People spend a lot of time out in their garden areas. You might find it peaceful to just pull weeds and water the plants in your flower beds.
It can be frustrating when you’re doing a bit of work in the garden area and step on poop, though. Many people wind up having problems with stray cats coming by and pooping in their mulch.
Why is it that so many cats seem to be drawn to mulch when they need to poop? If this isn’t an isolated incident and you seem to have cats pooping in your mulch all the time, then you’re going to want to solve things swiftly.
The information below will teach you about why cats seem to like pooping in mulch. You’ll then be able to learn about effective methods for keeping cats out of your garden areas.
Even if you have severe stray cat problems in your area, it’s going to be possible to turn things around. You just need to know the right approach to take to get good results.
Why Do Cats Poop in Mulch?
Cats like the way the mulch smells and how it feels in many instances. In some ways, mulch won’t be too different from kitty litter that some cats might be used to.
Some of the cats that are pooping in your yard and on your mulch might be stray cats. Others might be house cats that simply have owners that let them roam outside from time to time.
Whether the cats pooping in your mulch are strays or not won’t really be relevant. The thing to know is that many types of mulch will be appealing to the cats in the area.
If you want to keep your mulch clean and free of cat poop, then you’re going to need to make some changes. You can start making the garden areas less convenient for cats by adding things to the yard and using repellent methods that cats don’t like.
1 – Consider Using Pine Cones in Your Mulch
You might know that cats can be very finicky creatures. They like pooping in your mulch because it feels good to them and it smells nice.
If you change how the mulch feels when they walk on it, then they’re not going to like that. This can be accomplished by placing pine cones in the mulch.
Pine cones are hard and they aren’t going to be pleasant for cats to walk on. In most instances, cats are going to look for other spots to do their business when you have lots of pine cones in your mulch.
You can simply buy mulch that has pine cones in it if you want to go that route. It’s also possible to source pine cones from local trees and mix them in yourself.
Some people have had good results by switching over to stone mulch as well. It’s something that cats won’t like and you’ll be able to work in your garden without having to worry about stepping on cat poop.
2 – You Could Place Chicken Wire on the Mulch
Another idea that could work involves placing chicken wire on top of the mulch. This is similar to the above idea because it makes it uncomfortable for the cats to walk on the mulch.
The feeling of the chicken wire is going to bother them quite a bit. It shouldn’t really hurt the cats in any way, but it will deter them from wanting to hang out in your garden areas.
If you take the time to place chicken wire all over your garden areas, then you’re going to have a much easier time keeping cats at bay. It works nicely and it’s a way to solve the cat pooping issue quickly.
The downside to this is that many people find that placing chicken wire on the mulch makes the garden less convenient. You might want to walk on the mulch sometimes to do certain things and some people even sit on the mulch while they’re pulling weeds.
The practicality of this action might come down to how deep your garden areas are. If you need to sit down on the mulch to pull weeds, then you might not wish to sit on chicken wire.
Of course, you could also just move things or place a blanket or something when you’re gardening. You do have options, but not everyone is a big fan of this idea.
3 – Buy Cat Repellent Spray
Buying cat repellent spray might be an easy way to fix this problem. There are commercial products that you can purchase at stores that are designed to keep cats at bay.
These cat repellent sprays utilize scents that cats find to be repugnant and some of them will use predator urine to scare away cats. When a cat catches a whiff of the spray that you’ve bought, it’ll want to run in the other direction instead of getting closer.
Many people choose to just buy sprays such as this regularly so that they can spray their garden areas. If you apply the spray to the mulch on a semi-regular basis, then cats will be less likely to stop by.
Of course, one application of the spray isn’t going to last forever. If it happens to rain, then you might need to use the spray again fairly soon.
You’ll need to be a bit proactive if this is the only thing that you’re doing to deter cats from coming around. Consider giving this a shot if you just want something easy that can make cats stay away from your property.
4 – Ultrasonic Repellent Devices
What if you would rather not use a chemical spray? Some people try to shy away from using chemical sprays because they worry about whether they will be okay for the plants.
It’s very likely that your gardens have many plants in them. You might want to consider using an ultrasonic repellent device to get the cats to stay away from your mulch.
This is a type of device that can make animals stay away by using ultrasonic sounds. Essentially, this device emits sounds that only animals can hear.
