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The cat came back

Can you help me keep the kitties out of my kale?

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Can you help me keep the kitties out of my kale?

I am thrilled to be trying raised-bed gardening for the first time this summer. Back in early June, my husband and father built three 4’-by-4’ raised beds. I planted carrots, radishes and cucumbers in the first one; kale, beans, peas and salad greens in the middle one; and a mix of yellow and Scotia tomatoes in the third.

Just one day after planting everything, I checked on the garden and found that a cat had done its business in the third bed; luckily, it picked the empty side of the bed, so I dug out the contaminated soil (yuck!). We have a six-foot high fence around our backyard, which I thought would be helpful in keeping out the neighbourhood felines. But that hardly seems to matter. This tenacious cat has been back numerous times, turning my garden into its go-to litter box.

I picked up some cat deterrent gel crystals from Halifax Seed, placing them in plastic containers around the perimeter of each bed. They smell like citronella, which I rather like, and seemed to work for a week or so (though they became ineffective after rain). I also stuck wooden kebab sticks all over the garden, but even that doesn’t seem to work.

The other night, the cat destroyed an entire row of carrots in the first bed. I also don’t like the idea of having little daggers all over the beds—it makes it tough to weed and I worry about my daughter hurting herself.

Do you have any tips or advice on how I can keep out the cat? I’ve heard cats don’t like cinnamon or citrus. What deterrents have worked for you in your garden? I would love to hear your ideas.



  1. Hannah Dunleavy

    Chicken wire on posts, kind of like a cold frame but with a wire top. It lets the rain in and when you want to harvest, raise the wire frame. By the time your crops are big enough to use, the bare(inviting) soil is covered by crops. Failing that, get a Super Soaker. Use a very weak solution of household vinegar and water. Aim for the eyes(only when the cats are in the garden). Doesn’t do damage but it stings.

  2. Hannah Dunleavy

    Also, plant some catnip SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  3. Darlene MacDonald

    I work at Lee Valley, and we sell Cat Stop. You might want to check it out.
    Unfortunately it doesn’t work for ALL cats, as is stated, but you have 90 days to try it.!
    The product number is AT615

  4. Janice Hudson

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely check it out!

  5. Janice Hudson

    thanks for the great suggestions; I really like the chicken wire idea. I think I will go for that next year on all of the beds, probably just after planting.

  6. Janice Hudson

    good idea; yes, I’ve also heard of people giving the cats a separate garden just for them that they can do whatever they want in. That’s something to think about, too…

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