Five humane deterrents to stop cats pooing in your garden

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For some, cats are doted-on furry friends, even part of the family, but many households will have experienced neighbour’s cats using their garden as their toilet. All cats are legally protected from harm by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and their Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents. Dealing with neighbourhood cats comes down to a combination of humane deterrents and tolerance. Here are five effective ways to stop cats pooing in your garden. 

Odour repellent 

Cats are incredibly sensitive to strong scents, and they can easily be used to deter them from entering your garden. 

Lavender or peppermint are two fragrances that felines dislike, so mix a few drops of essential oils with water and spray around the garden. 

Whilst this is a short-term solution, it is effective and causes no harm to the animal. 

If you’d rather not spray the solution, use tea bags instead – simply place them amongst flower beds. 


Cats do not like the smell of bananas, so try chopping them up and scattering them around your garden – especially in flower beds that they like to frequent – and hopefully, it will stop the felines from defecating the plants.

Like bananas, cats also dislike citrus smells so keep orange, lemon and lime peels and chop them up and place them around the garden. suggests “leaving orange peel among flowers” and “for cats who have come across this pungent smell before, it is likely that they will have an even stronger reaction to citrus smells than normal”. 

Also, try squeezing the fruit into water and spraying it around the garden. 

This deterrent is said to be effective; Mags O Connor Bailey posted in the Mrs Hinch Cleaning tips Facebook Group: “Orange peel diced up and put on grass only thing that worked for me, just don’t work if it’s raining, hope it helps.”

Alison Whiteman agreed: “Whenever you eat an orange or satsuma chop up the peel and sprinkle it on the flower bed it will naturally disintegrate in the soil the cats won’t go there because the citrus oil in the peel gets up their nose so they won’t touch it.”

Caz Taylor added: “I’m going through this at the moment. I’m using cut-up lemons all around my garden and fingers crossed no cat poop for two days so far.” 


For gardeners who pride themselves on a tidy space, this may not be the best option, but twigs are a simple solution to keep cats at bay as they won’t walk on them. 

Gardeners’ World explained how “cats prefer to walk on soft soil and will avoid prickly surfaces. They’re also more likely to defecate in soft soil or compost” so try making beds and borders less attractive.

Eggshells, holly cuttings, pine cones or laying down chicken wire also have a similar effect, as do driving sticks or skewers into the ground. 

Note: eggshells can attract rats. 

Plant pots can be mulched with a thick layer of gravel too. 

Sprinklers and detectors 

Perhaps more costly, but motion-activated sprinklers are an effective solution. 

Cats strongly dislike getting wet and if they are sprayed with water every time they enter a garden they will soon stop doing so. 

Alternatively, install sound motion detectors; these work by emitting a high-frequency sound when movement is detected, which usually is unable to be heard by humans.

Place these at entry points to the garden and cats will quickly learn not to enter. 

Outdoor litter tray 

If it’s your own cat who is pooing in your flowerbeds, consider purchasing a litter try for outside, and try and train the cat to use it. 

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