How To Keep Cats From Digging In Houseplants

If cats dig up indoor plants, cover the ground with large, smooth river stones—not pebbles. This deterrent is appealing and efficient. Digging and utilizing the plant earth as a litter box are discouraged. Know which indoor plants to avoid if your cat eats plants.

How can you prevent cats from destroying your indoor plants?

You’re not the only one who has a digger making a mess near your plant. Keep in mind that a cat’s natural instinct is to dig.

If you’ve ever noticed your cat burying their waste, it’s because they want to mask the aroma from potential predators and prey. Your indoor cat may not have to worry about either of those things, but you aren’t going to change instincts that have existed for thousands of years!

There are some ways to alter this undesirable behavior if they are merely digging (as opposed to utilizing it as their litter box, which you may learn more about below).

Make the Soil Unappealing to Your Cat

Citrus is not a favorite food of cats, as was already noted. Therefore, you may easily spray the soil with a citrus solution (diluted lemon, lime, or orange in water) just as you would leaves or fronds.

To prevent them from digging, lay down a piece of burlap or landscaping cloth that has been citrus-scented. In addition to keeping your cat away from your favorite plants, your house also smells wonderful! Slices of the rind can be be scattered throughout the pot as another alternative.

Cover Your Soil From Your Cat

If you don’t want to use citrus, you can also cover the soil with aluminum foil. This can be an effective deterrent because cats dislike the sound and feel of aluminum foil on their paws. If you’re having difficulties keeping your cat away from your Christmas tree during the holidays, you can also use foil.

However, I like to use little decorative rocks because I don’t think aluminum foil is particularly beautiful. Change to a slightly larger, heavier stone if you notice they are batting the smaller ones around. And think about how much beautiful your plant will seem aesthetically if there are some stones at the base.

Why is My Cat Using a Planter as a Litter Box?

The reason your cat is utilizing a planter as a litter box is not difficult to find. There are typically two causes, one of which is probably related to the cat litter box you purchased.

It’s Natural for Cats to Dig & Do Their Doody

Cats naturally enjoy digging, as previously said, especially in cold, soft earth. This is why your cats (if they are outdoor cats) or feral cats in the vicinity may leave unexpected surprises in your outside planters.

What better place for them to go than your magnificent flower garden? The methods mentioned above can be used to make your planters unattractive. But if your cat is using your indoor plants as a litter box, it can be because of typical setup and upkeep errors.

Set Your Cat Up for Litter Box Success

For more information on how to get your cat ready for litter box success, check out our fantastic Litter Box 101 article series. When trying to figure out why your cat is urinating in undesirable places, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Again, it’s critical to first confirm that your cat does not have any underlying medical issues that could be causing unwelcome messes throughout the house. You should always check with your veterinarian about any changes in your cat’s litter box habits. After checking out any medical conditions, it is likely that your cat is not content with their current litter box situation.

  • Cats enjoy having a tidy litter box. How many times have we all neglected to wipe out the litter box, even though it should go without saying? Or perhaps we asked our children to take the daily scoop but they forgot? It happens, but if you don’t frequently clean your cat’s litter box, they can decide to relieve themselves somewhere else. Every day, you should clean the litter boxes. You may have also noted that I used the plural form of “boxes” to refer to the interior of your home.
  • You require one more box than there are cats. The amount of litter boxes you need should be one greater than the number of cats you have at home. One cat therefore requires two litter boxes. Three boxes are comparable to two cats, and so on.

If you have multiple levels, you should put a litter box on each level, as well. Imagine sharing a little box with someone else—I don’t know any people who enjoy having just one bathroom at home! Sorry, no thanks.

Why does my cat keep destroying my indoor plants?

Does your cat disturb the ground near a houseplant? Do you wonder when the cleanup will be finished and how your plant will survive because she throws dirt around? Do you have any concerns?

According to Tracy Kroll, DVM, a resident in animal behavior at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the answer is most likely zero. Based on the instinctual behavior of cats to dig before eliminating, plant digging is a completely normal behavior for cats. This inclination frequently arises from the natural cat litter known as soil. Digging is probably fun for cats as well because it comes so naturally to them.

motivated by illness, undesirable conduct, or even curiosity Your cat may tread in the dirt after being enticed to the plant. The ideal soil for cats is soft, permeable, and textured. Following her instincts from long ago, she might then dig and urinate or defecate as well. Kroll suggests speaking with your veterinarian if she is digging and urinating in the container.

Such elimination can occasionally be a symptom of a bodily issue, particularly when the digging and pot-placing elimination in an adult cat starts out abruptly and persists on a regular basis. A cat’s primary means of expressing distress brought on by a sickness are frequently abrupt, complete behavioral changes.

Indirect signs of behavioral issues are very common in cats. Examine your daily activities to see if anything has changed that is distressing. Has something changed in your life, like your schedule for cutting your nails, made you forget it? Or, has a new occupant of the home disrupted the social structure of your cat’s life? Consider any potential changes that might be connected in any way to the cat’s recent digging.

