Keeping cats out of your garden

How to deter cats without causing harm

Keeping cats out

Use these humane suggestions for keeping unwanted cats out of your garden without contravening animal welfare laws.

Cats are protected by law

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 - and the Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents - all cats have legal protection from harm. Using home-made or shop-bought deterrents could harm cats and may be considered an offence under animal welfare legislation - so take care when choosing a deterrent.

Humane ways to keep cats out of your garden

Want to prevent cats from visiting your garden? Here are some humane techniques to keep them away:

  • shoo a cat away by shouting or clapping your hands when you see them enter your garden
  • squirt water near the cat using a low-powered water pistol (not a super-soaker), being careful to avoid their eyes
  • install an automatic garden spray, triggered by an infra-red movement detector
  • erect high, close-boarded fences next to hedges, making it difficult for cats to enter your garden
  • avoid leaving food for birds and other wildlife in places that cats can reach and ensure dustbin lids are secure
  • do not start feeding cats if you do not want them in your garden
  • cultivate shrubs closely to reduce places for cats to dig
  • spread chicken manure around beds and borders, using Soil Association-approved pellets rather than fresh manure
  • consider covering parts of your garden with stone chippings, pebbles or small rocks to deter cats from toileting in those areas
  • lion dung-infused pellets, coleus canina and crushed egg shells are sometimes successful at deterring cats from toileting in flower beds
  • hardy plants and tall planters in strategic positions (eg entrances and protruding corners) can reduce the effects of cats spraying to mark their territory by encouraging them to use the plants

Related topics

Outdoor cats - Topic

Photo credit

Banner image - Mitchell Orr -