/ 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?


There is a cat in our neighbourhood that sprays our front door and letterbox so we have a permanent smelly entrance to our home. Very unpleasant for the postman if we haven’t cleaned it off before he arrives and it is impossible to get rid of the stink.

On top of that, numerous cats take it in turns marking out their territory, spraying and killing plants in the garden, leaving their stink behind. They use our garden and plant pots as their loo and kill our wildlife.

Cat owners say it is natural and that non cat owners don’t understand cats, but why should we have to spend our time cleaning up their smelly mess, spend money on deterrents, watch them murder our wildlife just for fun?

Cat owners could train their cats to use a litter tray but they don’t want the smell in their homes. They could also take steps to ensure cats cannot get out of their gardens. Animals that hunt to survive is natural, but cats get fed so do not need to hunt.

Just about everywhere I have ever lived cats have been a nuisance, and I quite understand Adelaide when she says her thoughts turn murderous.

Why do we have to put up with it? Why do we have to spend money on deterrents? Why can’t cat owners take responsibility for their pets and take steps to ensure they stay on their own properties and don’t annoy other people?


With 6 cats next door who have 24/7 cat-flap access outdoors into their paved area, and my garden being the only lawned one nearby, my grass suffered from many cat droppings. I now have a dog which sorted out the cats’ daytime access but they still come in at night. Can’t win.

Angela.H says:
4 September 2015

I have found that putting Orange peel down on the area that they visit seems to do the trick and also they don’t like vinegar.

Mara Comitas says:
22 June 2016

I so agree. We have a neighbor with at least 5 cats. The urinate in everyone’s flower beds and defecate on our lawns. I have called the health department and have been advised to file a nuisance complaint. The problem is proving that it’s this person’s cats. I have photos of them in my yard, but none of them using my yard as a potty. He is the only one, on our street, with cats.

Paul says:
7 July 2018

In Malta they put 1.5l water bottles (filled) in various places. We had same problem by our back door with smell. I have 5 bottles all over the garden including by the back door. Now into 5th week and not one cat seen and no smells!! How this works is a mystery!


Hi Adelaide

You wrote:

“More than half of Which? members say cats have been a problem in their garden in the past two years.”

Oh really? – I seem to have missed that survey – or did you really mean “more that half of the members who responded to a survey on this blog”?


Apologies, I’ve tweaked to say it was of the Which? members we surveyed. We surveyed a representative sample – 6,323 Which? members through the Which? Connect survey panel: http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/who-we-are/which-research/which-connect/


Nope I missed that survey too.

We have three cats traverse our garden plus foxes and huge number of birds alight.

At this stage I ask how many responded to the survey and ask how the question was phrased. This is particularly important if it does not make a distinction between a one off incident and 365 day nuisance levels.

It is on par with have you disturbed by your neighbours in the last two years. A sufficiently broad question I am sure to get a 50% yes response rate. I could say yes – but only a couple of times per year.


Chilli powder.