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Cat poop in the raised vegetable bed...

So, we've just completed our first raised vegetable beds and have our veggies planted.

How do I keep the local cats from wandering in and having a poop on my veggies? I'm a little concerned about this because I'm pregnant and since I'm going to be in the beds dealing with the plants I really don't want to be possibly handling cat pee/poop.

How do you keep them out of your beds?

I've heard of cayenne pepper... would that be safe for my veggies? I don't want to kill my plants by sprinkling it on the soil. Will it wash away when it rains?


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
You could probably put up a bit of mesh netting or a little chicken wire fence if you're really concerned. But, why is it that you think they'll want to poop in your garden? We have a raised veggie garden bed and there are a few neighborhood cats that are indoor/outdoor pets and I've never seen them in the garden let alone seen their poop in there.
May. 4th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I've had warning from neighbors in the area :( There area lot of cats around out village.
May. 4th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, I guess we don't have a ton- just a few cats that roam. Maybe there is something you could plant that's the opposite of catnip though. You know, something that won't hurt them but that would repel them...I wonder if there is something like that.
May. 4th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
My doctor told me that I was more likely to get toxoplasmosis from gardening than from changing the litterbox. Wear gloves to do both and wash your veggies before eating them! I know this doesn't address your actual question (keeping the cats out of the planting bed) but I thought it might bear mentioning. I hope someone has a useful suggestion for you.
May. 4th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
i never even thought about the possibility of getting toxoplasmosis from the garden... but duh, manure!

gloves are a must now for me too - i'm 16 weeks right now.
May. 4th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I might use a mask as well...
May. 4th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Do you think thats necessary? I'm being serious there, I hadn't thought about it.
May. 4th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
If dirt gets flung around I would suggest it as well. While it says it's from indigestion, and I highly doubt you're going to be eating it strait, the cat poo may become dry and flake up. This would lead to sniffing it by accident.

On the plus side it says that it's usually after 2 days that cat poo becomes an issue. So as long as you clean the garden every single day you shouldn't have too much if any risk.

But yes wear gloves and a mask. Keep your baby as safe as possible. Oh and good luck. :D
May. 4th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
I thought I heard somewhere that toxoplasmosis can become airborne if you're digging around in it - like changing the litter box or gardening. *I* would do everything possible to be safe while pregnant so I would probably wear one. However, if you do decide to put nets over the bed to keep the cats out then I wouldn't worry about it. Just make sure the nets are VERY secure because cats are relentless! :P
May. 4th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
You're not going to get it from manure, cats are the only animals that shed live toxoplasma gondii (which is why you should never flush cat waste).
May. 4th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
possible solution
Friends of mine constructed their raised bed and added pvc pipes and put weatherproof nails around the outside to hold netting. It looks similar to the image in the middle of this page: http://www.homeharvest.com/raisedbedgardensystems.htm

The netting keeps the neighborhood cats out (as well as their kids' basketball) and hooking it to the nails makes it easy to take on/off.

Other friends have tried cayenne, coffee grounds, and cinnamon with no success (their cats will often lounge in their garden while they work - proof that the sprinkle on stuff doesn't bother them) The netting seems to be the one thing that's working.
May. 4th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
My friend uses some old dried up flower stalks (big thick ones) and just sticks them in the dirt around her plants. I think that the obstacle they create keeps the cats away.
May. 4th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
I may do this, I have bamboo stakes I could cut up and post around the beds.
(Deleted comment)
May. 5th, 2009 09:44 am (UTC)
Pointy sticks are the way, I use them to keep my cats off my fresh seed beds, especially as cats love newly dug over soil.
May. 4th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry.. I have nothing helpful to say but, what the hell cats, what the hell? What self respecting animal goes into someone elses flowerbed just to take a poop?

For shame..
May. 4th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
I hate cats.
May. 4th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
I like (most) cats! I took in a stray who likes to nap on my bed when I'm home for extended periods of time because she misses me.. So I come home and theres just this circle of cat fur on my pillow and corner of the bed.

Thank god I'm not allergic to animals. I just lint brush it all up and goto sleep.
May. 4th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm really allergic to most cats. Maybe thats part of my bias. I'm a dog girl :) I put up with enough dog hair from him!
May. 4th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
Three dogs, two ferrets and one cat. I just can't be biased anymore. :P
May. 4th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for asking this question. I need a long-term solution to this too. Yesterday, I planted a mini-garden in long planters. I quickly went out to the local fabric shop and bought some tulle to cover them because it was cheap and it was the only thing I could think of atm. I am hoping it will work for a little while. The neighbors cats have pooped on my deck several times this week and there isn't even anything they even can bury their poop in! YUCK!
May. 4th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Unbelievable! I can't believe they just pooped right on your desk! Hell, I'd buy them a litter box to poo in if they started doing that!
May. 4th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Haha... that's definitely a thought!
May. 4th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
yes, cayenne would work, so might putting pinecones in the beds or citrus peels, also peeing around your bed (not kidding)

I also read that the best way though is to make your cat their own bed with cat friendly things like catnip, etc. that way they'll go there and leave your veggies alone!
May. 4th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
See, I'd pee around the bed (or put something around the beds, hehe) but I think they will just jump down into them from the top of the fence. They just wander around the housing estate on top of them.

