Friday, August 21, 2009

A Solution to Cats in the Garden

cats in the garden My new neighbors (actually I’m the new one) love their cats. They have four in fact. But the felines also love newly tilled dirt in my raised beds. I’m not having that.

I first bought Shake-Away. It’s supposed to keep cats away with the smell of fox and coyote urine. So far it’s not working, surprise, surprise. Plus, you can’t put it directly in your garden because it’s toxic to pets and humans. Go figure.

Next, the internet told me cats don’t like citrus. So sure, I thought, I’ll lay out some orange and lemon peels. At first the cats didn’t show up, but it was probably just their day off. A couple days later their was crap in my raised bed again.

The other option was a flour, mustard and cayenne pepper mixture that supposedly will keep the cats away. But there’s also concerns the pepper could burn their eyes and I’m not trying to hurt them, just scare them.

So what do cats hate most? Water.

sprinkler-garden-compost-2744 And that’s where the Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler comes in. Muuahh. I don’t want cat crap next to my radishes so this is the next logical step. The big box stores were charging upwards of $70 or more and I wasn’t about to pay that much. I found mine for around $50 on eBay.

scarecrow sprinklerIt was easy to set up and put together, and just required a 9-volt battery. It has sensitivity settings so you can dial in what you need. If you’re worried about squirrels and rabbits you’ll want the sensitivity setting high, at about 8 to 9. If you’re worried about deer or herons, a 3 to 4 setting should be just fine. You can also set up how far you want it to spray out. I’m just covering a small space, but it says it can spray at a length of 35 feet, and cover a 45 feet wide area.

I staked it in the ground, switched on the sensitivity dial and waved my hand in front of it. It let out a quick jet of water and was certainly jarring to scare away any animals. My dog was the first to test it out. She was wondering what was going on every time she went back in the garden area. But once a few drops of water hit her face, she was out of there. Of course, she repeated the process a few times.

scarecrow motion sprinkler Since I have installed it, I’ve heard it go off a couple times, and then spotted the neighbor’s cat nonchalantly walking back to its own yard. But just the other morning I heard the sprinkler start while I was in the kitchen. I looked out the window and didn’t see anything running away. I thought maybe it was the wind blowing the tree that kicked it off. But later I spotted a small hole in the long raised bed, and next to it was a black walnut. Apparently a squirrel was using the flower bed as winter storage but was too scared to finish.

So far, so good. Looks like this sprinkler is set to keep all the pests and their poop out of my garden!


  1. that is so cool! I've never heard of anything like it before. 50 bucks is worth it for 4 cats and a squirrel.

  2. saw something similar on youtube- someone used it to keep birds away from & pooping in their pool! genious idea pepe

  3. Very interesting. I love cats, but you have right, cats + garden = disaster