RyNJ
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Cat Poop by my Plants

There are some stray cats that camp out around my house. Normally I'm ok with them, I think they actually scared away the groundhogs. Well, I noticed this morning a big, stinky cat turd right next to some kale plants that I haven't fenced in. It's not quite on them, but right next to them.

Should I just not eat that kale? I know cat crap is particularly nasty stuff, so I'm not sure. They've already made it through snow and several frosts, I'm gonna be real mad if some poop messed them up. :(

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applestar
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I have not-so-stray neighbors cats that occasionally think it's OK to use my front yard garden beds -- some containing edible plants.

If anyone in your household is in danger from taxoplasmosis -- pregnant, immune compromised, etc. -- I wouldn't hesitate to get rid of the kale -- I'd probably go ahead and put it in the compost pile for that small chance of actual contamination.

For removing solid feces, I use the standard bag over hand method typically used by dog owners. If necessary, I scoop up some of the underlying soil to eliminate as much of the soaked in odor that can invite them back to use the same area, then

-- and people who may be offended should stop reading right now --

I sprinkle the area with ground cayenne pepper.

For repeat offenders, I also cover the area with wild blackberry prunings.

Yes, it sounds cruel. No I don't feel bad about it any more.
I've already yelled at the offending cats when I caught them in the act.
I have already warned my neighbors. Being cats and not dogs is no excuse.

...jumping off my soapbox...

greenstubbs
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I don't know why but I have cats crappin in my yard, and it drives me nuts!!! I have used fencing to keep them away. Just lay it down and let it work. Cats don't like walking on things that hurt their feet, gravel, etc.. Thank god that they haven't found my garden to dump in otherwise they'd be finding themselves either drowned or suffering from high impact lead poisoning.

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rainbowgardener
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We've had a number of discussions here about how to deter cats from your garden:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=116362#116362

This one also has links to several others:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=139042&highlight=cats#139042

You don't have to like cats or tolerate them in your garden, but please don't advocate for killing innocent animals. If you meant that as a joke, it isn't funny.
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greenstubbs
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Sorry, but I don't believe in "sensitivity" when it comes to certain issues, even less for city ordinances that allow cats to roam free that cause topics like this to come up! JMHO! Carry on folks.

john gault
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I spray them with my hose when they're in my garden, but leave them alone when they are in one of my mulched areas, which they seem to like. That way I figure they will tend to spend more time out of the garden. It's easier to keep them out of a small area then the entire yard, that's why I leave them alone, unless if they're in the garden.

cynthia_h
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Now that I've converted my own cats to indoor-only animals :( due to the loss of Canopus in April 2006 to being hit by a car--my first-ever loss of an indoor/outdoor cat to a car--my garden is defenseless.

Or, it WAS defenseless until a neighbor cat decided to nap in my raised beds. I couldn't tell whether the cat was owned or stray for a very long time. I knew it wasn't feral, because it was friendly to me, responding to the "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty" universal call. :)

But having this large gray cat clearly present in the veggie beds, on the porch, and elsewhere around the place has sharply reduced the number of squirrels and mice messing things up! As for his potty habits (I'm assuming Large Gray is a boy; I haven't examined "him"), Large Gray is very discreet. I've only found two unwelcome deposits in all these months. I lifted them out of the raised bed where I found them (using a trowel!) and put them into plastic bags, just like I do with dog waste.

But that's me. I LIKE cats. I LIKE dogs.

For people who don't want cats in their gardens, I have a couple of NON-VIOLENT recommendations:

--motion-activated sprinklers.
--chicken wire laid down around your plants or simply in the aisles of your row garden.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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rainbowgardener
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I'm with you, cynthia. We feed four "feral" or stray cats. At least one of them was born wild on our property, because we were already feeding it's mother (pregnant when she came to us - we do get them all spayed/neutered), but all of them are very tame and friendly. Cats are pretty hard wired to like petting! It never gets to be any more than that, because they are territorial and drive away any strangers that want to take advantage of the handout. Four seems to be what the property supports. When we lost one, then somehow one of the strangers managed to worm his way into the "family" and we were back to four.