I read the same thing! I was intrigued, but then I read that some people ended up with MORE cats than they had to deal with before and they were getting into both beds :(
May. 4th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
oh dear! If all else fails you could do a fence around everything with a top, but what a pain. Gardner's supply sells these as well:


Not cheap but worth it if you keep having the problem and they fit!

good luck I just built raised beds and this is my main concern. I first have to have a good talking to my cat. I tell him that his job is to keep critters away at not, not shit in my garden. We'll see if that works. :)

try pinecones though! cats would hate walking on them!!
May. 4th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Our own cats used to poop in our veg garden sometimes. We just washed everything carefully. It's a losing battle.

You could try using a super soaker if you catch them, it will freak them out enough that they will steer clear.
May. 4th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
As for spraying water it depends on the cat. We have one cat, really pretty but she's stray and has a mental issue, and no matter how many times we spray her just so she doesn't get close she never learns. She still tries to come right up to us. Normally I would love that but she's bitten us, no broken skin thankfully, and we'd rather not get sick from her.
May. 4th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
Well, except for that cat, obviously:P
May. 4th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't tried it, but my grandma used to spray vinegar around her garden to keep the cats out. I know it does work indoors, but you'll probably have to do it frequently. I never seem to have a problem with cats around here because there are so many dogs around. Maybe also try taking your dog out near your garden so they can get a whiff of his scent.
May. 4th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Psh, he doesn't do us any good. Sure he is out in the garden most of the time barking at them and the cats sit on top of the fence teasing him!
May. 4th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
LOL. I feel your pain, my rescue dog is actually scared to death of cats. Luckily, my neighbor's german shepherd means business.
May. 4th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Giant super soaker. Hire ninjas to hide out in the bushes, and take aim at the garden. Then when a cat sneaks in, KABLAM! Eventually word will get around and your yard will be cat-free.

Of course this comes from an impassioned cat lover. I'd probably throw myself into the shot to save the cats, then hire hit men to take out the ninjas. And then lay in wait with a giant net to catch the kitties and take them home with me.

It's finals time for me. Sorry, I'm slightly off-center. Looks like people have some good and creative ideas though!
May. 4th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
I wish this would work! I think that they come around at night. We made the mistake of leaving my daughter's tent outside one day and the next day it REEKED of cat piss.
May. 4th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
omg I love this comment.
May. 4th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
You could sprinkle the cayenne around the bed itself, and maybe spray the outside with vinegar. At the very least, this will help keep bugs away.

There are lots of good suggestions regarding the netting as well. My dad used to bury chicken wire under about an inch of soil as well.
May. 4th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
So after reading all the comments, I think that netting your vegetable beds is your best bet to keep the neighborhood cats out and you safe while preggers.

Although, I'm kind of intrigued with the ninjas... :P
May. 4th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Coffee grounds. We had a bed in the front of our house that we pulled this gnarly old bush out of last year, and all the neighbourhood cats decided it was the local litterbox! I read (here, I think) about the coffee grounds and started saving them and sprinkling them in the bed and it worked like a charm.

I think it's pretty good fertilizer, too.
May. 4th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
I can get on board with this idea! Thanks!
May. 4th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
thanks for asking this question. I just planted my first garden, and was wondering the same thing, as the people who live in the apartment in the front of the house have cats. They poop all over the yard. Before I had plants in the raised bed garden, one day after I had set it up, I found cat poop in it. I was NOT happy. But then, today I found a walnut or something similar buried in one of the unused squares, and I know that no cat did that. Squirrel maybe? Anyway, last year was the worst. I decided to grow catnip in a pot out on the porch. What a mistake. Every cat in town was on my porch, knocking the pot over, dragging it around, fighting over the plant, howling right outside my window in the middle of the night. I will never grow catnip again!
May. 5th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
I just last weekend stapled some bird netting over the top of my raised beds to keep the neighborhood cats from using them as a litter box. Depending on what you made your raised beds out of, you could try this. The plants can grow through the netting but cats can't get to the dirt. Unless they get really creative and squat on the wooden sides to poop through the net, I think it's going to work. In the past I've bought lemons from the "clearance rack" at stores and sliced them up to scatter over the dirt. It worked until the lemons dried up too much to smell. The netting was $8.00 for a 7 foot by 21 foot section at a local gardening center, it's just black plastic netting with about 1 inch squares.
May. 5th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about this myself as I'm starting to garden. I'm not pg but I'd rather not unbury cat poop either. I used to have a sandbox but it couldn't last long because it became a giant outdoor litterbox.

What I'm thinking of trying is to set up a small nongarden cat pooping area so if they are busy pooping there they won't be as apt to poop in the garden.
A couple catnip plants and a mix of sand and soil in a small are could very well do the trick. I would worry most about the raised beds while they are seeded but have no big plants because when its full of big plants there'll be fewer accessible pooping places for the cats to dig around in anyway.
May. 5th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
we have had success with cayenne pepper but yes it does wash away so you need to re-apply, it also gets up your nose if you apply it on a windy day!
i think the key is something really smelly.

a net/cage over top is most successful but it requires the most work, then you need to extend it up depending on the height of your plants.

good luck!
May. 5th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC)
Scarecrow sprinkler!

I don't do this, personally, as planting a catnip bed worked for me. Stray cats still hang out in my garden but I don't have poop issues anymore. But this is what I'd do if I didn't want cats in my garden at all.
May. 5th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Try fox urine. Can be obtained from feed stores and sporting goods stores. Sprinkle it around the area. That's a cat's natural predator, and you won't get rats, rabbits, or raccoons in the area either.

You might also have good success with bird netting held up on narrow poles (bamboo?). You could rig it where it was easily removable, where you rolled it up like a curtain to work in the garden.
( 47 comments — Leave a comment )

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