- 21 Jan 2008
In my experience any ground or crushed material with a peppery or chili component deters cats. When neighbours' cats have become too frequent users of my garden as a toilet - and I've had the delightful experience of finding they've defecated on longish lawn grass, on short lawn grass, on clumps of stipa, on slate chippings and - repeatedly - in a large pot unwisely left unplanted this year - I go for the nuclear option of a catering-size bag of chili flakes or powder, or sometimes some out-of-date curry powder or similar. All seem effective, although sometimes wispy and short-lived chili seedlings germinate here and there, but such substances will of course eventually be washed away or degrade. Other than that, robust action against any trespassers actually caught in the garden - flinging some water accompanied by as loud a cat-unfriendly hiss as you can muster - makes them more wary. The best device I've tried is an automatic water spray, though these are fiddly and prone to malfunction despite the actual components being a simple pir detector controlling a solenoid valve, and, for what they are, expensive.
But, like the weather, it gives us something to talk about doesn't it? What I find really incomprehensible though is the fact that we do no more than moan politely in forums such as this: cat s*** is really unpleasant and harbours some very nasty pathogens that cause extremely nasty diseases, and we should, as gardeners, be collectively much more vocal about our unwillingness to be exposed to this stuff just because next-door takes the view that what Tyson does on somebody else's lawn, border, plants or pots is no concern of theirs. Maybe it's time for direct action: the returning of the c*** we collect from the gardens we tend with our hands and walk on in our bare feet to the owners of neighbouring cats, rather than the resigned depositing of same into the wheelie bin in a knotted Tesco's bag. Are we even allowed to put this in the wheelie bin?