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How to Keep Cats from Pooping in Your Yard (8 Proven Methods)

Kristin Hitchcock

We don’t exactly know why cats decide to use the bathroom where they do. Sometimes, they pick a place in the neighborhood that they really like (or don’t like). To us, it can seem random.

If cats have decided that your yard is the community bathroom, things can get stinky very quickly. Cats may also decide to mark in the area, which can make things even smellier!

Luckily, you can do quite a few things to interrupt this trend and stop it in its tracks. Below, we’ll discuss multiple ways to keep cats from pooping in your yard.divider-cat

1. Clean Up What’s Already There

York chocolate cat backyard
Image Credit: Ciprian Gherghias, Shutterstock

If you leave cat feces lying around the yard, you’re just putting a giant sign on it that says it’s the community bathroom. Cats can smell the poop and will assume that’s where they’re supposed to be using the bathroom. (After all, everyone else is doing it.)

None of the methods below will work if cats can still smell the feces and urine in your yard. Your first step should be to clean up the yard as best you can. You may not be able to get everything, but you can get pretty close.


2. Use a Cat-Free Fence

Cats can easily tackle most fences. However, there are cruelty-free, anti-cat fences that can prevent cats from entering a particular area. These fences have spikes that look like barbed wire, but the spikes are made of plastic and don’t harm the cat.

They make it very difficult for the cat to climb up the fence. Plus, they’re rather uncomfortable to sit on, as some cats like to do. You can find these fences at most hardware stores and various places online.

If you make the fence tall enough, cats won’t be able to jump over it.

However, cats can be pretty resourceful. Some will climb something nearby and jump over the fence that way (which sometimes leads to them becoming trapped in your yard).

Still, these fences are an excellent first line of defense.


3. Plant Cat-Repellent Plants

There are many types of plants that cats don’t like. Rosemary and lavender are solid options since people don’t mind the smell – but cats do. If you plant these in your garden or around your yard, cats may stay away because the area is suddenly smelly.

Plants in the mint family are also smelly to cats, dogs, and most other mammals. Most people don’t like the smell of too much mint – now imagine if your nose was much more sensitive.


4. Bury Orange Peels

Cats hate the smell of citrus. In large amounts, citrus is toxic to felines, so this may be an evolutionary development. Either way, cats typically avoid the smell of citrus if at all possible.

Burying orange peels and the peels of other citrus fruits in the areas that the cats usually use as their bathroom. When the cat goes into the area, they will smell the citrus – even if our noses don’t detect it. In many cases, they will leave the area and not return.

This method is a great way to prevent cats from pooping in flower gardens and mulch since oranges are entirely safe for plants. You’ll keep the cats away, but you won’t have to worry about harming your garden in the process.


5. Use Coffee Grounds

Many cats and other mammals also hate the smell of coffee grounds. Caffeine in high amounts is toxic to felines. However, they avoid coffee grounds with such enthusiasm that this isn’t much of a problem.

You can sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the yard around the cat’s bathroom. The smell should drive them away and prevent them from returning. This method also works well with other animals, such as dogs.

Many people also use this method around flower beds since coffee grounds are safe in high amounts for most plants. They will turn the soil slightly more acidic, which can be a problem for some plants. Be sure to check that your plants can handle more acidic soils before deciding to use coffee grounds.


6. Use Vinegar

vinegar-pixabay
Credit: NatureFriend, Pixabay

In some areas, you may be able to use vinegar to keep cats away. Vinegar has a strong smell to humans, so you can only imagine how it must smell to cats and dogs. The strong scent is often more than enough to keep cats from pooping in your yard.

Applying vinegar is extremely easy. It works best if you dilute it with water in a spray bottle and then spray it around your yard. Use a half-and-half ratio, though the exact amount doesn’t matter all that much.

Vinegar is also helpful in keeping away bugs and other pests. Practically every animal hates the smell of vinegar, so it should keep just about anything away!

However, it can harm some plants. If you plan on spending time in that area (or have a pet who does), this method can be less helpful. The smell of vinegar will usually fade to our noses long before it does to other animals. But it can be a stinky few days before it does.


7. Use an Automatic Water Sprayer

If you have the budget, you can install an automatic water sprayer in your yard. While this won’t spray water all the time, it will usually do it enough to discourage cats from coming around. After all, cats absolutely hate water, and the idea of water randomly being sprayed is probably the last thing that cats want to be around.

Of course, this option is quite expensive.  Most people don’t want to invest in a yard watering system just because of some cats.

Plus, many of the other methods will likely be just as effective as this one. However, if you were already considering investing in a water spraying system, this option may be exactly the excuse you need to splurge and get one finally.


8. Use Toothpicks

If the cats are only pooping in flower pots, you can use toothpicks around the outside edge to prevent this. You don’t have to leave the toothpicks in forever. Usually, after a few weeks, the cats would have moved on to a different spot – allowing you to remove the toothpicks.

This method is straightforward and doesn’t take much work on your part. It also shouldn’t harm the plants.

Related Read: 11 Humane Ways To Keep Cats Out Of Your Flower Beds

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Final Thoughts

There are many different ways you can keep cats out of your yard and flower beds. There are also sorts of things that cats find rather stinky but that people are lovely with. Planting certain smelly plants or burying smelly things in the yard is often enough to keep most cats away.

You can also try physical boundaries, like a cat-proof fence. While these usually aren’t 100% effective, they can be an excellent first step. Some cats may be so determined to enter your yard that they’ll navigate the obstacle – but others won’t care enough to try.

We hope that one (or more) idea in this article stood out to you. Feel free to utilize multiple options at a time.


Featured Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!