Keep cats miaow-t
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
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in other gardens