How Do I Stop Cats from Using My Planters as Litter Boxes?

Updated on July 06, 2009
T.D. asks from Martinez, CA
26 answers

I have 2 cats that continue to use my large flower pots as litter boxes. At first we weren't not really bothered by it, but of course the flys have now come. I had cleaned out the messes they have left but I just know they will continue to do so. Does anyone know what I could mix with the soil to deter them? Thanks

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C.M.

answers from Chico on

My mom fills her large pots and planters with 2-3" decorative rocks. You can buy them at craft stores.

I know that there is also a deterrant spray you can buy at pet stores that may help, but I have never used it or had a close friend who has either. Good luck!

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H.P.

answers from Sacramento on

Someone recently told me that they'd wrapped the pots and around the base of the plants with saran wrap and found it worked like a charm and was fairly inconspicuous.

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J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

You could try sprinkling some black pepper or Cinnamon into the soil. When they scratch at the dirt they will stir this up and most cats don't like the smell.

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P.S.

answers from San Francisco on

This spring when it started to warm up outside, I noticed that our "barked" area in the front of the house smelled STRONGLY of cat (poo and urine). I had read that cats don't like the smell of coffee grounds, so I began sprinkling the used grounds over the barked area each time we made coffee. I thought it might smell like coffee, which I really wouldn't mind, but it doesnt't AND it also doesn't smell like cat poo/urine anymore. Problem solved!

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L.F.

answers from San Francisco on

If you go to Starbucks they have bags of coffee grinds you can take for free (usually by the door in a basket,all different sizes)or just ask. Great for the plants and smells good too. We had the same problem and we poured in the coffee grinds right on top of the soil and no more cats :)
Good Luck!

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A.M.

answers from Sacramento on

Once they start peeing there, it's really hard to get them to stop unless you make the area unattractive to them. I had the same problem with my indoor plants. (I thought I was the one killing them!!) Anyway, we went to the garden store and purchased large river rocks. We piled them on top of the soil. Since they couldn't scratch and bury anything anymore, they stopped. It also will help keep the soil moist longer, and it looks nice. Also, you need to make sure you keep their box really clean. That helps too! Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Chico on

My mom fills her large pots and planters with 2-3" decorative rocks. You can buy them at craft stores.

I know that there is also a deterrant spray you can buy at pet stores that may help, but I have never used it or had a close friend who has either. Good luck!

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D.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a similar problem. My neighbor recommended a product called Critter Ritter. We just recently tried the product (last couple of days) and I have not noticed any new waste, but I have not determined if it is a good, permanent solution.

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L.S.

answers from San Francisco on

While we have two cats, they have NEVER chosen to use our planters as their litter box - but you better believe everyone elses cats just LOVE to poop in the freshly turned dirt right outside my front door. Its disgusting, and I know my visitors just love to have their noses assaulted with the odor of cat feces while standing on my porch (not to mention the flies). I have tried all the "homeopathic" methods: chili powder, black pepper, even something I bought at the petstore that is supposed to deter cats with an odor only they can smell. None of those methods kept the cats away.

Laying chicken wire DOES work, but it looks so ugly - what we ended up doing was placing decorative paving stones where the cats like to go - if there is no room for them to maneuver their bodies to poop, and no room for them to scratch in the dirt, they just find another place to go. Cats love fresh, unpacked dirt - so anything you can put in the pots to keep them out like river stones, gravel, and even chicken wire will work. I love the idea of the sticky tape too, though I would assume you'd have to change the tape out frequently as it gets UN-sticky.

Our cats like to lay IN our large flower pots on top of whatever plants we have planted, killing them and crushing them to death. To keep them out, we will often put one of those "tomato cage" wire dealy's over the top or will "stake" the plants to a bamboo chute to keep them out.

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L.S.

answers from Salinas on

I also used the stone trick in my house and it worked great. I picked up enough decorative stones to fill all my pots. I made sure that they fit snugly so that the cat couldn't dig. Could you also change the litter box or the brand of litter that you use? It may also make a difference. Good luck : )

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J.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I've heard that you can put plastic forks sticking up in the dirt to stop the cats from getting in the pot to poop. Good luck!

T.W.

answers from San Francisco on

OK I cannot remember exactly and cannot find the site though it was on Wacky Uses that I first read it but you use Tabasco, Chili Powder, Pepper, Dish soap and water, mix and use a spray bottle and spray around the box (if it clogs just poor it) anyway it worked for me. Good Lucky!

E.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Both black pepper or mothballs will work. I used these in my plants.

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A.T.

answers from Stockton on

My mom used crumbled up tobacco leaves from a cheap cigar. I saw a Martha Stewart show that reccomended used coffee grounds - plus they're good fertilizer. OR put really spikey cactus - it will be amusing to watch the cats try to go on them!

W.M.

answers from Sacramento on

T.,
I have the same problem in my planters outside. I finally bought some stuff called Fooey. I spray it around the planters when I know it's not going to rain for a while, and they can't stand it, so they stay out.
They are so used to not going near my planters that I don't have to spray it anymore. Two words of advise if you use this, wear gloves you can throw out, and two be sure the wind is blowing away from you. It has a very bitter taste, and is hard to wash off.
W. M.

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Put largish decorative rocks all over the soil in the pots. That should help. Otherwise, put some mesh netting around the base of the plant. That will deter them from getting up into it at all.

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E.I.

answers from San Francisco on

My sister uses pin wheels. Apparently, the unpredictable movement scares them away.

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J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

You could try sprinkling some black pepper or Cinnamon into the soil. When they scratch at the dirt they will stir this up and most cats don't like the smell.

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G.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I had chickens, and they love to scratch in the dirt to look for bugs.To keep them from doing that i laid chicken wire, flat but tucked in to the corners of the bed so it mounded up going toward the center. I cut a hole area for the plant to come through. I used metal u pins found at orchard to hold in in place at the corners.
This might work for you since cats like to bury their feces, they won't be able to. They won't like the feel of it on their feet either. Once they know its there and stop coming , you can cover it with moss.

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M.K.

answers from Chico on

Supposedly Orange Essence or orange peels work, but I haven't tried it.

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I.J.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I had the same problem and then I put large (river rocks) on top. You need to clean out as much of the soil that you can first and put it fresh soil because it has their scent and then put the rocks on top put a couple layers of rocks since they won't be able to dig this should discourage them.

After you do this you can also discourage them by using a squirt bottle on them when they go sniffing round there looking for a place to poop.

Be sure that you are cleaning their litter boxes often enough, this includes not just taking out the soiled stuff but taking everything out and putting in new litter.

I hope this helps, it worked for me.

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D.F.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi T.,
I have used Cayenne pepper in the soil and It works well for small spaces. If that doesn't keep them away try a layer of Pea gravel, they will not dig in rocks to go potty. Good Luck!

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C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Go to the pet store & ask. They have things you can put in the dirt that makes the cats look elsewhere. Good luck, I know that's annoying. C.

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H.P.

answers from Sacramento on

Someone recently told me that they'd wrapped the pots and around the base of the plants with saran wrap and found it worked like a charm and was fairly inconspicuous.

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G.R.

answers from Sacramento on

I've heard of some people using chili powder with mixed success. But friends used the old fashioned mousetraps to train their dogs to leave the plants alone. Set them without bait and after the animals experience them going off a couple times, just leave them unset for a while. Eventually you won't need them as a reminder.

L.K.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't know about mixing anything into the soil, but you could try placing a lightweight screen material over the dirt. I think the cats would not like the texture, see that it's different than before and stay away. And it would still be easy to water the plants.

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K.D.

answers from Yuba City on

Cayenne pepper. Just buy some cheap cayenne powder, and sprinkle on the dirt in the flower pots. You will have to reapply after rain or when you water, but it won't hurt the cats or the plants, and will deter the cats from using the pots.

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J.H.

answers from Salinas on

I found that moth balls mixed into the soil work well.
Good luck to you.

J.

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A.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't have any pets ... for a reason. I don't want them and I don't want to have to deal with the poop issue. So when I was having issues with the neighbors who let their cats roam at will crapping in my yard what worked best for me was going to the local hardware store and getting deer repellant spray. What it is is wolf or bear urine (don't remember which one now) that once it's dry only the animals can smell it. spray the perimeter and no more pesky animals in your yard/planter box/etc.

Be warned though ... while applying it, it stinks like crazy. fortunately it dries pretty quickly. But it works just like those animals marking their territory ... other animals won't go near it.

Another thing that worked to keep them off the top of my fence was orange juice and/or lemon juice. Cats don't seem to like citrus very much. I always used the real lemon lemon juice that's fresh and straight ... no sugar added.

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