No one likes finding yours or the neighbour's cats have been using the garden as a litter tray. But sadly, it's an issue many of us might have to deal with at some point. The good news is that you can learn how to stop cats pooping in the garden with just a few simple measures.
If any felines have been using your patio as a toilet, you'll need some extra help that goes beyond the best patio cleaner. And if it's your lawn that's become their new favourite litter tray, lawn care tips won't cut it; you need to learn how to stop cats pooping in the garden, with the help of animal behaviour experts.
'Cats are typically very clean animals, and can be quite fussy over where they go to the toilet,' says Claire Roberts, Vet, PDSA. 'However, if you’ve noticed any furry friends favouring your garden, there are some simple things you can do to encourage them to go elsewhere.'
Whether it's your own pet, your neighbour's, or a friendly stray, there are steps you can take to encourage them to do their business elsewhere. We've asked the experts and shared all their tips for how to stop cats pooping in the garden in this essential guide.
How to stop cats pooping in garden
Cat excrement isn't the sort of thing we want near the best garden furniture we've just invested in, and we definitely don't want it ruining the look of our precious plants. Our guide has five steps you can take for how to stop cats pooping in garden, so you can go back to enjoying your outdoor space poop-free.
What you'll need
- Patio cleaner (if the cat is going to the toilet on your patio) - try these pet safe patio cleaners from Amazon
- White vinegar - you can stock up on this household staple and buy white vinegar from Amazon
- Litter tray - if yours isn't currently doing the job, try one of these litter trays from Amazon
- Essential oils - like these lavender essential oils from Amazon
- Spray bottles - there's plenty of spray bottles available at Amazon if you don't already have one
- Motion activated devices - like these motion sprinklers from Amazon
1. Clean the area where cats are doing their business
The first step to learning how to stop cats pooping in garden is to clean the area where you're finding their excrement. 'Doing so will remove their scent, which may be enough to discourage them from toileting there again – just be sure to use pet-safe cleaning products when doing this,' says Claire.
Try the Cleenly Patio Fencing & Decking Cleaner, £29.95 at B&Q, if cats are ruining your patio ideas. For grassy areas, you can hose down the area then apply a diluted white vinegar solution to fully rid your lawn of any messy remains. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then cover the affected area - just keep it away from any plants and wildlife.
2. For your own cats, spruce up their litter tray
'Cats are well known as clean and tidy creatures, so one of the main reasons they may start going to the toilet outside is because their litter tray is too messy,' says Axel Lagercrantz, CEO, Pets4Home. 'The best way to ensure that your cat continues to use their litter tray is to empty it regularly, as well as placing litter trays at multiple spots around the house.'
It's best to have two litter trays for your cats, so they aren't encouraged to do their business in the garden if their tray feels a long way away. Try placing one of these next to the door leading in to your garden, so if they are heading outside to take a poop, they can easily spot their litter tray on the way.
'It may also be worth looking into the type of litter you are using, as certain options may be uncomfortable on your cat’s paws,' Claire from PDSA says. 'Others may not absorb urine very well and your puss could just be avoiding getting their paws wet!'
3. Use scents as detterents
Similar to knowing how to get rid of rats, learning how to stop cats pooping in garden is a lot easier when you know what scents felines don't like. 'Cats have sensitive noses and can be deterred from your garden with strong smells like lavender or cinnamon, mixed with water and sprayed on your plants,' says Gemma Vincent, Product Manager, Hayter.
You can also use chopped-up citrus peels to discourage cats from using your garden as a toilet. 'The citrus oils in the peel will keep cats away from flower beds,' says Axel from Pets4Home. 'Using organic matter also means that the peel will turn into compost, so there is no clean up required.'
4. Use motion detectors
If after trying the above steps you're still finding cat droppings in your garden, it might be time to step it up a notch and install some motion-activated devices. A sprinkler or an ultrasonic sound device that goes off when it detects motion nearby will encourage cats to move on before doing their business.
The Pestbye® Ultrasonic Cat Repellent, £34.99 at Amazon, is inconspicuous enough not to spoil the look of your garden landscaping ideas. It emits a high-frequency sound that you won't be able to hear, but felines will - it's a humane way of encouraging them to leave your garden alone. Alternatively, look for motion activated sprinklers, and dot these around your garden and in your plant beds.
5. Create an outdoor litter tray
The above methods should have successfully stopped cats going to the toilet in your garden, but if nothing else seems to be putting them off, it's probably worth creating an outdoor litter tray. Designating an area of your garden to contain the cats' waste will at least stop them leaving their droppings elsewhere, and you can keep it away from your garden seating ideas.
Make the litter tray shallow and accessible, then fill it with feline-friendly litter. 'It might sound odd, but you can encourage your cat to use this area by initially placing some of its own waste in there,' says Richard Mann, Founder, Premier Porcelain. 'While a little arduous to do, encouraging your cat to use a designated area is a long-term fix if you can do it successfully!'
Now you know how to stop cats pooping in the garden, you can go back to enjoying your lovely garden as it should be - free of pet waste!
What is the best cat repellent for the garden?
'Because of their sensitive noses, cats don’t like peculiar smells like lavender, cinnamon, citrus peels, coffee grounds, vinegar, or peppermint,' says Richard Mann. 'Mix some of these with water and spray the mixture around your garden.'
Using scents like these to naturally repel cats so they aren't encouraged to stay and go to the toilet is really helpful. You can also buy dedicated cat repellents, which will use non-harmful chemicals to keep felines away.
What can I do about my neighbours cat pooping in my yard?
Try the steps in our guide if your neighbours cat is pooping in your yard. Cleaning with white vinegar, placing citrus peels around the garden, and installing motion activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices should stop them from doing their business.
If the problem persists, speak to your neighbour about it. It is really their responsibility to ensure their cat isn't littering on anyone else's property, so if after talking to them the issue carries on, you could put in a complaint to your local council.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.
7 ways to avoid storing towels in a bathroom for a clutter-free space - according to professional organisers
Steer clear of these storage mishaps to ensure your towels are as organised as can be
By Holly Cockburn
Lidl is bringing this year's 'it' print into the kitchen with a bold leopard-print kettle – are you brave enough for it?
Leopard is the ‘it’ print of the year – and Lidl brings the bold pattern into the kitchen with a brand new kettle
By Sara Hesikova
How long do tomatoes take to grow? And how you can speed up the process
The experts have had their say
By Lauren Bradbury