Cats in the Garden: The Controversy Continues

In my nearly 10 years with Horticulture magazine, the most controversial topic we’ve come up against has been: cats in the garden, yay or nay? (You can share your opinion on our Facebook now, and give a LIKE while you’re there. See if you’re in the minority or the majority!)

The topic of whether to allow cats to roam freely in the garden is one the most controversial we’ve found. This guy seems to want to stay unnoticed.

Years ago we ran a feature that contained images of the owner’s cats freely roaming about the garden, and we didn’t even address the fact that the felines were present, but boy, oh, boy did we get mail! Angry letters flooded our office asking how we could promote the idea of allowing cats in the flowers beds. Didn’t we know cats use the dirt as their litter box and that their feces can contain parasites and pathogens not present in herbivore manure?! Didn’t we know that cats kill birds?!

So what say you? Yes to allowing our furry friends to roam freely in the garden, or no, period? If you’re a member of the ’no way’ camp, here are five green ways to keep cats out of your garden:

5 Green Ways to Keep Cats Out of the Garden

1 Interplant fragrant selections like rue, lavender, pennyroyal and lemon thyme (bonus for this option because the plants will attract pollinators and deter other pests as well)

Lemon thyme – cats dislike it’s aroma and it will keep them away from the flower bed

2 Put the hair from your hairbrushes in the garden since the scent from human hair deters cats

3 Wash down the cat’s favorite urinating spot (they tend to use the same place)

4 Make the beds uncomfortable to the cat’s paws by placing prickly twigs, pinecones or other coarse materials

5 Give the cats a tiny corner to call their own where you grow the plants they love like mint and catnip. You could even put a tiny sandbox close to this area for them; you’d still have to scoop it but if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

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Some gardeners welcome felines while others are strongly opposed. This furry fella looks at home in the bed!

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