Fortunately, digging in home plants is rarely the result of these issues. Most of the time, particularly with a young cat, the odd digging is an act of natural exploration. Other cats may be tempted by a fresh, intriguing, and invitingly placed houseplant, or they may be drawn to a plant that has been brought inside after spending the summer outdoors and is treated like an old friend by your cat.

Protect your plants from cats. When a kitten starts to dig, it’s similar to when a youngster is first learning to walk. According to Kroll, who obtained her DVM from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, you need to child-proof or kitten-proof the house. The challenge is to make your plants kitty-proof rather than trying to curb your cat’s natural curiosity.

Check to see if you can raise the plant above your cat’s reach and transfer it to a less accessible spot. Remove it from any area where your cat may easily jump, such as a table or ledge. Alternately, put something else on the exposed surfaces where the woman has been jumping to get to the plant.

You might also put barriers or repellent materials between her and the soil of the pots. To prevent the roots from rotting, place a smooth substance like plastic film or aluminum foil on top of the soil and make holes in it to let moisture escape. Surfaces without texture don’t appeal to cats. Small boulders or stones, as well as deflated or partially deflated balloons placed on the ground and anchored to the base of the plant trunk, will also act as deterrents.

Certain fragrances turn cats off, and they will avoid those odours. To deter cats, dab little amounts of vinegar or perfume on the pot’s rim, for instance.

Keep in mind that cats occasionally dig, guide her curiosity in less intrusive places, and be happy that your cat is healthy, active, and curious.

What can I use as a plant spray to deter cats?

I recently saw an article in a magazine that suggested using tomato cages behind bird feeders to deter cats. It made me remember how frequently homeowners contact me for advice on how to prevent their cats from destroying their indoor plants. Here are some ideas I have.

1. Place an orange peel on top of the soil because cats detest the scent of citrus.

2. To prevent cats from digging in the soil around your plants, use mulch made of gravel or stones.

3. Use a homemade solution of water, a few drops of Tabasco sauce, and some cayenne pepper to mist plant leaves.

4. Cats dislike being damp. If your cat approaches restricted areas, have a loaded spray bottle close to your plants so you can quickly spritz it.

5. Attach balloons with tape to your plant pots’ sides.

Your cat will be scared away and taught to stay away from your plants by the sound of a balloon popping.

6. Provide your cat with a lot of toys to play with so it won’t become bored while left inside by itself.

7. Plant scent-neutral plants like rosemary, mint, lavender, and citrus that cats find repulsive.

Of course, cats being cats, some of these ideas may work while others will only serve to embolden them in their intimidating and destructive behavior against your prized houseplants. A visit to a pricy cat psychologist might be necessary.

Aloe (Aloe vera), amaryllis (Amaryllis), asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri), avocado (Persea americana), dumb cane (Dieffenbachia), elephant ear (Caladium), kalanchoe (Kalanchoe), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), and swiss cheese plant are some common houseplants that are either poisonous or can cause allergic reactions in cats (Monstera deliciosa). Check out the ASPCA website for a comprehensive list.

How can animals be deterred from destroying potted plants?

The best way to keep squirrels away from potted plants is essentially by trial and error, but the following advice is definitely worth a shot.

Add something squirrels don’t like to the potting soil. Cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, vinegar, peppermint oil, and garlic are some examples of natural insect repellents (or try a combination of two or more).

Similar to this, prepare a DIY squirrel deterrent with 2 tablespoons (29.5 mL) each of black pepper and cayenne, as well as 1 sliced onion and 1 chopped jalapeno pepper. The mixture should be boiled for 15 to 20 minutes before being strained using cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Spray the soil surrounding potted plants with the strained mixture after pouring it into a spray bottle. Use caution because the mixture has the potential to irritate your skin, lips, and eyes.

Incorporate blood meal (dried blood) into the potting soil. Because blood meal contains a lot of nitrogen, it should not be used in excess.

Squirrels may not burrow in the potting soil if there is a layer of rocks on top of it. However, during the summer, rocks can get hot enough to harm plants. As an alternative, a heavy covering of mulch will be much better for plants and may help keep squirrels out of pots.

To keep squirrels away, try hanging ornaments or flashy objects next to your potted plants. Try using bright pinwheels or spinners, used CDs, or aluminum pie plates as examples.

In the off-season, when squirrels are more likely to “plant their stash, which they usually return back for later, digging up priceless bulbs in the process, cover potted plants with a cage made of hardware cloth, plastic bird netting, or chicken wire. If you prefer not to surround your plants, try cutting little pieces that you can bury beneath the soil’s surface.

If there are wild roses or blackberry vines growing close by, cut a couple branches and plant them straight in the ground. The thorns might be sufficiently pointy to deter squirrels from digging.

Whether or not coffee grounds deter cats

It makes sense that people adore their pet cats. However, if you adore your garden, you might not be too happy with the neighborhood moggies utilizing your carefully maintained garden as a public cat-comfort.

