A cat in a flower bed on a summer day.

Lovable hunter and pet, or maybe more of a nuisance for your garden, cats can be a great addition to your home. They have added benefits such as chasing away pests and catching unwanted bugs. However, stray cats can cause trouble for your flower beds, gardens and even get in your trash. Here are some ways cats can help protect your home and alternatively how to keep them out of your yard if they are unwanted.


Cats and Pest Control

Cats have kept unwanted pests out of the way for over 100,000 years. In ancient Mesopotamia, cats were employed for pest control to help farmers keep mice out of the grain stores. In India cats were honored for keeping snakes and rats out of homes and were often featured in literature as guardians.

Nowadays cats are seen as an independent household pet rather than as a hunter guarding our homes and barns. However your cat catches several bugs a day and might even keep some mice and rats at bay. Not all bugs are safe for your furry best friend to eat, some bugs are poisonous or can sting your pet causing serious injury.


Here are some insects you should try to keep your cat away from:

  • Caterpillars and Centipedes – Some caterpillars look fuzzy and cute but contain toxins within their body that can cause some gastrointestinal problems and serious harm to your pet.
  • Spiders – There are several spiders that are very toxic to humans and are also dangerous to your cat. Spiders such as Black Widows, Brown Recluse, and the Hobo Spider should keep kept far away from your cat and yourself.
  • Hornets, Wasps, and Bees – If your cat gets stung by one of these bugs they can swell up and it can be very uncomfortable for them, take your cat  to the vet if you notice anything unusual.
  • Fireflies – The same reason that these little bugs light up is the reason that you should watch out. They carry a chemical compound that can cause serious injury or even kill your pet.


Keeping Cats Away From Your Yard

Sure, cats can be cute but they can also ruin your perfectly manicured flower beds or gardens. There are several ways to keep pesky cats from digging around your yard.


You can take a natural approach:

  • Plant Rue
  • Spread citrus peels around your garden
  • Use large river rocks to block the path to dirt
  • Plant Lavender (which also is a deer repellent)
  • Use plant stakes every 8 inches to discourage scratching or digging
  • Spread cayenne pepper flakes
  • Plant Pennyroyal
  • Spread coffee grounds


Loud Noises and Sudden Movements

Cats are scared off easily. Banging pots and pans together or spraying them with a hose will get them out quick. You can even install motion activated sprinkler systems such as a ScareCrow that is designed deter unwanted pests from your yard. You can even adjust the water pressure to make sure that you are humane and do not harm animals.


Animal Deterrent Products

There are a number of different sprays or products you can buy that will keep out unwanted guests. One product called Shake Away uses granules of urine from predators that cats fear such as Coyote and Foxes. You can also find sprays at your local pet stores. If you want to try to make your own there are a number of different recipes online that you can make out of household items.