How to SUCCESSFULLY Stop Cats from Using Your Garden as a Litter Box

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 06/26/22 •  11 min read
fenced garden

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Are you sick and tired of your kitty using your garden as a litter box? You’re not alone.

But what can you do about it?

Life as a cat owner means dealing with all sorts of pet-related issues. Often times we hear about how to keep cats from destroying furniture, urine spraying, and making messes throughout the house. But what about the things they do outdoors?

Not all your neighbors will appreciate your cat roaming around on their lawn and using their backyard as a litter box. In fact, some of them might not even blink when harming or poisoning your lovely kitty.

No wonder outdoor cats have a much shorter life span than indoor cats.

Indoor-Outdoor kitties have a lifespan of about 4 years, while indoor-only kitties live up to 10-14 years of quality life.

Cats and kittens can be adorable, but when it comes to your garden, they could spell disaster. It would seem that cat-owners should have similar dilemmas with their cats using the garden as a litter box.

If you have a garden in your backyard, at some point you might experience the unpleasant issue of having your kitties or even strays using your garden as their toilet.

Cats are known to dig in the garden. Most of the time they aren’t up to any good. But there is something you can do about it.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to prevent cats from pooping in your garden.

There are several effective ways to keep cats out of your garden, some better than others.

Keep reading for some tips on how to stop cats from entering your garden and how to deal with cat poop in the yard.

FELINE FACT: The first cat show in the United States was held in 1895 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Reasons Why You Should Stop Stray Cats from Using Your Garden as a Litter Box

1.    Kitties Can Kill Your Backyard’s Wildlife:

Do you love feeding the wildlife around your neighborhood by leaving out seeds for squirrels or sugar water for hummingbirds?

If you have unwanted cats that visit your yard, they can easily kill or injure the little critters running around your backyard.

This will in turn ruin the peace and aesthetics you have going on.

Cats are natural carnivores, so they are drawn to killing smaller prey. While this is an entirely normal phenomenon and no fault of the cat—it’s also something you want to avoid in your own yard and a wakeup call to come up with a plan on how to deter cats from your yard.

2.    Cat’s Poop Can Be Toxic:

If you’re gardening or pulling weeds from your flower bed, the last thing you want to do is stick your hand in a pile of cat droppings. Not only is it disgusting, but it’s also completely unsanitary. Cat poop can carry lots of nasty bacteria that can make you really sick.

Cats who haven’t had regular vet care can be at risk of carrying more bacteria in their cat poop. They can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is contracted by eating small mice, birds, and other backyard rodents.

This parasite can cause an illness called toxoplasmosis.

It’s especially harmful to pregnant women because it can transmit to the unborn baby, and have extreme consequences in some cases.

3.    It Can Upset Your Pets:

It might get your family pets all riled up to see an unfamiliar cat in the yard. Not only can it upset the family dog, but might pose a risk to your cats if you occasionally let them explore your yard.

Keeping up with regular vet care is a great way to avoid any issues with strays. You can get your cats vaccinated and spayed or neutered to protect them.

However, illnesses like feline leukemia can still spread to your cat via saliva, blood, and feces.

Since unwanted cats can carry this disease without your knowledge, keep these cats away from the yard completely.

4.    Cats Might Destroy Your Garden or Flowers:

Perhaps the most obvious reason you don’t want cats in your yard is to prevent your garden from becoming a cat box.

Cats are programmed to cover their waste. If you just planted a garden or flower bed with fresh plants, they might not be deeply rooted in the soil yet.

Some smaller annual flowers never do. Just a few kicks can dig up your plants, killing or damaging them.

To avoid this, implement the methods below on how to stop cats from coming into your yard.

Cat smelling flowers

How to keep cats from pooping in your flower beds

If your cats are continually creating a mess in your garden, here are a few tips on how to keep cats from pooping in the mulch.

1.      Make your yard unattractive to cats:

Cover your yard with rough surfaces.

Cats do not like digging on tough and unpolished textures for their paws are soft and tender. You can use prickly pinecones, coarse-textured mulch, pebbles, and stone.

You can also lay some poultry wire and cover it with some mulch. A cat will find it very difficult to dig through the wire while trying to bury her waste.

2.      Use scents that deter cats:

Cats dislike some common natural scents like lavender, rue, Coleus Canina, citrus, and lemon thyme.

Plant a few of these plants in the garden, and all the cats will take off the moment they bloom.

Sprinkling the area around your garden with some coffee grounds will keep away the unwanted cats for good. Coffee grounds are easily available and you can quickly implement this.

Cat repellent grass will ensure that it will not come close to your garden.

3.      Keep the litter box clean:

Most cats will venture out of the kitty box as a result of using a dirty litter box.

