How to Stop Cats from Pooping in the Garden

We all know the drill. You pour your heart and soul into your garden, only to wake up and find your flower beds have turned into a cat’s personal restroom. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s no fun. But, how do you stop cats from pooping in the garden?

Fortunately, I’ve put together this extensive guide on dealing with trespassing cats in your garden. You can finally stop cats in your garden!

I’ll start by helping you to identify cat poop. It’s important to confirm you are actually dealing with a cat first and foremost. I’ll then show you what to do once you’ve found it. Then I’ll delve deep into cat deterrents for gardens.

So grab yourself a cuppa, get comfortable and start learning how to deal with those pesky feline trespassers:

How to Identify Cat Poop in the Garden

Before you consider ways to stop cats pooping in your garden, you must be sure that the animal you’re dealing with is a cat. It could be a cat, but it could also be a fox, deer, squirrel or badger.

Have You Seen a Cat?

The first step in identifying whether or not it is cat poop is to determine whether or not you’ve seen a cat in your garden. Obvious, I know!

Cats will make themselves known. They’ll appear during the day patrolling your lawn and flower beds. They’re not shy. They won’t sneak around hidden from your sight. If a cat is trespassing in your garden, then you’ll know it!

Cat Trespassing in the Garden

If you haven’t seen a cat then, chances are, you’re not dealing with a cat and you might need to consider what other animals could be accessing your garden.

What Does Cat Poop Look Like?

In my experience, cat poop is usually a rich, deep brown, kinda like an overcooked brownie (not to put you off brownies, or anything!). Texture-wise, it’s harder than dog poop, but it won’t break your shovel.

It’s like play-dough if I’m being honest.

Now this play-dough consistency is what really gets us gardeners! When you crush it, it gets all sticky, just like gum on hot pavements. And if it gets on your clothes or skin, it’s a real pain to clean off. I’ve been there!

You often don’t need to look at cat poop to spot it. Cat poop’s not exactly pleasant on the nostrils.

If you’re still not sure what to look for then I’ve gone to the effort of writing a dedicated guide on how to identify cat poop.

What Does Cat Poop Look Like

How to Deal With Cat Poop in the Garden

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to stop cats from pooping in the garden in the first place, we need to tackle how to handle the surprise presents they have already left behind.

Gear Up with Gloves

Invest in a pair of sturdy, quality gardening gloves. Make these your dedicated poop patrol gloves to keep those nasty cat poop diseases, like Toxoplasma Gondii, at bay.

Are you on daily poop-scooping duty? Then, grab a box of disposable rubber gloves. Use them then toss them out along with the poop.

Dedicate Tools for the Task

Just like the gloves, make sure you have a set of tools that are only for poop duty. You don’t want to scoop poop one minute and then harvest your veggies with the same tool. Yuck!

Get a cheap trowel to be your poop scoop. Label it so everyone knows its purpose.

Dig Out the Dirt

If the cat has been kind enough to bury their business, dig out the poop and a bit of the surrounding soil, about an inch around.

This is because the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite can survive up to 18 months in the soil. So, even if the poop’s gone, the soil could still be contaminated.

Don’t Forget to Wash Up

Sounds obvious, but always wash your hands after dealing with any kind of animal poop. Even if you’ve got gloves on and used a trowel, it’s not worth the risk.

Even if you have a trowel you use solely for dealing with cats and the mess they leave behind, I would also still advice cleaning this too.

How to Stop Cats from Pooping in the Garden

Now that you’re a pro at handling cat poop, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle the real issue.

So, what is the ultimate secret to stop cats from pooping in your garden? It’s simple – keep them out of your garden in the first place and you won’t have to deal with cat poop!

Here are the ways I have tried and have (sometimes) successfully deterred cats from my garden:

Use an Ultrasonic Cat Scarer

This is probably the go-to method when it comes to trying to stop cats pooping in your garden. As soon as most people spot a cat trespassing on their property, they head out to their local DIY store or jump onto Amazon and pick up an ultrasonic cat scarer.

But, Do Ultrasonic Cat Repellers Work?

According to the marketing material of most reasonably priced cat scares, you are able to protect an area of around 100 sqm using one device. The idea is that they play a high-pitched tone that’s an irritant to cats, and humans cannot hear that.

The problem, however, is that like humans, not all cats are created equally.

Some have greater hearing sensitivity than other cats. It’s also why in some cases, humans can hear these ultrasonic pest scarers.

According to a study conducted on the efficacy of an ultrasonic cat deterrent called Catwatch, using 63 and 96 volunteer observers in 2 long-running blind experiments, the results showed that the ultrasonic cat deterrent was effective in reducing the number of cats in the area.

However, few ultrasonic cat repellers have been independently tested for efficacy.

So, Should You Use an Ultrasonic Cat Repeller?

Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy one to answer. To help, here are the pros and cons I have found with using these devices in the garden:

Non-toxic and safe for cats and other animalsLimited scientific evidence of effectiveness
Can be used to deter cats from certain areasCats may become accustomed to the sounds over time
Some models are motion-activated, conserving battery life. Some are also solar-powderedSome cats simply do not react to the sound at all. It could be a complete waste.
Can be more humane than other methods of cat control such as chilli powderSome models may be expensive
Easy to install and useMay not be aesthetically pleasing to some people

It’s worth noting that the effectiveness of ultrasonic cat repellers can vary depending on several factors, including the specific model being used, the behaviour of the cats being targeted, and the environment in which the repeller is being used.

It’s one of those cases where you might just have to give it a try and see what happens...

Install a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

This is the most extreme method on the list! If you don’t want to fall out with your cat-owning neighbour, it might be worth avoiding this method, as it can annoy cat owners who think you’re trying to injure their beloved pet.

Essentially, a motion-activated sprinkler will squirt cats with a burst of water if they enter your garden. It’s one of the most effective ways to stop cats pooping in your garden.

It is completely harmless too, but many cat owners will see you soaking their cherished pet and see it as an outright attack.

The last thing you want to do is antagonise your neighbours. Even if it does work to stop cats pooping all over your garden, it is also one of the more difficult to implement for a variety of reasons:


Some of these motion-activated sprinklers require a power source. You can find battery-operated versions but they do tend to be less powerful with a small radius of range and a less violent burst of water.


You have to get the water from somewhere and that generally requires a constant feed from a hose pipe or water pump. Unless you don’t mind permanently running a hose around your garden to feed the squirter then avoid it.

Innocent Target

Motional-activated sprinklers aren’t advanced enough yet to detect humans. So if you happen to accidentally walk into its detection zone you’ll find yourself getting soaked too. This also means if you have pets of your own then they will also get attacked.

However, even though there are plenty of drawbacks to be aware of. There is 1 positive… It works. There’s no denying that a jet of water being fired at any animal is going to deter them. If you’re willing to set it up and spend the money, it is one of the best ways to get rid of cats in the garden.

There is, of course, another cheaper solution… Buy a water gun.

Get comfortable by a window with a mug of tea, and get ready to shoot the cat with a spray of water yourself. No, this isn’t the best use of your time but it works.

The novelty will wear off in a matter of hours, though. It’s certainly not a long-term solution to stop cats pooping in your garden.

Season Your Garden with Spices

There are plenty of spices that deter cats from using your garden as their own personal toilets such as paprika and cinnamon.

However, like most living mammals, cats are individuals and have their own individual tastes so when it comes to using spices to deter cats you will have to go with trial and error.

How Do You Use Spices to Deter Cats?

There are various ways you can use spices in the garden in your fight against cats. The easiest way is to sprinkle them in your flower beds, pots, raised boxes and so on.

The other option is to combine several spices and then turn this into a spray by combining it with vinegar. You can then spray this over fences, walls, pots and paving.

If you’re looking for the best spices to use, here are my top 7 spices that I have found to be most effective when trying to prevent cats from coming into your garden:

Black PepperHigh
Cayenne PepperHigh
Curry PowderModerate
Garlic PowderHigh
Mustard PowderHigh

It’s worth noting that while these spices have been reported to be effective in deterring cats, the effectiveness can vary depending on the specific cat and the environment in which they are being used.

Additionally, some of these spices may be harmful to cats in large quantities, so it’s important to use them in moderation.

The other option is to use essential oils to deter cats. These are far more concentrated than the dry spices you have in the cupboard.

Are Spices Toxic to Cats?

Many spices will be toxic to cats so it’s worth checking before you use them in your garden. They are usually only toxic when ingested which means you can use most spices as long as they cannot be accessed by the cat in question.

Get a Dog

Perhaps seen by most as an extreme method, but it all comes down to how much you want to rid your garden of cat faeces. Nothing scares cats away quite as well as a raging dog. Cats tend to be scared of dogs because most dogs don’t speak cat very well, unsurprisingly.

Dogs with high prey drives – breeds such as hounds – look at cats like they do any other animal: Potential prey. Their initial reaction is to pounce.

There are of course pitfalls to getting a dog for the sole reason of winning the war and stopping cats from coming into your garden.


Firstly, it’s a costly and long-term endeavour. You will need to want to own a dog. It’s not just a cat deterrent!

Possibly Ineffective

Secondly, there is a risk that the cat has grown up around a dog and therefore isn’t threatened by the presence of a dog. You won’t find out until you try; if it doesn’t work, then it’s too late.

If you’ve been umming and aahing about getting a dog and now want to know how to stop cats pooping in your garden then you may have just found the perfect excuse to get a dog.

