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Hello. Here's a tricky question for you ... I live in a terraced house with a small garden. We have flower bed - about 1/2 metre wide by 8 metres long where we have a few shrubs, herbs and flowers.
A year ago one of our immediate neighbours got three cats. Sadly these cats now use our flower bed as their toilet.
I have 2 children (aged 1 and 4) and until last year we grew vegetables in the flower bed - as a way of gardening with the children. I no longer can do it though as wherever we dig or plant, the cats poo.
Obviously this is quite upsetting, but the neighbour says she is unable to do anything about it - she does have cat litter trays but these are ex-strays so they much prefer gardens.
I really need to make the garden safe for my children and prevent the cats from pooing in the flower beds. The only way I can think of doing this is by planting something which provides complete ground cover on the flower beds.
I don't want to loose the shrubs e.g bay tree, and am looking for something that I can plant that will spread. Ideally it would be low level (so that the shrubs can remain), and would provide cover year round.
My plan is to plant then cover the whole area with a tight net to stop the cats digging while the plants grow - and hopefully take over.
I would be really grateful if anyone has any ideas on suitable plants. I really would like to enjoy the forthcoming summer with my children in the garden - with out having to watch their every move and stop them from smelling the flowers in the flower bed or looking at the ladybird and butterfly houses for fear that they'll touch or step in poo.
Thank you!



Hello happywellies, i can sympathise with you, cats can be a real problem sometimes, what about planting a few heathers that flower at different times of the year and create a carpet of colour, once established trim after flowering to stop them getting leggy by doing so you can get that lovely cushion effect, check your soil if you go for heathers if need be dig a lot of ericacious compost in and if you can get hold of any, then dig in old pine needles, or you could use some ground cover cotoneaster, or ceanothus, or hypericum rose of sharron, There used to be something you could buy to keep foxes and cats out of gardens, i think it was called Renodene.

9 Feb, 2011


"Renardine" is a fox repellent, but I've just read that it's been banned. I hear lion poo works well, but you may not want to replace one poo with another.
Cotoneaster horizontalis came to my mind as a spikey ground cover too. Ground cover roses could make the area a bit prettier.

There's a useful website here -
with some home remedies. I hope they work for you.

9 Feb, 2011


Periwinkle could do the trick... heathers will take a while to form a complete covering and would need to be cut back regularly. If you click on the 'G' below and then on 'Ground Cover Plants' you might get some ideas.

9 Feb, 2011


I have the same problem, and I end up putting flower pots or large rocks wherever there is a patch without a plant. You could also try sprinkling pepper dust, or garlic.

9 Feb, 2011


A few of my customers have cat problems and some cats actually poo on top of the heather foliage!

10 Feb, 2011


Make any bare soil areas spikey and uncomfortable with cocktail sticks or trimmings from rose bushes. My dad never threw rose trimmings away - he always had a place in the garden in mind for their positioning and even with cats living each side of us we soon stopped having any problems. :o)

10 Feb, 2011


Marigolds are unpleasant smelling for many pests, including cats. Put a border of them around the bed and it will both look nice and keep them from using your garden as a loo.

Eryngiums are both spiky and very attractive, you could also try planting thoses.

If this fails, they you could plant lillies, which are toxic to cats. That will not keep your neighbour happy, but then again she is not being very neighbourly by letting the cats pest you. The cats will then think twice about going near your garden again.

10 Feb, 2011


"she is not being very neighbourly by letting the cats pest you"
I do sympathise with the neighbour too here - there's not much that she can do.

Would a shallow arch of chicken wire over the flower bed with plants growing through it be possible?

10 Feb, 2011


One good ground cover plant you could try is Ajuga reptans . . the most common has purple/brown leaves, (more attractive than that sounds!) and there's another with multicoloured leaves. They are low-growing and have blue flowers. Your idea of covering with netting while they grow sounds a good one. Good luck.

10 Feb, 2011


Well, well, just answered this on the other site, Happywellies! I recommended Ajuga as one of them, as Sheila does above, but I did forget to say something - if the neighbour's cats are tom cats, they may well continue to poo there, but on top of your plants, as Anchorman mentions. It's very unusual for she cats to do this, but lazy old toms, specially un neutered ones, don't care...If that happens, the only recourse is lots of short sticks stuck upright into the soil.

10 Feb, 2011



10 Feb, 2011


Hee hee, I guess you're identifying with the lazy old tom cat then, Littlelegs, lol...

11 Feb, 2011


Thank you everyone for this. There are some really great ideas here. I really do appreciate all your help. It's my first time to join a gardening website and ask questions - so apologies for the double post. It's a great day today, so I'm off to investigate the plant suggestions and do a bit of gardening. I'll let you know how things progress!
Thank you - it's a great feeling to link up with gardeners who know their stuff.

12 Feb, 2011

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