Practical tips to keep cats from using your bark mulch as a litter box

Garden Mulch, Bark Mulch, Massachusetts.

Keep Cats out of your Mulch Garden.

The concern over how to deter cats from using your beautifully mulched garden as a litter box is quite understandable and has nothing to do with whether you actually like cats or for that matter whether the cat is yours or neighbors.  The need to repel cats is a sanitation issue.  Cat poop can harbor pathogens which can be harmful to humans.  Below are a few practical tips on how to dissuade felines from using your bark mulched garden as their litter box.

  1. Place chicken wire on your topsoil or mulch.  Cats hate the feel of the wire under their paws.
  2. Cats do not like bristly textures.  Use stone mulch or put anything uneven or textured, such as pine cones on your mulch.
  3. Place flagstones or river rocks or any unmovable objects that would break up large sections of mulch making it difficult for the cat to use.
  4. Sprinkle or spray commercial cat repellent products containing predator’s urine over your bark mulch.
  5. Plant coleus canina also known as, scaredy cat, rue, lavender or plennyroyal in your garden to repel cats.
  6. Sprinkle blood meal fertilizer on your mulch.  (Note: mothballs and cayenne pepper flakes have been mentioned as deterrents but they can be harmful to cats and humans so it is not recommended)
  7. Purchase and install a motion activated water sprinkler
  8. Purchase and install a motion activated high frequency alarm that is inaudible to humans but terrifying to cats.

There are no absolutes when it comes to deterring a cat from utilizing your mulched garden as a litter box.  But with luck and a combination of the above, you and your garden will persevere.