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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Keeping neighborhood cat's out of my garden: ideas/opinions?

I just got back inside from stuffing branches from my woodpile in the gap under the fence where the ground dips quite a bit to block the neighbor cats' access (When I start my modest pond building project, I plan to use the subsoil for fill dirt because I'm NOT using my good dirt to fill a useless hole!) I'm a bit concerted that if a cat tried to get under in a state of panic, it might get hurt, but this seemed like a good/cheap temporary physical barrier.

Also chased two cats out of the yard -- one was about to savour a nibble of my catnip and the other one looked like it - he - was about to spray a clump of tall grass :evil: They went over the back fence -- which is just a post and rail lined with chicken wire -- where the chicken wire's bent down a bit. For the time being, I wedged an unused kiddie pool cover against the corner of fence and shed to block the area.

Yesterday, I put a slate stepping stone "sill" under one of the gates because I've seen them crawl under there with some difficulty (having to flatten themselves on their bellies). So the slate will hopefully close the gap enough to keep them out... and blocked another possible access by a fence post with a couple of rocks. :lol:

These cats are used to walking across my back yard on daily basis -- there seems to be a designated feline passageway here. But this has got to stop. Yesterday, I caught another one trying to use the kid's sandbox for nefarious purposes. :x That's at least 5 cats!

I have 2 kitties of my own. But they're strictly indoor cats, with occasional SUPERVISED outdoor activity. Unfortunately, I have two neighbors that keep "adopting" strays. They do trap them and have them fixed/vaccinated, but then leave them outside. I hear that some of the cats that they feed actually belong to someone else on the next street, but come around for the freebies. :roll:

So, do you think systematically blocking their access will be sufficient? I'm seriously tempted to spring for the motion-actived water-shooter. :wink:

cynthia_h
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Hmmm. You're growing catnip and the cats seem to like the yard, is what I read in your message.

Although the yard may be an established "cat highway," the catnip is also bound to be a major attraction.

You're probably growing it for your own kitties, as a good cat mom/dad would do, but maybe it would be better off in a container just outside the house and not in the yard?

And if removing the kitty drugs doesn't help de-motivate those cats, then the motion-activated water just might have to do it. Cats *do* have their own minds about stuff.

Speaking as one who has had cats all her life except for the first two years of college, yr. obed. svt. &c.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

TheLorax
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What about talking to your neighbors and sharing with them that these cats are urinating and defecating in the sandbox that your kids play in? Most people who have kids can relate to the ick-factor of turds in a kid's sandbox. Maybe you could gently suggest to them that they stop feeding the strays from the next street over? The catnip I'd grow in a container and move inside. Sometimes the motion activated scarecrows work, sometimes they don't. I don't particularly care for red pepper being sprinkled around. Cats can get that in their eyes. It's not the cat's fault it's allowed to roam where ever it wants.

We placed plywood over the sandbox here to stop cats from using it as a litter box.

Sometimes bringing a cat into animal control works when all else fails. People don't like to have to pay fees to spring their family pets and they don't like the fines associated with not being current on vaccines.

You've got to live there. I feel for you.

cheshirekat
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Location: Denver, CO (zone 5)

Well, I have a cat that is strictly indoors only. Although the hubby just left the screen door open and she escaped a few minutes ago. What bothers me is that I have two bird families nesting in the tree just outside our kitchen window and next to the back door. I don't want them to panic.

The front yard isn't fenced so the only thing I have found to work is to plant a lot of thorny plants like blackberries (everywhere, especially along the edge of yard), Washington Hawthorns as a hedge on the north side of yard, Adam's needle yucca, and roses along the sidewalk. The blackberries are really growing and I rarely see cats in my yard. Before, they were always in my yard and I was cleaning up poop and replanted small raspberries they dug up several times until finally I got BIG raspberry plants this year. I don't have any catnip in my yard.

I like cats but I don't like to clean up after other people's cats that are allowed to roam in who know's what kind of diseased places. Also, they used to hang out under our juniper tree along the front of our house. That's where they'd meet up to mate and make horrible noises all hours of the day and night. When I trimmed the lower juniper limbs, it made the spot less of a hangout because they are too visible. I also try to keep that wet more often because cats don't like hiding under a wet bush. With all the thorny places, it only takes a couple visits for them to get thorns in their paws and they don't come around nearly as often. I see a lot less cats as the blackberries get bigger and I replant the suckers in other areas along the edges. Next year, the entire front edge of the yard will be all roses, thorny rosa rugosa and I will enjoy having the rose hips in tea while the bushes are unfriendly borders for my turf.
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Are you all implying that I'm unintentionally running a " 'nip yard" (vs. crack house) :lol: ... Well, I'll move the catnip patch if I HAVE to, but I haven't seen a single cat in the yard for the last 3 days. So far so good. :D

The last cat I saw, I was inspecting my "Sunny Meadow-to-be" for signs of emerging seedlings, and I guess I saw something in the corner of my eye... 'cuz I turned my head, and there was Monty a.k.a. "Monster Cat" -- in reality a runty purebred Main Coon (he's only about 1/2 as big as he should be). I realized that there was a narrow gap between my fence and my (other) neighbor's where he must have slipped through there. I yelled at him and chased him all the way across the yard to his own. He must have known about the branches under the fence because he headed for the back fence where I created a blockade with the pool cover. He got a little confused then, and had to climb the chicken wire and scramble over the fence :lol: He hasn't been back. 8)

I have to vent here though! The next morning after I originally posted, I found one of the gates WIDE OPEN :shock: I mentioned it to my DH and he casually said "Oh yeah, I noticed it was open when I came home last night." :x :roll: I took a DEEP breath, and EXPLAINED to him about the neighbors' cats, my efforts to keep them out, and nailed it in with the dangers of having cat feces in the kids' sandbox. :?

Much later that day, I found a poop pile only about 10 feet inside the gate that had been left open -- laying on top of some long grass (no effort to bury it whatsoever). So one of the DID get in during the night. :x Now, either this cat was DELIBERATELY leaving something for ME to find, or... probably more likely... my two girl cats spend part of each day/night at the upstairs open (screened) window DIRECTLY ABOVE where I found the "offering" So this might've been a catly version of "Juliet on the veranda" scent'ade (vs. serenade). :wink:
My solution to that pile -- it had rained and the poop was intact but looked positively soggy. I reasoned that they needed to dry out a little or I'll end up with an impossible mess and left it for the night... then had an idea in case the cats came back -- I went out in the dark with a flash light and LIBERALLY sprinkled the pile and the surrounding damp grass with cayenne pepper :twisted: (Next morning after the dew had dried, I disposed of the poop and piled a good mound of dirt on top of where it was.)

TheLorax
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Are you all implying that I'm unintentionally running a " 'nip yard" (vs. crack house)
Pretty funny!
Much later that day, I found a poop pile only about 10 feet inside the gate that had been left open -- laying on top of some long grass (no effort to bury it whatsoever).
Think I would have tossed it over the fence into the neighbor's yard.

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