11 Ways to Safely & Humanely Keep Cats From Pooping in Your Yard

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Yard work or tending to your garden can turn nasty pretty quick if you happen to come across some cat poop. Particularly if you don’t even have cats. It seems like, no matter how high your fence, neighborhood cats can still get into your yard to do their business.

It can seem like a losing battle, but I’m here to tell you that there are several options for you. They range from easy to involved, from free to (somewhat) cheap. In fact, many of these tactics can be employed with stuff you probably have around your house. And they’re all humane. So, read on to discover how to keep cats from pooping in your yard. 

In some instances, you may not want to completely banish the cats from your yard. If they’re your cats, or they keep the local rodent population under control, you may want to keep them around. I’m happy to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too. Several of these options can be implemented to keep cats from pooping or messing around in certain areas (like your garden or flower beds). Others will work to keep cats out of your yard altogether!

1. Put Citrus to Use

One of the easiest ways to deter cats is to save your citrus peels and spread them around the yard or garden. Since cats have a sense of smell that is about 14 times better than humans, they can smell the citrus peels from far away— and it’s not pleasant for them. However, while the majority of cats will stay far away from citrus, not all cats are like this. If it doesn’t work in your yard, you may have to try something else. 

2. Go Bananas

Like citrus, most cats can’t stand the smell of bananas. If you chop up your peels and place them around the yard, they may help to keep cats away. For this to work you’ll probably have to keep it up regularly, or until the cats take the hint. Just be careful not to slip on the banana peels!

3. Plants Cats Hate

Many of the ways to keep cats from pooping in your yard take advantage of their excellent sense of smell. But if you don’t like the idea of placing fruit rinds around your yard, there are other, more pleasant ways of keeping cats away: plants! There are several plants that cats hate, and if you place them strategically around your yard or your garden, they’ll make a great deterrent. Some of the most effective include:

  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Lemon balm
  • Eucalyptus
  • “The Scaredy Cat Plant” (Coleus canina)
  • Lavender
  • Rue
  • Pennyroyal
  • Lemon thyme

Some of these plants (like lavender) can also deter other garden-destroyers, like deer and some types of insects. 

4. Walking on Eggshells

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You’ve probably noticed that cats only like to leave their stinky little presents in areas with soft, pliable soil. They tend to avoid doing their business on grass or hard-packed dirt. You can take advantage of this fact by putting down items that will irritate their sensitive paws. One of the best and readily-available is eggshells. 

As humans, we certainly don’t like walking on metaphorical eggshells, but cats really hate walking on actual ones. Sprinkle some throughout the areas where you typically find cat poop and you’ll likely see an immediate effect.

Eggshells aren’t the only thing that works. You can also try one of the following:

  • Twigs
  • Pinecones
  • Gravel or stone mulch

Or you can lay down things like chicken wire, carpet runners, or specially-made cat repellent mats. These all take a little time to set up but tend to work on most cats. You can also put these cat repellent mats on top of fences or bordering your roof if you have bird problems or issues with other pests. They look spikey, but won’t actually hurt the animals. 

5. Non-Toxic Repellents

There are also plenty of non-toxic (for both cats and humans) options to keep those darn cats out of your yard. These come in both liquid and granule forms so you can decide what’s best for your particular needs. Granule form usually lasts longer outdoors. Here are a couple of the best-rated ones available on Amazon. 

6. Motion-Sensing Sprinkler

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It’s no secret that cats hate water. This is the premise behind this pest-repellent tool. Essentially, it’s a sprinkler attached to a motion sensor. Some of the more expensive models even have a heat sensor, as well. When the sensor goes off, the sprinkler shoots a quick stream of water over a designated area, which scares the cats away. 

The sprinkler also makes a sound that helps to scare cats away. It works on any number of other pests, like deer, skunks, and raccoons. Before long, cats will learn not to venture into your yard for potty time. 

This Hoont Cobra Motion Activate Water Blaster has an adjustable range of up to 30-feet. It runs on AA batteries and only requires that you have a garden hose connected. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor. Sometimes a swaying plant or tree limb can set it off if the sensitivity is too high.

7. Ultrasonic Repellent

Similar to the automatic water repellent, this ultrasonic repellent uses motion sensors to activate an irritating sound that drives cats away but barely registers to human ears.

This one from Broox is solar-powered or charged with an included USB cord. It uses an adjustable motion sensor that covers a 110-degree arc of up to 30-feet. In addition to the ultrasonic speaker, it also has a flashing LED light that helps to scare cats away whenever it is set off.

If you decide to go the ultrasonic route on Amazon, make sure to read the reviews carefully. Many of the other models have reviews for entirely different products. The few reviews for the actual ultrasonic repellent systems are pretty bad, to say the least. The one from Broox mentioned above actually has good reviews at the time of this writing. 

8. Designate a Cat Area

This is a good option for those homeowners who only want to keep cats out of certain areas of the yard. The trick here is to create a nice place for cats to hang out where you don’t mind if they poop. This is great for those who have outdoor cats of their own, or for those with rodent problems that neighborhood cats help with. 

Installing a medium-size sandbox in an unused corner of the yard is a good way to keep cat poop in one place. Granted, you’ll have to clean the sandbox once in a while, but most people find this option better than cleaning out their garden or flower bed. Another good option is to plant catnip plants near the sandbox. Not all cats enjoy catnip, but those that do will love spending time around these plants. 

If you still have problems with cats doing their business in forbidden areas, you may want to use one of the other methods on this list in addition to creating a designated cat area. 

9. Homemade Cat Repellent Sprays

Using what we know about cats, it’s easy to create a homemade repellent that will help keep them away from certain areas. Two of the best options for this are apple cider vinegar and minty mouthwash. You can mix either of these with equal parts water and then spray them around the yard. Cats hate the smell of mint and vinegar. The only drawback is that you’ll have to spray again every few days to keep the smell pungent for the cats. 

10. Scary Snakes

This option is hit or miss depending on how skittish the target cats are. It’s no secret that cats are afraid of snakes, but not many people want actual snakes in their yard. This is why some people spend a few dollars on plastic toy snakes and set them around the yard. 

YouTube is full of videos of cats being scared by fake snakes (not to mention cucumbers and bananas), but they’re also naturally curious animals. If they see a fake snake sitting in the same spot, not moving, they’ll probably figure out that it’s not a threat. Still, some people have had good results with a few rubber snakes!

11. Remove Attractions 

My last tip for how to keep cats from pooping in your yard involves removing things the cats may be attracted to. Sometimes this is simply your nice soft dirt. Other times it may be a bird feeder that’s a little too close to the ground, a hole that leads under your porch for shade and protection from the weather, or a food source. Keeping your yard clean and tidy is a step toward keeping cats out. And all it takes is a little bit of watching to figure out what cats are attracted to in your yard.

Justin Childress

Justin Childress is the creator of Sunshineandplay.com. He is also a devoted husband and father of his 1-year-old son Gabriel. Justin enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, of course, contributing to Sunshineandplay.com. Read more about me or follow me on Pinterest to stay connected.

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