But I very very rarely find any of their "deposits" in my garden (like only a few times in ten years). They seem to prefer the wild areas at the back of the property to the gardened areas for that. In the meantime, in my inner city location, I am glad to have them, because they keep the property clear of rodents. There were rats here when we moved in, but none since we have been feeding our cat family. They keep our property clear of all the rats, mice, etc. They only very occasionally get a squirrel baby, the squirrel adults are so good at running up the nearest tree. Probably keep our squirrels a little more physically fit, by making sure they run sometimes! :)

But as noted, if you don't want cats in your garden, it isn't hard to keep them out, with chicken wire on the ground and/or judicious use of squirt gun or hose water. If you've ever seen performing cats, you know cats are a lot more trainable than people give them credit for.
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applestar
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The key is to make the spot unpleasant to use so it doen't become a habit.

It's a little harder to get them to leave it alone after they have become accustomed to thinking of it as their regular potty stop.

But they understand territory, so make it yours. If you can be regularly in that part of the garden, it is obvious and easier.

I make a habit of training my indoor cats. :wink:

DoubleDogFarm
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Stoop - scoop and recoup.

Eric

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soil
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i only have this problem every now and then when there is fresh soil around from land work or clearing. anything that is mulched they do not like. and you should be mulching anyways.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

john gault
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I was working around my tomatoes when I saw this little black mass in the flower section of my garden. https://s1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Cat%20Pics/

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GardenRN
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Leave the turd on your neighbors front porch! Attack the problem at its origin.

If the cat has an owner that is.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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rainbowgardener
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Just thought I would add to this thread, since I just bumped into this. An article about uses for coffee on yahoo says:

Keep cats out of your garden To you, that little garden in your yard is a beautiful source of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, but to seemingly every cat in a five-mile radius, it's a giant, irresistible litter box. Just use the trick mentioned above, sprinkling used coffee grounds on the soil, and cats will want nothing to do with it.

Haven't tried it, but if it works it would be a good thing to do, since we know that coffee grounds add nitrogen to the soil...


It also says used coffee grounds repel ants.

https://shine.yahoo.com/green/20-unusual-uses-coffee-183200501.html
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Sage Hermit
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:3
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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Runningtrails
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I wouldn't live in the country without a cat in the garden! My own large male cat is allowed to roam at will most of the time. He is outside all night in the growing season, staying indoors all winter. Our little girl kittie is allowed outside in the summer with me. We live in the country and he is a fab hunter. Before we had cats, we had field mice everywhere! In the house and in the garden! They would eat the bottoms of the pea pods and beans and other veggies and roam the kitchen at night at will. I still see the odd mouse hole in the garden but I know those mice won't be there long with Shadow on the prowl.

What he doesn't eat, he lines up on the porch. I know he's had a mouse when I find the stomach on the porch, almost every night lately. That's the only part he won't eat. He doesn't eat the squirrels, chipmonks or moles that he kills. Just leaves them for me.

For a month or so this summer, he started bringing me live mice to kill myself :roll: That didn't last long, thankfully!

I rarely find cat poop in the garden areas. We (cat and I) frequent that area enough and his cat nip grows there that he eats, so I guess he is not inclined to poop there. He uses the wild area for that, I assume. He buries it anyway, so if he is pooping in the garden, I don't know about it, which suits me.

They are both very healthy, disease free cats and the country field mice he eats are not prone to the diseases and worms that city garbage mice have.

Outdoor cats in the city are a completely different thing.

john gault
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I've heard orange and other citrus peels keep the cats and dogs away. I'm kind of skeptical, but does anyone have experience using these type peels in the garden.

At best, I would think that their repellant qualities wouldn't last too long and it would take a lot of peels. But I don't know...

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