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Frances 04-04-2009 06:12 AM

Cat problem...
...talking of geese and all that.

Three houses over from our place there's a very cat-friendly family, they've got about seven of them at the last count. Now personally I quite like cats, but not when they do their business all over the garden, on the doorsteps at the back and front of the house and in the long grass (specially nasty when you mow over it).

The next door neighbours have a cunning device which clicks quietly every half minute or so... don't know about the cats, but I find it very irritating.

My favourite deterrent so far is strewing coffee powder over the affected parts - it fertilises the plants (and the doorstep) and most of the time it persuades the cats to go elsewhere. (fyi, I do not work for any kind of coffee company or anything).

A dog is out of the question because our daughter has Asthma, and shooting them and baking them in the WFO would be against the law, besides being a nasty thing to do. Geese yes, sounds very tasty. Cats, no.

So has anybody got any other bright ideas?

brokencookie 04-04-2009 08:50 AM

Re: Cat problem...
A goose will chase out cats :D

Maybe a non-shedding dog ? I own miniature daschunds and they are great little dogs. They don't shed, family friendly and keep my yard free of possiums, cats, racoons, mice and other assorted vermin. There are also a lot of "New" mixed breeds that do not shed. They have been breeding poodles with various other breeds to get a well behaved dog that does not shed.( poodles do not shed). Like a labrador / poodle mix known as a labradoodle. (no kidding). I wonder if they mixed a poodle with a mutt would the get a "whole kit and kaboodle ? :D


Modthyrth 04-04-2009 09:41 AM

Re: Cat problem...
I've been having the same problem. Lovely new neighbors moved in next door, but they let their three cats wander. I'm astoundingly allergic to cats (rank 4+++ on a 1 to 4 rating scale, and that was at a 1/10th dilution of the normal test solution. They ended the test early and gave me a shot of adrenaline). It was ok until the new neighbors also bought a chihuahua, and now the cats vastly prefer my yard to their own. We've had to empty my daughter's sandbox completely, and I'm waiting with trepidation for the cats to find my new garden.

When you use coffee powder, are you using grounds or crystalized instant coffee? If grounds, fresh or used? I'm intrigued.

I've heard pepper spray works well, but that's not appealing, either for my garden or my daughter's sandbox.

I've also heard they don't like citrus oil, but since the cats spend a substantial amount of time in our lemon tree, I haven't given that theory a lot of credit.

I was able to tolerate a Maltese dog, but if you do investigate non-shedding breeds, be very careful. These so-called "hypo-allergenic" dogs aren't really. People are less likely to be allergic to those breeds, but since it's the protein in the saliva that people are allergic to, not the hair, the fact that they don't shed doesn't ultimately mean much. It would break your daughter's heart to get a dog, fall in love, then have to give it away because of allergies.

Please share any solutions you find!

Wiley 04-04-2009 11:20 AM

Re: Cat problem...
Frances, A few questions: Do the offending cats look healthy and on the whole well cared for? Or are they feral? Are there many cats in the neighborhood? Do the cats stay out all night or are they locked in at night?

IMHO cats should be looked upon as a net plus. It is because of them you and your neighbors probably have little or no problem with rats and mice, both of which are indigenious to any and all places of human habitation. Yes, unfortunately they occassionally take a songbird, but the law is usually on their (the cats) side. (see links) Unless the cats are feral and pose a hazard to you or you family (and yes, I consider allergies under hazard) they should be looked upon as a net plus. It is because of their patrolling your yard you are not surprised by rats living in your woodpile, and scampering over your outdoor eating places in search of dropped morsels etc. at night, while you are asleep leaving all manner of disease in their passing.

So perhaps you have a choice...cats or rats. I'm assuming you would be against the other alternatives: poisons and rat traps and exterminators.

I'm really sorry some people are allergic to cats. Is it contact with the cats or is the cat simply passing thru (hunting etc.) enough to set off a reaction? Is it so intense that simply the idea of a cat is enough to get a reaction?

A Very Brief History of Cats and the Law

Features - The Domestic Cat and the Law: A Guide to Available Resources |


Modthyrth 04-04-2009 01:47 PM

Re: Cat problem...
Contact with the proteins is necessary (at least close enough to inhale any airborne particulate), so a cat just wandering through the yard isn't an issue. My allergies are fierce enough that I don't go into homes with cats, or I will have an asthma attack later that night. In general, it's not a problem if they're in the yard, but using the sandbox as a litterbox and then my daughter playing and bringing the particulate matter is a major issue, unfortunately (plus it's gross). If my husband or daughter pet a cat when we're out, I make them strip in the laundry room as soon as we walk in the house so I don't have to touch the clothes. I definitely have to take it seriously.

I see managing the allergy as my responsibility, and am thankful that it's easier to avoid than the food allergies some people have! And I'd never dream of talking to my neighbors and asking them to change their ways. But right now the sandbox is sad and empty, and it would be really nice to find a way to keep them out so we could fill it again. We tried a lattice cover, but they didn't mind just pooping in the three inches of exposed sand on the side. Solid covers aren't a good idea, since that invites black widow spiders and it would be too heavy for the kid to move on her own. It would be ideal if I could find something non-toxic to mix in the sand to keep them out of the problem areas.

berryst 04-04-2009 04:43 PM

Re: Cat problem...
I had a friend with the same problem
He put out a catch em live trap. Now he explained to me that cats are not stupid enough to get caught again. So he takes the hose to the cat in the trap. He explained that it hurts their dignity but essentially did not harm the cat. The cats simply hate hate hate getting sprayed with water.
After that the cats weren't a problem. We simply never have a cat problem. Around here the coyotes eat the cats on the loose

My self, I would like to have a cat...but my wife is allergic

Frances 04-05-2009 04:30 AM

Re: Cat problem...
Thank you for all your contributions!

The cats are well cared for, certainly not feral, allergies aren't the issue in our case but rather them using our garden as a toilet. Appart from that I really don't mind them wandering around.

I don't know about mice and rats, but the cats do often kill shrews and then leave them lying around. Shrews are a protected species in Switzerland and I've always been quite pleased that we seem to have a thriving community in our garden. You know, if the cats ate them I wouldn't mind so much, but killing them just for the sake of it... Oh well, its in their nature I suppose.

But if the cat population gets too big, the song birds/shrews/other small animals that are part of a functioning ecosystem do suffer. Its not as if have very big gardens around here, Switzerland is very densly populated.

Nikki, you're absolutely right about getting a dog and then maybe having to give it away. That'd be awful! I'd like to get a small pig instead, because as far as I know they don't cause allergies. Maybe one day :)

The coffee I use is ground unused - I thought that would give off the most intense smell. Maybe I'll try Citrus oil AS WELL, that'll show them! Oh, btw the Kindergarten my kids go to has a wire mesh construction to go over the sandpit, like a lid with a mesh top. Maybe that would work where you are?

Modthyrth 04-05-2009 08:58 AM

Re: Cat problem...
Ah, the irony. For the first time in my life we saw a mouse in our house last night. I'm trying to figure out just how quickly a cat would kill me. ;-)

berryst 04-06-2009 12:35 PM

Re: Cat problem...
If you were a mouse you'd head inside too...your yard is much to dangerous for a mouse:)

Les 04-06-2009 01:03 PM

Re: Cat problem...

Originally Posted by berryst (Post 53332)
Around here the coyotes eat the cats on the loose

Yep - I fed two of them to the coyotes. Pretty expensive treat after all the shots, getting them fixed, and de-clawed. So Frances, to get rid of the cats, you just need a yard full of coyotes....;)


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