Cat Poop In The Garden: What To Do To Stop It?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:55 pm

Cat droppings in the garden at home are a stinking nuisance. In this article you will learn what you can do against the droppings of the four-legged friends and which “tips” you should better keep your hands off.

Was it really the cat?

But before you accuse the neighbor’s cat and start all kinds of unsuccessful measures against the alleged cat droppings, you should first check what kind of droppings it actually is. The droppings of hedgehogs or martens look quite similar to those of a cat, so that confusion can quickly arise. So you can distinguish the excrements of the animals:

  • Marten droppings are often slightly spirally twisted
  • Martens defecate directly on the ground
  • Cats bury their droppings (but not always!)
  • Marten droppings may contain remains of vegetable food (e.g. fruits)

Cat Poop In The Garden: What To Do To Stop It?

Cats do not eat fruits, therefore they do not eat plant remains either
The droppings of a hedgehog, on the other hand, are often not collected in one place, but can be spread over a long distance. The cute animals defecate while running and therefore deposit their droppings gradually over a certain distance.

Note: But no matter whose excrement it is: Animal excrement – even that of a domestic cat – is dangerous. If you come into contact with it, for example when digging up the bed, pathogens or worm eggs can be transmitted. For this reason alone, it makes sense to put a stop to the feline activity. Wash your hands thoroughly immediately after contact!

This helps against cat droppings in the garden

Many people believe that cats do not defecate in their own garden. This is not quite true, as many cat owners will confirm. If the four-legged friend finds a suitable place, he naturally makes do with the beds of his owner. However, straight female cats mark their district by setting down the excrement, which is why then gladly also the neighbor’s garden must believe in it. But this is dangerous, because where a free-roaming cat marks her territory, imitators are soon found. So often not only one cat defecates in your garden, but at least two – or even more.

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Quite apart from that, the defecating cat should not be allowed to assume that a foreign garden “belongs” to it. Animals prefer to defecate in the same places over and over again, so you can only get rid of the problem if you tackle it specifically. This includes always disposing of the cat feces you find. By taking appropriate measures, you can also keep the stray four-legged friends from continuing to abuse your flower beds and borders as a toilet.

Tip: Talk to your neighbors and politely ask them to please offer the cat a toilet in their own garden. This can consist of a sandbox planted with catnip, which is easy to clean. If the cat does its business there, your garden is safe.

plant thorn hedge

Cats are virtually unstoppable, scaling every wall and fence. But with a tall thorn hedge, you can keep the four-legged friends and thus the cat droppings out of your garden. In addition, barberries or hawthorns make very good privacy screens and also provide both food and hiding places for insects and birds. Just make sure that there are no gaps in the hedge – a close-meshed wire mesh fence installed in front of or behind it will prevent them from getting through.

cover beds and borders

Cat droppings are mostly found in soft, dry soil or sand, which is why the finely worked soil in vegetable beds and flower borders is particularly appealing to the four-legged friends as a toilet. The best way to prevent defecation in these places is to make them as unattractive as possible for the four-legged friends or to deny them access. A good option is to cover beds and borders with various materials. Suitable are especially:

  • larger pebbles, e.g. in stone beds
  • a bed cover by means of a wire mesh fence stretched over a wooden framework
  • mulching the bed with rose cuttings or other thorny cuttings
  • coffee, for example, mulching with dried coffee grounds.
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The latter is especially good for plants with a preference for acidic soil, as coffee acidifies the soil. Rhododendrons, azaleas, blueberries or ferns feel comfortable on such a substrate.

these plants do not like cats

Cats also have a fine nose and stay away from beds with plants that smell bad to them. Therefore, surround your vegetable beds with a low hedge of these plants or plant them at regular intervals in the ornamental bed. These species are particularly unpopular with the four-legged friends:

  • Piss off plant or harp shrub (Plectranthus caninus)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Peppermint and other mints (Mentha × piperita)
  • Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)

The “piss off” plant in particular is very unpopular with many cats, though not all. Some cats are not bothered by the smell, which by the way is also true for other cat repellents – in the end you just have to try out what works well with your particular specimen and what rather does not. By the way, freshly cut grass is often recommended as a repellent. However, there are many cats that are magically attracted to this very scent. Therefore, you should better refrain from this idea, even though lawn clippings are excellent for mulching vegetable beds.

Note: Conversely, there are some plants whose scent is irresistible to cats. So if you want to avoid cat droppings in the garden, you should especially avoid catnip (Nepeta cataria), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), speedwell (Veronica officinalis), gamander (Teucrium) and Amur ray-grass (Actinidia kolomikta).

home remedies for cat repellent

Other household or medicine cabinet scents also help to repel cats from the garden. Suitable for this purpose are, for example:

  • Coffee
  • essential oils, especially with menthol or citrus scent
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • chili
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Gartenknoblauch, Allium sativum

Once you have discovered the cat’s favorite places to defecate, prepare the spots with the selected means:

  • apply dried coffee grounds
  • spray the ground with apple cider vinegar
  • or an essential oil
  • chop garlic and spread it on the soil
  • sprinkle pepper or chili powder on the soil.

However, all these means have one drawback: they do not last very long, so they need to be renewed regularly. Therefore, it is better to give preference to the measures described above and use the scent effect only for further deterrence. Furthermore, a well-aimed splash from a water hose or water gun will drive most cats away.

Note: No matter how much the cat droppings in the garden annoy you, you may scare away the culprits, but do not injure or even kill them.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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