If having a dog has never been a consideration for you and your family then skip over this step.

Lay Down Chicken Wire

Much like how a cattle grid works to contain sheep, chicken wire works to keep cats out of your garden simply because they find walking on it incredibly uncomfortable.

They hate the feeling of the harsh wire on their soft paws.

Buy yourself a roll of chicken wire and lay it down on the ground where you find cats generally enter. They’ll only make the mistake of walking on it once!

You will also find that it works as a great deterrent against digging. If you find cats not only leave a mess in your garden but also dig it up, then this deterrent can work wonders. You can probably imagine just how difficult it would be to dig a hole through chicken wire.

Of course, it’s not always practical, especially if you have a well-established garden full of plants and little ground you can access.

The other problem is if the cat you’re having trouble with climbs over the fence and can leap over your carefully placed chicken wire then your chicken wire is going to be pretty redundant in your fight to stop cats using your garden as their personal litter tray.

Add Sharp Gravel

Gravel is notorious for attracting cats to poop in your garden but that’s only if you get the gravel size wrong. If the gravel you have chosen for your garden is similar to a cat’s litter tray then they’ll instantly assume they’re allowed to use it as a toilet.

But if you opt for jagged-edged slate or sharp gravel then this can be uncomfortable for a cat to walk on so they’re likely to avoid going on the area. This works much like the chicken wire method from above.

Choosing materials in your garden is important when dealing with intruding cats. Bark, for example, will attract them!

Plant Coleus Canina

Don’t worry, this isn’t a Latin lesson! Coleus Canina, a herb in the mint family, actually has the nickname ‘scaredy-cat’.

Although a bit of a dodgy marketing ploy, it is reported to work at repelling nearly 7 in 10 cats. It originated in Germany where some clever clogs biologist decided to create a hybrid plant with one purpose: To keep cats away.

Although the plant is part of the mint family, you certainly don’t want to make tea from it or throw it in with your peas as the smell is pungent with some saying it actually gives off the smell of urine when you brush by it (it’s why cats hate fox urine too).

This is why it works so well though as you probably know already that cats use urine to mark their territory. Coleus Canina isn’t the only plant that can work wonders as a deterrent to cats. Other plants that can deter cats include:

  1. Ruta Graveolens or Rue
  2. Curry Plant
  3. Peppermint
  4. Lemon Balm
  5. Lavender
  6. Rosemary
  7. Wild Garlic

One plant you need to avoid planting is catmint. Some online resources claim that it works to deter cats but it has the opposite effect. Cats are so obsessed with it that it can actually send them into a trance!

Unfortunately, cats hate some herbs but love others. To know which to plant, check out our full guide here.

Sprinkle Purpose-Made Pellets

Of course, there are also purpose-made cat repellents that you can sprinkle across your garden to deter cats. You have to continuously reapply the repellents to your garden until the cat gets the message and you can finally stop using them.

The most common of these is lion poo which can be purchased on Amazon. The downside here is that it can get costly as you will need quite a large supply of the repellent.

The other downside, as with many methods, is that success is mixed with many sufferers claiming that most purpose-made cat repellents are garbage and fail to make any difference.

Trying to get rid of cats in your garden is a challenge. But it can be done. You do need to spend time trialling different deterrents as one deterrent can be effective at deterring one cat but it may not work for another cat.

Work your way through this list and see which do and do not work at repelling the particular cat you’re trying to prevent from coming into your garden.

What is the Best Cat Deterrent?

This comes down to budget and patience. A motion-activated spray will work most effectively but can be expensive. Planting deterring herbs and sprinkling repelling spices are other great options.

How NOT to Stop Cats In Your Garden

There are a few cat deterrents that people think will work to get rid of cats in gardens but that should, in fact, be avoided. We’ve outlined them below:


This should go without saying but using violence or causing harm to cats because they’re pooping in your garden is unacceptable. It’s frustrating. You want to stop them from coming into your garden. But violence is not an approach you should even consider.

We’ve listed 7 common deterrents to try which are safe and often cheap to try (OK, maybe buying and owning a dog isn’t cheap). Work your way through those deterrents and see which works for the cat you’re dealing with.


There’s a reason that more and more places are banning mothballs and that’s because they’re harmful to the planet.

They might be an effective way to deal with pesky cats that are driving you mad… But that doesn’t mean it’s the correct way to deal with them.

Jeyes Fluid and Bleach

If you’ve ever read the warnings on a tin of Jeyes Fluid, you’ll know how dangerous it is for humans let alone animals!

Animals can be inquisitive. You might know that Jeyes Fluid is dangerous but a cat will not and there is a risk they will accidentally ingest some which can make them ill.

It can even be lethal! Will Jeyes Fluid deter cats? Possibly. But it will also cause harm to them and damage plants and other wildlife. It’s not a risk worth taking!

