Cats v. garden…

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Don’t get me wrong: I like cats. I think they’re fine animals. It’s when they use my flower bed as a litterbox that I start to get annoyed. They love soft, loose soil, and they don’t seem to care what they have to step on or dig around in order to get to it. Plus, they’ve been here for longer than I have, and old habits are hard to change.

I started small: the smell of citrus will supposedly deter them, so I went out and bought a bag of lemons and scattered the juice and rinds all over the garden and shed. An hour later, my tender little cosmos seedlings (which I’d taken extra care to protect) were covered in dirt, with a pile of poop nearby.

I planted things that people’d said cats don’t like lavender and rue. Didn’t help. Neither did my cedar mulch.

Then I went to my local garden center and bought some very strong-smelling herbal pellets essence of clove, citrus, sesame, and God knows what else. No luck: the cats were absolutely unfazed.

Finally, I decided to get physical. On the advice of a different garden center, I bought a big package of kebab sticks from my local supermarket and stuck them all around the flowerbed, plugging the gaps between flowers and all around my youngest plants. It looks ridiculous, but it works! Last Sunday, I watched from the window as one of the neighborhood cats headed straight for his favorite patch. He stopped and stared for some time before giving up and leaving the yard, but leave the yard he soon did… it was so satisfying.

Once my plants are a bit better established, I figure I won’t need the sticks. In the meantime, I’m glad to say that the war is finally over!

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