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Cat Repellent - Unwanted visitors
How to deter cats

Coleus canina
Pee-Off Scaredy Cat
Cat Repellent Plant
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Unwelcome visitors: cats | foxes | frogs | moles   Weeds: clearing a neglected areageneral weeding
 

Other peoples cats that is. Apparently (I've never tried it - not being a cat lover) the best way to deter cats is to get a cat of your own. That way it makes the garden its territory and other neighbourhood cats don't get a look in. On the same lines, a dog is a fairly good way of deterring cats, my Cairn Terrier is most effective at keeping next doors burgeoning menagerie at bay.

Presumably if either of these were an option though you wouldn't be here looking at these pages for how to deter cats.

The main reason to deter cats is that they dig holes in nice soft bare earth in order to deposit their unpleasant little packages. The nice soft earth that they like best of all is a newly prepared seed bed and what is more insulting than a cat coming and s******g in it when you've done? Especially as you then need to go and make amends, not knowing quite when you'll find the prize in the bran-tub. Tom cats also have a tendency to "spray" - their urine - in order to scent mark the edges of their territory, most unpleasant if one of their marking posts is just outside your door or barbeque area.

The easiest way of deterring cats in these circumstances is to keep the soil covered with plants or whatever. Gravel may or may not work, some-one I knew moved into a new house that had a gravel patch beside the front door under the porch (the builders obviously couldn't be bothered to cut any paving slabs to fit) and a local cat decided that this was the ideal toilet facility - most unpleasant.

Temporarily unoccupied spots can be 'filled' by pushing prunings particularly of roses or other spiky plants into the soil. Keep twiggy sticks and push them in at an angle to spread over the soil to protect new sowings and plantings. Don't get too enthusiastic though, a few years ago I cut a load of rose prunings into about 2" pieces scattered around a newly dug bed. Kept the cats off a treat it did, over a year later they were still there and I had some very unpleasant weeding experiences - make sure they're easy enough to remove later on.


Coleus canina - Pee-Off - Scaredy Cat - Cat Repellent Plant

Coleus canina. Pee OffPee Off - No not you gentle reader, but the plant - or the cats. Someone emailed me a few of years ago asking where to get hold of this plant, at the time I'd never heard of it let alone knew where to buy it.

It's now available in the UK exclusively from Thompson and Morgan as small pot plants to grow on. The marketing material goes like this:

"Experiments with over 300 plants have now produced the ultimate deterrent. Cats, dogs and even foxes will avoid the Pee-off plant as its affectionately known. Coleus canina has excellent foliage and small, attractive spikes of blue flowers in the summer, and releases a stench that cats cant stand. Thankfully it only smells to the human nose when touched! Could this be the solution to your feline intruder problems youve been longing for? Annual, but can easily be propagated and cuttings kept in a frost-free place over winter. Plants need to be established before the smell is released, be in drier rather than wet soil and planted every 1-2 metres. Supplied as cell-raised plants."

Best planted in containers (and regarded as functional rather than hugely ornamental - it does provide good vivid greenery as a foil to other plants though), that way they'll grow quicker to an effective size and you'll be able to move them around and experiment with the best place to put them. I found out recently that over 9 million plants were sold across Europe in the first two years of it being available!

Repels cats, dogs, foxes and rabbits

I have grown coleus canina for several years on the corners of the front of my property, tucked into a perennial bed near the roses.  I bought it as "Dog be gone," and it is also sold as "Bunny be gone," so must work on rodents.

Because the leaves are fleshy, like a succulent, it takes rather arid conditions and can live in full sun, unlike any coleus I've seen. (I live in Southern California, USA and we get summer weather of over 100 degrees F for up to a week at a time)

It spreads somewhat freely but not with long runners like my favorite pest plant, common mint.  Spreading does not occur until it is established.  I end up trimming back the edges, like a stand of dusty miller, to keep it within the three foot circles I have given it. I've lost it twice, due to garden makeovers, but it comes back very easily from cuttings.

Dogs cannot stand it, and "snufft" when they put their nose in.  It smells much stronger  than marigolds when bruised. It should be put somewhere that won't receive constant touching by legs or feet passing by.

Because the leaves are not variegated, just medium green, the four-inch long, 3/4 in wide, fleshy bright purple flowers, which are very unusual, are attractive in a Mars landscape sort of way.  They are unlike other coleus I've seen.  I get good comments from passersby every year, as though I made them unusual and not God. Because of their blooms I keep them, but because of their smell they definitely should not be something one would put at the back door!

Christine Gille

About the coleus canina: IT WORKS!!!  I tried it, and in a few days, no more cats and dogs around my patio!

Claude, Quebec


Buy Coleus canina

Cat Repellents - Traditional Methods

There are many tried and tested methods to get rid of cats, most of which work for a short time, but tend to rely on some kind of chemical smell so they need regular topping up.

  • The Cat's Protection League recommend diluted surgical spirit spread over the offending region. Be careful not to get it on any plants though and it'll be easily washed away by rain. Works well on wooden fences as it soaks in to some degree and so is longer lasting. I've never tried, but maybe soaking rough wooden sticks in it and then pushing them into the soil would work in a similar way.
  • Moth balls - more weather resistant
  • A tautly strung wire or string fitted 10-15 cm above the top of a fence used by cats makes it difficult for them to balance.
  • Olbas oil on teabags
  • Plastic bottles half filled with water - I include this for academic reference only, don't waste your time...
  • Grated coal tar soap
  • Citrus smells are particularly disliked by cats, soak peel in water and spray it around.
  • Renardine, chemical repellent  Six pests banished by one repellent. Unique MAFF approved repellent, which keeps unwanted cats, dogs, rabbits, foxes, moles and badgers away from gardens, small holdings etc. Used as directed, renardine is safe and harmless and has been in continuous use since 1896.

Other proprietary chemical cat repellents

  • Mushroom compost - used as a mulch, don't get too carried away though as it tends to be fairly alkaline, so continually adding it year after year could restrict the plants you can grow.

Hi Tech Cat Repellents

Ultrasonic and motion sensor devices that make a noise inaudible to humans or spray water when something moves into the range of the device - very effective so I've heard.

Pest-Stop Outdoor Pest Repeller - £39.99

A pest repeller that is designed to keep your garden clear of unwanted visitors, such as rats, cats, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, badgers and deer. There are three different settings so you can set it to the sound frequency you want. The high frequency setting is used to repel rats but is also effective against squirrels and cats, medium frequency for cats and small dogs, and low frequency for larger dogs, foxes, badgers and deer.

The repeller comes with a wall/fence mounting adapter and rod adapter for placing it on a pole. It is battery operated (4 x D Cell batteries), with option to run it off a 12c AC/DC adapter. Coverage approx 70ft x 50ft in a fan shape from the unit.

 

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