The same can be said for bleach and ammonia. Although bleach may successfully deter cats, it’s not something I would use as it can cause long term harm both to the cat and other wildlife you’re trying to protect in the garden.

Rat Poison

Sure – poison will work at deterring a cat. You’ll probably kill it after all.

But is murder really an approach you want to take when trying to stop a cat from entering your garden? Using rat (or another animal) poison is not something I can condone. It’s dangerous and immoral so avoid doing so.

Rat Poison to Deter Cats

Upturned Nails and Broken Glass

Making an area of your garden unappealing and uncomfortable to walk on is a great cat deterrent. It’s why I advise using chicken wire.  If you can work out where a cat is coming into your garden then laying chicken wire can work wonders.

But using upturned nails, broken glass, spikes or shards is taking this deterrent too far. Not only will be uncomfortable for a cat to walk on but it can cause long-lasting and irreversible damage.

Don’t Be Cruel

Any deterrent that can harm a cat should always be avoided. I know that they can be annoying. I know you want to get rid of them. But there are safer ways to stop cats from pooping in the garden.

Although cats can be a nuisance, it’s not worth killing over. When using any deterrents in the garden, you should always consider whether that deterrent can cause harm to the cat, other animals, other humans or plants.

If there is a risk to any life or a chance of inflicting damage on the environment then you should steer clear of that particular method. There are plenty of natural and safe cat deterrents worth trying so give those a go, instead.

How to Stop Cats From Pooping in the Garden

Share Your Success and Failures

And there you have it! My ultimate guide on stopping cats from treating your garden like their personal bathroom.

From recognising the telltale signs of a feline visitor to setting up effective cat deterrents for gardens, I hope I’ve given you a solid starting point.

But hey, every garden is unique and what works for one might not work for another.

So, I Want to Hear from You!

Have you tried any of these tips? Did they work, or were they a bust? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve that I didn’t mention?

Remember, we’re in this together. By sharing our experiences, successes, and yes, even our failures, we can help each other keep our gardens pristine and poop-free.

So, don’t be shy. Drop a comment below and let’s keep this conversation going. Because the only thing better than a beautiful garden is a cat poop-free garden!


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10 thoughts on “How to Stop Cats from Pooping in the Garden”

  1. I have tried all deterrents and nothing works, Lion Roar was my latest waste of money, we have to keep paying out a fortune to keep cats out of our gardens cant do anything that harms them, but they can do any amount if harm to us or our grandchildren, but that is o.k., surely cat owners should keep their dirty cats in their own homes, if they dont want any harm to come to their precious cats.

    • Totally agree with you. People who want cats as pets should take full responsibility for their cats and their Pooh. It should not be the responsibility of other to remove it or put up with it. Cat owners are extremely selfish to expect others to put up with their pets highly toxic Pooh. They are the ones that should be sued.

      • The poo is not highly toxic, it only CAN be toxic. If a cats poop is toxic through toxoplasmosis, you would also visibly notice that the cat is obviously unwell and requires immediate veterinary care, it is VERY RARE – you can only give yourself toxoplasmosis by touching your mouth/a cut once you have touched cat poop, which has the presence of toxoplasmosis, it is clear for normal human beings that any form of poop should not be touched without the right equipment, for example- gloves and a scooper or a bag, and that you should wash your hands before touching your face/mouth or a cut after pickup.
        You have called cat owners extremely selfish, but have you actually gone and had a conversation with the owner of the cat that has pooped on your property to advise them of the issue and to ask them to remove it? or are you just an internet troll/keyboard warrior with nothing better to do than feel self involved and superior? you live on a planet with other living creatures, Cats are a vital and key part of the environmental cycle, as they manage invasive species and are part of what sustains a healthy environment, DONT BE HARMFUL TO CATS OR OTHER LIVNG THINGS, stop being so negative and small minded.

        • Domestic cats are not part of the normal ecosystem, they kill for fun and devastate the local populations of small mammals and birds.

    • This is a negative comment which suggests harming living creatures, and not caring for the welfare of others, its not funny and you are encouraging animal abuse, and harmful behaviours. Please reconsider or alter your statement or withdraw it.

  2. All cats should be ’indoor cats’ lt’s all very well not wanting to annoy your cat-owning neighbours, but they don’t care about the annoyance their cats cause to caring gardeners! Toss their droppings over the neighbours’ garden walls and let them deal with it!

  3. Does anyone have any thoughts on plastic anti-climb spike strips on the floor to deter cats? The spikes don’t seem very sharp and I think they’d be safe but I don’t want to harm the cats.

  4. I am thinking of concreting over my small garden because of the mess and stink the cats leave behind and also diseases

    I think if the cat owner prepare a litter tray for their cats to use we would not have this problem.


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