Keep cats miaow-t

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home -

There are eight mil­lion cats in the UK and nearly one in five homes has a moggy - but not ev­ery­one is a fan.

The Mam­mal So­ci­ety es­ti­mate that cats kill 55 mil­lion birds a year. And many gar­den­ers hate see­ing cats on their patch, us­ing their trees and shrubs as scratch posts and their beds to do their busi­ness.

Here are 10 ways to de­ter fe­lines if you see them as fiends and not friends:

One fel­low gar­dener reck­ons that the only way to stop neigh­bours’ cats wan­der­ing in is to have your own cat, prefer­ably a tom, as this gen­er­ally keeps other an­i­mals out of your gar­den.

Al­ter­na­tively, try to stop them get­ting in by block­ing gaps in your bound­ary with prickly plants or prun­ings such as holly. Fit wire or string 10 to 15cm above the top of fences to make it dif­fi­cult for cats to bal­ance on them.

Another so­lu­tion is the old game­keeper’s trick of plac­ing plas­tic bot­tles half­full of wa­ter in borders. The light re­flec­tion off the bot­tle is sup­posed to de­ter an­i­mals.

Sim­i­larly, un­wanted CDs can pro­vide a shin­ing light de­ter­rent when threaded on twine, with knots in be­tween to keep them apart. String these across flower beds or hang them from trees and the light re­flec­tion should de­ter cats – but maybe not for­ever.

Don’t leave ex­posed soil in borders. In­stead, mulch it with stone chip­pings or peb­bles, or keep the soil well- mulched wi th a mois­tur­ere­tain­ing ma­te­rial such as ma­nure as wet ground isn’t very at­trac­tive to cats. Also, in­vest in a good se­lec­tion of ground cover plants to de­ter cats from ven­tur­ing into your bor­der. Some gar­den­ers swear by putting a cou­ple of drops of Ol­bas oil onto used teabags and then scat­ter­ing them around the area that the cats have cho­sen to use as a lit­ter tray. If they’re scratch­ing your tree trunks, wrap tree guards or fine chicken wire around the base of them.

Try fit­ting a squir­rel baf­fle ( a down­ward open­ing cone or bis­cuit tin) to the posts of bird ta­bles to stop cats climb­ing up them.

If cats in your gar­den are scratch­ing up seedbeds, try putting a gal­vanised chicken- wire cage over the area and keep it in po­si­tion un­til the plants are of a rea­son­able size. Other re­pel­lents on the mar­ket in­clude sprays, pow­ders, chem­i­cal gran­ules and ul­tra­sonic de­vices, whose sen­sors de­tect move­ment and heat to trig­ger a burst of vari­able ul­tra­sound said to de­ter dogs, foxes and cats. But they may not give longterm pro­tec­tion.

What­ever method you choose, clear away any ev­i­dence of foul­ing first, as this acts as a mag­net for more cats and more foul­ing. And if all else fails, buy your­self a high­pow­ered wa­ter pis­tol to keep by the back door.

Fe­line fed up at pests? Here are tips to keep them off your patch

BED­DING IN...

Cats of­ten make them­selves at home

in other gar­dens

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