Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests

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Neighbourhood cats can be a joy to stop and pet in the street, but they can quickly turn into a nuisance if they make your garden their new litter tray. Luckily, if you want to keep cats at bay without causing harm to them, other local wildlife or your beloved plants, there are some natural methods you can employ.

Though cats are a much-loved pet, they can actually cause some harm to your garden over time.

Experts from the David Suzuki Foundation said: “Neighbourhood kitties digging in your garden can be a nuisance.”

According to the experts, cats can pose a problem for several reasons.

They explained: “Cats are carnivores. Their faeces can contain parasites or pathogens not present in herbivore manure.

“This is concerning because most of us plan to eat the food we grow.

“Roaming domestic cats kill songbirds and about 140 million birds and small animals each year.

“And if you’re doing it right, your yard and garden are designed to attract pollinators, like hummingbirds, as well as other wild birds.

“Roaming cats can also strain neighbourhood relations.”

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Natural methods to keep cats out of your garden

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, gardeners can “use scent to keep the cats away.”

These include rue, lavender and pennyroyal, Coleus canina and lemon thyme, all of which cats dislike the smell of.

The experts said: “Plant a few of these throughout the garden.”

As an added bonus, interplanting can attract pollinators and other beneficial insects too.

Likewise, cats will steer clear of strong citrus scents, so throwing a few orange or lemon peels onto the garden soil could help.

Alternatively, sprinkling brewed coffee grounds onto the soil might also deter kitties.

Rather bizarrely, The David Suzuki Foundation also notes that the “scent of human hair is said to deter cats”.

Gardeners can have a go at reclaiming their territory by emptying combs or hairbrushes onto the soil. The hair will naturally decompose over time and work as a form of compost.

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