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The raking and other soil preparation you do for your plants will also make the spot appealing to cats. They will dig up your seedlings in burying their scat, which also adds an aroma not sought in garden catalogues.

What to do?

Try these approaches:

1. Make the area unappealing to walk on or sit on: put down something sharp or pricky. I find the larger sizes of bark chips help somewhat, while the smaller sizes have no effect or actually make the location more appealing. I've sometimes placed a few stategically placed pyracanthus twigs to serve as a deterrent until a plant is established, and it would take a pretty confused cat to want to sit on a pyracanthus thorn. Some gardeners place chicken wire or the like around their seedlings.

2. Add smells that cats dislike: Cayenne pepper, citrus smells (orange and lemon peels), mustard, etc. Vinegar is sometimes recommended, but I think it can be bad for the plants, so I'd eschew that one. Grinding and sprinkling habanera pepper would probably make a most unpleasant outhouse surface.

3. Some people advocate planting catnip and placing a sandbox nearby. Supposedly this contains the problem to a manageable area.

If you're desperate, a motion-detecting sprinkler will certainly give the offending feline something to think about. If you're even more desperate you can put down lion dung. If you try this, please let me know how appealing a garden full of lion dung is, with or without cats.

DO NOT USE MOTHBALLS. Mothballs are often recommended, but I cannot condone this practice. Mothballs are generally either naphthlalene or paradichlorobenzene, both of which are potentially toxic, especially naphthalene, which can cause seizures and blood disorders. Keep a sense of perspective: pooping on plants is an affront but it's not a capital offense.




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