Cats are naturally inquisitive and like exploring new areas. They go looking for food, looking for places to snuggle up, looking for prey, looking for a partner, or maybe even looking for a new home. They are excellent climbers, and a healthy cat can jump around six times its length in a single leap because to their powerful hind muscles. What practical steps can you take to keep cats out of your garden then? Here are some cat deterrence, repellant, and distraction methods that work well and are affordable.

Scent-Based Cat Deterrents

Cats are exceptionally good at smelling. They have 200 million odor-sensitive cells in their noses, compared to 5 million in humans. Cats use their sharp noses to detect and recognize signs made by other cats as they mark their territory with pee and feces. They may also pick up pheromones that are emitted nearby when a female cat is in heat and ready to mate.

It is not unexpected that extremely strong odors might distract and even bother cats given their keen sense of smell. Here are a few homemade, low-cost cat repellant methods that have been effective for many individuals.

Vinegar Spray

Vinegar spray is simple to manufacture at home by combining white vinegar and water. It has been proven to be quite helpful in numerous scenarios. Additionally, it works well to deter birds and other animals in addition to cats. Simply combine your vinegar mixture in a spray bottle, fill it with water, and spray it all over the places where cats tend to mark their territory. Make sure to revisit the busiest locations multiple times and reapply every few days or as soon as it rains.

Citronella Spray

Although it is made from grasses, citronella oil has a lemony scent. It is well-known and highly regarded for its efficiency as an animal and insect repellant. Add around 30 drops of citronella to a cup of water, mix well, then use a spray bottle to administer for an efficient citronella spray. The amazing thing about citronella is that it persists long after it rains and has a wonderful scent.

Coffee Grounds

Cats may not venture into your garden if there is a strong coffee odor there. Simply scatter your freshly ground, moist coffee grounds around your flowerbeds, borders, and other areas where you want to deter cat attention. Additionally, because the coffee grounds are completely biodegradable, they will break down and improve your soil.

Garlic, Lavender, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Pepper and Lemon

Due to its potent odor, garlic is well renowned for being an effective animal deterrent. It creates a powerful aroma-based repellant that is completely safe to spray on plants when combined with other potent-smelling, natural substances like lavendar or pepper.

Distract with Alternatives

Cats are creatures of habit, thus you might be suffering as a result of your vegetable garden being repeatedly used by cats as a cat convenience. This might be a result of neighborhood cats or even your own pet cat, who prefers to relieve itself in the same location in your garden each time they visit.

Creating a designated place in your garden that cats prefer to utilize is an efficient strategy. You may make a quiet spot of the garden far more inviting than your food plot by turning the soil there and planting some catnip. Cats enjoy using freshly churned soil as a kittie-litter, so why not give them what they want in a hidden spot away from your prized plants and vegetables? Gardeners are aware of this fact. This is especially relevant to gardeners who own cats as pets.

Part-filled Water Bottles

Many gardeners claim that an inexpensive and simple method with used, transparent plastic, 2-liter water bottles works well. Place each bottle on its side amid the flowers and plants after adding a tiny amount of water to each one (approximately a fourth full).

Cats may flee if they are startled or scared by sunlight reflecting off the water’s surface. While many people who have tried this method have found success, some people claim that their troublesome moggies simply disregard the water bottles and continue to irritate them.

Ultrasonic Repellents

Animal agitation devices use sonic pulses that travel at frequencies exceeding human hearing range. The sound waves are absolutely harmless to humans, however they can irritate animals. There are available ultrasonic cat repellant devices that are activated by nearby movement; these can be installed around the perimeter of the garden or close to neighbors’ properties where cats are kept as pets. If you own pets, avoid using ultrasonic animal repellents because the noise will likely frighten them away.

Cat Repelling Plants

It is not unexpected that there are numerous plants that can be used as efficient cat repellents given that cats react to potent odors. And it makes sense to think of a plant-based remedy as we are thinking about how to prevent cats from being a nuisance in the garden.

Strong-smelling rue, also known as herb of grace, is frequently grown as an attractive plant. It is used in Greece and other Mediterranean nations as a traditional food flavoring.

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, and lavender are among plants that have a reputation for repelling our feline companions. A highly successful strategy is to put up a border of cat-repelling plants between your garden and any nearby cats.

Anti Cat Spikes

If you have a problem with moggies invading your garden, you’ve definitely witnessed them expertly navigating the tightest ledges and fence peaks. Cats are daring climbers with exceptional balance. But as was mentioned, they are also creatures of habit. So, if you are aware of the routes taken by the feline trespassers into your garden, you can take some practical precautions to keep them out.

A completely safe technique to prevent these furry intruders from accessing your garden through boundary fencing is to use anti cat fence spikes. The tops of fences, walls, or ledges can be swiftly and simply affixed using pre-formed plastic security spikes. Cats find it extremely uncomfortable and challenging to move over the protected fence top since there isn’t enough space between the spikes for their paws. They consequently make a U-turn and return the way they came.

These fence-top spikes work well to keep your own pet cats within your home, preventing them from bothering your neighbors, in addition to keeping stray cats out of your garden.