You’ve just finished planting a beautiful new flowerbed in your garden, but as you sit back to relax with a cuppa… you spot your neighbour’s cat digging up your roses to go to the toilet. You don’t need to build a fortress to protect your plants, there are lots of cat-kind and humane ways to deter moggies from your garden.

However frustrating you find trespassing cats, it’s important to know the law before you dash to the shop and purchase a deterrent. By law, cats have the right to roam, which means they are legally allowed to wander into your garden. Cats are also protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, so causing harm to a cat using any homemade or shop-bought deterrent could be deemed an offence and leave you with a big fine or even a prison sentence.

Some deterrents may be more successful than others, all cats are individuals so what works for one may not work for another. You may need to test out a variety of cat-friendly deterrents and see what works best, or even try using a combination of a few different things. Cats Protection have put together a list of natural and humane ways to keep curious moggies out of your garden:

How to stop cats pooing in your garden

Get planting

Bushes and shrubs are a great natural way to deter cats from your flowerbeds. By planting them close together, you’ll remove the space a cat has to dig and move around in, so they’ll be less interested in your garden and move on to somewhere with more room.

Trade poo for…poo!

Yes really! Try spreading Soil Association approved chicken and manure pellets around your flowerbeds to help to keep cats away.

Use strong smells

Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, so anything that has a strong scent is likely to send them away. Things like lavender and citrus smells are really unappealing to cats, so try adding orange or lemon peels to your flowerbeds or try planting some lavender.

More like this

Keep food away

It goes without saying, if you don’t like cats being in your garden then don’t leave food out for them. Cats are opportunistic eaters, so if they know you have food in your garden, they are going to keep coming back in the hopes of finding more. Make sure any bird food you put out is kept off the ground and placed somewhere hard for a cat to reach, and don’t feed any cats you don’t want coming back.

Crush up eggshells

Cats love freshly turned over soil, for them it makes the ideal toilet. Try making this soil less appealing by putting crushed up eggshells around your plants. Not only will the shells naturally compost, but they are generally great for keeping other garden pests away from your plants too!

Create a rocky area

Cats will naturally stay away from pebbly or rocky areas, so try placing stones between your plants to discourage them.

Make an obstacle course

Create a natural barrier for cats by scattering branches and twigs between plants. Cats much prefer soft, fresh soil so a littered area won’t appeal to them. You can also try putting a mesh barrier around your plants as an extra deterrent.

Build a cat safe area

If you don’t mind cats being in your garden, you just really want to stop them from destroying your flowerbeds, try creating a cat safe space. This will encourage them to poop in the safe space instead of in your flowers. You can do this by creating a small latrine area within your garden that multiple cats can use. Use a suitable substrate such as woodchip, sand or loose earth and make sure the area has a bit of privacy (i.e. hidden behind a few shrubs). If you want cats to keep using this area, you’ll need to make sure the area is kept clean and poo-picked regularly.

And finally, remember to think about animal welfare when purchasing anything to deter cats from your garden. Just because something is available to buy, doesn’t mean it is animal friendly. If you’re not sure what to get, try chatting to a vet or get in touch with your local Cats Protection centre and ask for some advice.

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity - to find more tips from the charity about humane ways of keeping cats out of your garden, visit

Image credit: Getty images


Cats Protection is the UK's largest cat welfare charity and have experts in all aspects of feline welfare. They help around 200,000 cats and kittens every year thanks in no small part to their network of over 230 volunteer-run branches and over 30 centres.