I inherited my love of gardening from my mother. As a kid, we would spend hours in her beautiful garden tending to her plants. She had and she still has what one would call ‘green fingers’.
Everything she planted grew and blossomed amazingly.
For me, not so much.
I have my own garden now that I’m proud of. As much as I enjoy being surrounded by greenery, seeing cat poop in my plant pops isn’t a sight for sore eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cats and even have a few of my own. But it ain’t fun having to smell cat poop while gardening plus the health impact of having cat poop as fertilizers for the plants we consume.
The best measures to stop cats from popping in your plant pots are to use deterrents that can help repel cats. Keeping your plants in a secured enclosure can also help to keep cats away. Do make it a point to use methods that are cat-safe to prevent harming the cats.
How To Keep Cats Out Of Potted Plants?
In this article, we will be discussing in-depth the effective methods that you can use to keep cats from pooping in your garden or house plants.
We aim to keep these methods cat-safe so as to not unnecessarily harm any neighborhood cats visiting our gardens.
Use A Homemade Cat Repellent Spray
Cats have an amazing sense of smell and can detect odors in the air far more easily than humans. We can use this to our advantage by using a repellent spray that can deter cats from going near our potted plants.
I would strongly recommend using normal white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. It works well and it isn’t toxic to cats. Plus vinegar works great in removing cat poo and pee smell from your carpet too.
Just mix one part vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle and spray this mixture near the potted plants.
One sniff and it will stop cats from going near your house plants.
I would advise against using any essential oils as many essential oils are toxic to cats. Cats don’t even have to ingest it to be harmed. Just smelling essential oils can cause a toxic build-up in their system.
If you don’t wish to make your own cat repellant spray, you can just a bottle from the pet store that serves the same purpose.
These are usually pet-friendly and biodegradable.
Fence Up Your Potted Plants
Another method that can deter cats from pooping in your house plants is to fence them up. A cheap option is to buy some plastic chicken wire from your local hardware store.
Why I suggest plastic chicken wire instead of the usual metal version is due to safety, for both you and your cat.
Working with chicken wire can be hazardous due to the sharp edges. If you are not careful, you can end up piercing and cutting yourself.
The same goes for roaming cats near the wire that can end up poking themselves in the eye or body.
Use the plastic chicken wire to wrap around the potted plants to form a little cage and secure it with cable ties.
Make The Soil Uncomfortable To Walk On
Just like their noses, cats have very sensitive paws that can help them hunt and escape from danger.
With having sensitive paws, cats tend to avoid walking on surfaces that feel uncomfortable to their paw pads.
By putting small stones or pine cones on top of the soil of the potted plants, the cat wouldn’t like walking on it as it hurts its paws.
Furthermore, cats instinctively bury their waste to avoid detection by predators. And the small stones make it harder to do so.
Not only do these small stones help to keep cats away from your potted plants but they also help to regulate the soil temperature and retain moisture.
Use An Electric Deterrent Device
One downside to using a spray repellent is that it needs to be refreshed daily or every few hours. Otherwise, it won’t be as effective once the scent starts to wear off.
Another method that doesn’t require too much manual intervention is to use an electronic deterrent device.
This usually comes as a motion sensor device that emits compressed air or a loud noise when it detects nearby movement.
It can work well if you have a few potted plants but for people with bigger gardens, the cost can add up as you need quite a few of these devices.
Get those that can cover a large area and strategically place them around your potted plants.
Cover The Surface Of Your Soil
A more foolproof way of preventing cats from pooping on your potted plants is to deny them access to the soil.
You can do this by covering your potted plants with a piece of cardboard, foam or plastic. Just make an opening in the middle for the plant to pass through. Or you can cut the material in half and rejoin them just above the soil.
Tape down the edges of the cover to the pot to make it secure so that the cat can’t remove it.
Although this method works great it isn’t ideal as a long term deterrent as it prevents air, sunlight from reaching the soil.
Plus it also makes watering your plants a real hassle.
Using Citrus Peels And Ground Pepper
All cats hate the smell of anything citrus like lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime. Even some spices like paprika and ground pepper can work well to deter cats from pooping on your plants.