If your cat uses a kitty box that has an unpleasant odor, it will seek refuge in your garden where there is plenty of fresh air. Scoop the cat poop and use litter from the box frequently to avoid problems.

4.      Use a water sprinkler:

A motion-activated sprinkler system will keep cats away from digging in your garden. Anytime the motion sensor detects a cat, it releases a gentle mist of water that scares away the cat. Generally, cats fear water.

However, ensure you don’t position it in a way that it’s prone to false triggering, such as near driveways, sidewalks, or entrances.

5.      Use sound emitting devices:

You could try using wind chimes, rocks, and pebbles put in a can that will rattle when they contact a cat. You can also buy ultrasonic sound devices that emit a high frequency just heard by kitties.

6.      Make an Outdoor Litter Box:

Cats love playing outside and are quite adventurous. Set up an outdoor cat box for them to spend their lazy afternoon in their own personal litter box.

Remember to clean the litter box regularly.

7.      Build A “Catio”:

Set up an outdoor enclosure for your cat. This will restrict it from the garden as it gets to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

How to keep my neighbor’s cat from pooping in my yard

Are the neighborhood cats ruining your garden? Worry not. Discouraging your neighbor’s cats from pooping in your garden can be a difficult exercise unless you physically block off access to your yard. Here are some additional ways to keep stray cats out of your yard:

1.         Fence your garden:

You can fence your garden using a chicken wire mesh. This will restrict and lockout access to your garden.

Lay chicken wire mesh 2 Inches on the ground, since cats have a way of digging under the chicken wire mesh to access the garden.

2.         Clear The Bushes:

Clear all the bushes in your garden. They run the risk of harboring mice and other rodents, which attract cats.

A yard full of mice makes it a good hunting ground for cats.

3.         Avoid Keeping Food in Your Garden:

Cats will be attracted to cat food even if it is trash.

Keep all your food and waste safely locked in or in places out of reach.

 Avoid feeding your cat outside; this will also attract cats in the hood.

4.         Litter Disposal:

If you own a cat, do not dispose of its litter in your garden. Neighborhood cats will be attracted by the scent of another cat’s litter. Put your cat litter in a cat litter disposal system and dispose of it as required by your state’s laws.

5.         Use cat repellents:

Various commercial cat repellents emit sounds or have an aversive odor that cats do not tolerate.

6.         Use a glass jar filled with water:

Did you know that a cat is usually repelled by the shine or reflection of a water glass jar that is filled with water and placed laying on its side?

FELINE FACT: Cats have 290 bones in their bodies, compared to 206 bones in a human.

How to stop cats from pooping in your vegetable patch

No gardener likes it when cats turn their garden into a playground or a litterbox. Here are some home remedies to stop cats from pooping in the garden.

1.         Use cat repellent mulch:

 Use light mulches in your vegetable garden. Anytime a cat steps on the mulch, her paws will sink, for it’s not solid ground. Cats hate that and they will keep off.

2.         Introduce cat repellent plants:

Introduce some plants in your garden.

These are the plants that keep strays away:

Cats dislike the scents of these plants and you will farm in peace.

3.         Keep Your Cat Busy:

Wondering how to keep your cats from pooping in the plants?

An idle cat will always be a nuisance in the garden.

Get your cat some toys to play with and keep her busy.

Does Pepper stop cats pooping in your garden?

Yes, pepper stops cats from pooping in your garden.

Sprinkling cayenne pepper around your backyard or around the affected garden will repel cats. If it’s during the rainy season, reapply the pepper after the rains to ensure it remains effective.

How to stop cats pooping in garden bleach

Bleach smells like urine and cats will be attracted to the area with the bleach.

To prevent this, secure your garden and use some of the above-suggested ways to succeed in keeping cats away from your garden.

Does vinegar stop cats from pooping?

Vinegar scents will stop cats from pooping. White vinegar sprayed on your garden will repel cats.

While working with scents, experiment with various scents or combinations of scents to see which works most effectively.


Cats instinctively bury their cat poop and cover up their urine. This dates back to when wild cats did this to avoid their predators from detecting them.

This is the reason outdoor cats prefer using your garden for their toilet needs.

If your neighbor applies fertilizers and insecticides on their lawn, your indoor-outdoor cat will likely ingest these poisons when she grooms herself.

Antifreeze is a huge problem because cats love to lick any spills of it and can affect them.

Chemical spills are also problematic to outdoor cats.

If your neighbor uses rat or mice poisons in their garden, the chemical that attracts the mice will also attract your cat and it can be fatal.

Scat mats can be very useful in keeping your cats away from the garden.

Give it a try!

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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