Cats love the deep, deep soft soil in raised garden beds for lazing on or performing their organization, which may mean disaster for seedlings or nasty surprises for you when you tend your plants. If cats are ruining your raised beds, it is possible to lure them away, deter them, then use shock tactics or erect obstacles, or attempt a mix of methods. If the cats are feral, you may even call the county animal control department or charity for help. Cat feces may carry parasites and diseases, so always wear gloves when gardening in the event that you share your yard with a kitty.
If the cats that are spoiling your raised beds would be your own, or you just love cats, you may want to tempt them away with more enticing alternatives. Cats like raised beds because the soil is generally looser and warmer than the soil in the remainder of the garden, or the beds may be the only location where the soil is bare. An area of sand close the raised bed can create a more attractive outdoor litter tray. Dig a hole 2 feet square and 4 inches deep, and fill it up with sand used for children’s sand pits, which can be fine and loose. Scoop the poop and leading up the sand consistently to keep it new — cats will likely quit using the place if it will become cluttered and dirty. You may also tempt cats out of your own raised beds by growing catnip (Nepeta cataria) someplace in your garden. Cats like to sniff and roll in this perennial plant. Hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, catnip grows up to 3 feet tall and wide, and thrives in full sun and dry soil.
Cat deterrents for a raised garden bed include substances that are uneasy for cats to walk on or dig in, and plants they dislike. Coarse mulches, pine cones and other rough-textured substances discourage cats from walking in your own raised beds, and they can not dig in chicken wire. To fix pieces of chicken wire to the soil, use wire cut from old wire coathangers folded into a V shape. Sharper substances, like thorny stems, also deter cats but aren’t a great idea because they can injure people and cats. Sensors that cats dislike include rue (Ruta graveolens), a perennial herb. Growing 2-3 feet tall and wide, rue takes up a lot of space to grow in raised beds, but also you can grow a plant elsewhere in the garden and also sprinkle leaves from the plant above your beds. Rue grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Cat Shock Tactics
Homemade and commercial apparatus can frighten cats sufficient to keep them away from raised beds for the long term. A fast blast from a garden hose or water pistol whenever a cat jumps onto a raised bed may shock it sufficient to remember and avoid the bed next time. A commercial version of the water shock approach is a movement sensor sprinkler, which sprays water when the cat activates it. Place these on your own raised bed so it goes off when the cat jumps up. Another commercial apparatus for scaring cats is a sonic deterrentthat emits a sound that cats may hear but people can not. All these also go off in reaction to movement and needs to be placed on or near the raised beds.
Low-voltage electric wire around raised beds is an effective method to keep cats out. You can build a simple electric wire circuit with 22-gauge galvanized utility wire or polywire strands or ribbons and brief fiberglass rods. Push the rods into the raised bed soil, and adjust two lines of wire at heights of 4 and 9 inches. Farm supply stores and catalogs sell fence chargers, and some are powered by batteries. Don’t forget to turn the system off before tending to your raised bed. After having a few shocks, cats usually learn how to avoid the area and the system could be turned off.