Keep cats out of your garden beds with orange peels, fences

INLAND EMPIRE – Cats make for wonderful pets, especially those that are content with life indoors, where they can spend hours lounging on a windowsill watching the world go by.

But some cats spend a significant amount of time outdoors, where they forage for food and take refuge in and around a neighborhood. Frequently, outdoor cats will return to the same place over and over again. If that place is your flower bed, you may grow aggravated by your uninvited guest.

Once a cat has found a place to call its own, it can be difficult to persuade the animal to move. Cats can be attracted to planting beds because the soil is soft underfoot and may seem like the ideal environment to turn into an outdoor litter box. However, over time cat urine and feces can leave behind an offensive odor and damage

plants.

Other cats also may be attracted to the garden, creating territory “wars” or even more odor and activity. But homeowners can employ a variety of techniques to keep felines from digging in the garden.

* Keep leftover citrus peels. Orange, lemon and lime peels scattered around the garden may be offensive to cats, who will likely opt to go elsewhere rather than ignore the odor. Over time, the peels can be removed or allowed to break down into a natural fertilizer.

* Employ technology to surprise or startle the cats. Motion detectors that trigger lights or a sprinkler system can startle cats and keep them away from your garden.

* Make the garden uncomfortable to cats. Many cats do not like the feeling hard materials under their paws. Therefore, you can bury any number of items in the soil to deter padded feet. Some gardeners prefer to use chicken wire or rolled mesh around plants before covering the soil with mulch. The cats step on the dirt and feel the metal underneath, then move on. Branches, brambles, spiky holly leaves, or even rocks may keep cats from finding the garden bed hospitable.

* Employ natural scented deterrents. Some say that cats will be repelled by human hair. Visit a salon and ask for hair clippings to distribute throughout the garden. Urine from predators, like coyotes, may scare cats off, as well. Some cats may not like the smell of marigolds, which can be planted alongside other flowers in an attempt to keep cats at bay.

* Erect barriers around the garden. Barriers can keep cats out of gardens. Erect a fence of lattice or metal to make it more difficult for cats to get inside the garden.

* Make other areas of your property more attractive to cats. Homeowners who don’t mind the presence of cats on their property but want them out of the garden can take the unusual step of making another area on the property more cat-friendly. Plant catnip far away from the garden, giving cats a place to hang out without putting your garden in jeopardy.

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