One strong word of caution when using any citrusy or spicy is that it can be toxic to cats when ingested or inhaled.
I would only recommend using this method if the above tips didn’t stop the cat from using your garden as a giant litter box.
Don’t just leave citrus peels and ground pepper lying out in the open. Put them in porous mesh bags that can help disperse the scent but prevent any cat from eating it.
The majority of cats will not go near these bags once they catch a whiff of them. So just places a couple around your plants to stop cats from pooping on them.
Using this method can also be an effective way of keeping moles away from your garden. It can be a problem if your cat enjoys catching them.
Is Cat Poop Bad For Plants?
You might be thinking that if farmers use horse and cow manure to fertilize their crops, shouldn’t I be inviting cats to poop on my potted plants for better growth.
Not all animal poops are made alike unfortunately.
A cat’s poop has twice the amount of nitrogen in its poo as compared to cow manure. Although nitrogen is essential for healthy plant growth, too much of it can cause dehydration in plants that make them wilt and die.
Once the cat poop has contaminated your soil, you will have to remove the topsoil otherwise your plants won’t be able to grow well.
The topsoil is the most important layer of soil for plants as it contains all the important nutrients for plants to survive.
Having to remove this layer from your potted plants can hinder its growth.
Is Cat Poop Bad For Humans?
Many cat owners can attest to the fact that cats’ poo and pee don’t smell like a bed of roses. Bad smell aside, cat’s poo can also be potentially harmful to some individuals.
A cat’s poo can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can be passed on to humans like toxoplasmosis if not properly handled.
Some cats can carry the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. They get it from eating small mammals or birds that are already infected.
This parasite can cause miscarriages in pregnant women and other illnesses in people with a weakened immune system.
This is why pregnant women should not be cleaning or going near a cat’s litter box due to the high risk of infection.
Besides Toxoplasma gondii, some cats can also carry parasites like hookworms and roundworms that can contaminate the soil.
How To Remove Cat Poop From Your Plants?
The proper and safe way to remove any cat poop from your garden is to use a pair of gloves and a face mask.
Scoop the poop into a plastic bag, tie it up and throw it up in the bin.
Any edible plants or produce that have come into contact with cat poop should be thrown away and not eaten to prevent any risk of contamination.
Better to be safe than sorry.
If it is cat pee that has gotten on your plants, make sure to rinse it off properly to prevent any damage.
Furthermore, the longer cat pee is allowed to stay, the smellier it gets. This is due to the thick concentration of the pee and felinine.
Why Is My Cat Suddenly Popping In My Plants?
If your cat has started to treat your garden as its giant litter box, it could signal that something has caused a change in its litter box habits.
Here are some triggers that could have caused this.
Dirty Litter Box
Cats are clean creatures and a cat hates it when its litter box is dirty. How often do you clean out your cat’s litter box?
On average, cat owners need to scoop out their cat’s waste at least once a day. It might have to be more if your cat pees and poos more than average.
Don’t expect your cat to use a dirty toilet when it needs to go. Your potted plants would make a better option.
Change In Litter Box Type And Cat Litter
Unlike dogs that do most of their elimination outside, domesticated indoor cats are affected by the type of litter box and cat litter.
Cats are creatures of habits and aren’t fond of change. If you have recently changed your cat’s litter box or cat litter to another type, expect some resistance to this change.
You need to give your cat time to get used to its new toilet. Make the change gradual to prevent your cat from outright rejecting it.
Not Enough Litter Boxes At Home
If you have recently brought home another cat, it is time to increase the litter box count. Cats are territorial creatures and don’t like to share litter boxes.
You might get away with two cats sharing the same litter tray but not with three cats. It would be best for each cat to have its own separate litter box in its own private corner.
This will discourage any of your kitties from using your potted plants as their toilet instead.
As a cat owner and plant lover, it can be a frustrating experience to be clearing cat poop from my potted plants.
But I understand that cats just do what comes instinctively to them.
The above methods have helped keep my garden and potted plants cat poop free for some time now. And I’m sure they will work for you too.