Different devices are going to play different sounds to try to repel different animals. There are many of these repellent devices out there that are specifically meant to repel pests such as squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits.
You can also find ultrasonic repellent devices that are known to repel cats and dogs. This is a great way to keep unwanted animals from coming to your property just to poop.
This will be useful for stopping the neighbor’s dogs from pooping on your lawn. It’ll also keep stray cats from using your beautiful mulched areas as if they were litter boxes.
Devices such as this are very easy to use no matter where you need to put them. Most of them are designed to be used outdoors, and they’re going to be solar-powered as well.
This means that you can simply stake one of these into the ground somewhere and it’ll stay powered so long as it gets enough sunlight. You won’t have to worry about batteries or plugging it into a wall outlet.
You’ll also like that these devices are very affordable overall. You don’t need to pay an exorbitant sum of cash to get one of these devices and they work pretty well to keep cats from coming around.
5 – Motion-Activated Sprinklers
One idea that many people think is a lot of fun is to install motion-activated sprinklers in your yard. If you do this, then any animals that try to run through your yard are going to trip the motion sensors and get blasted by water.
If you position the motion-activated sprinklers correctly, then you should be able to set up a layer of protection for your mulch. The cats would have to somehow run past all of the sprinklers that are blasting water at them to even get to the mulch.
In many cases, this is just going to cause animals to get scared and run away. They won’t run toward the source of the water and will instead look to get as far away from the surprising torrent of water that they encountered.
Installing something such as this isn’t overly complicated either. You can buy motion-activated sprinklers at many different retailers and getting things set up shouldn’t take too many hours at all.
The only potential negative is that this could cause you to water some plants a little bit too much if the sprinklers are close to your flower beds. Even so, you might be able to position the sprinklers well to try to mitigate issues such as that.
6 – Certain Plants Can Keep Cats Away
There are also certain plants that cats just don’t like. You probably know that cats are attracted to catnip, but there are also plants that they seem to want to stay away from no matter what.
If you plant specific things in your flower beds, then it might help you to keep cats from pooping in your garden areas. Usually, the plants that are the best for keeping cats at bay will have very strong odors.
One of the most famous plants that cats don’t like is known as the Coleus canina. It’s colloquially referred to as the scaredy-cat plant because cats don’t like being around it.
You have other options if that plant doesn’t really appeal to you. Rosemary, rue, pennyroyal, and lavender have also been known to keep cats at bay in garden areas.
Lavender might be a particularly appealing option since so many people enjoy the scent. There’s a reason why lavender is used so often as an ingredient or scent in laundry detergents.
7 – Place Human Hair in the Garden Area
Another weird idea that might work to scare cats away involves placing human hair in the garden area. Stray cats are usually very wary of humans and they might get scared if they smell human scents.
You could sprinkle hair clippings on top of the mulch to try to keep stray cats from getting too close. This might make it so that they won’t feel comfortable enough to want to do their business on your mulch.
The problem is that most people don’t have a ton of hair clippings sitting around. You might not even cut your own hair, and not everyone wants to bother gathering hair clippings in the first place.
Dog fur might also work as a deterrent to keep stray cats away. If you have a dog, then you could gather some of the fur that it sheds to sprinkle it in the garden areas.
It’s just another deterrent idea that you could add to the list of other things that you do. If you have human hair clippings or dog fur that you can utilize, then it’s worth a shot.
8 – Cats Also Dislike Strong Citrus Smells
Did you know that cats really dislike strong citrus smells? It seems that cats find strong citrus odors to be a bit overwhelming.
This means that you could spray citrus-based sprays on your mulch to try to keep cats away. It also might help to place orange peels or other things like that on top of the mulch.
Many people have been able to keep stray cats from coming to their yards by using citrus-based sprays. If you have some, then it’s going to be a good option that won’t harm your plants.
There are many things that you can do to try to keep stray cats from pooping on your mulch. It’s certainly annoying to have to pick up cat poop all the time and you can stop this from being such a common occurrence by using the advice above.
You might just want to spray cat repellent spray to get cats to go away. Many of these sprays work fantastically, but some of them might be toxic to your plants.
It is possible to find sprays that aren’t toxic and will be safe to use near plants, though. Ultrasonic repellent devices can also work well for the purpose of scaring cats off.
You can even use fun methods such as installing motion-activated sprinklers if you want to. Just take the above advice and use the tips that make the most sense for your situation.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel