn’t cleared them up for a week. My solution has been to erect cheap and simple fencing around the perimeters of my garden using 8 foot canes and plastic mesh netting. It’s ugly but effective. I tie white ribbons to deter birds from flying into it. Young cats still jump over my gates but the number of poos is much reduced. I wish someone would manufacture cheap, smart anti- cat fencing for the gaps at the bottom of hedges.
The Which survey raised the issue but no convincing solutions came out of it so it was frustrating.

Hello everyone
I’ve joined Which and am very interested in your ideas on how to deter cats coming into your gardens.Im having the same problem with (thankfully)only 1 cat .They are a nuisance when they use your garden as a toilet and scare the wildlife.If I find and more suggestions I’ll post them on.Kaz B