If you have potted plants and cats, chances are you’ve found poop in the plant pot on a bad day. I faced this problem recently and wanted to know how to prevent this problem. I did some research and put together this article so it can help you as well.
How to stop cats from pooping in my potted plants? The best methods to stop cats from pooping in your potted plants are using a cat repellant, putting rocks on the surface on the soil, and training your cat how to use the litter box. There are some other methods that will work but might not be cat-friendly.
There are a lot more details you need to know to prevent your cats from pooping in your potted plants so keep reading. You should also be aware of the methods that are bad for your cat and avoid using them.
Spraying essential oils near your potted plants is a good option to keep your cats away from them. Some options are lavender, peppermint, or lemongrass. Make sure to dilute them with water before use. Check out the best essential oils on Amazon.com.
How do I keep my cat out of my potted plants?
Covering the potted plant soil with large stones
The simplest method is to use small stones on your potting soil. This could be smooth river stones or white silicon desert stones.
The cats prefer to relieve themselves on the soil so putting stones on top of the soil makes it unattractive to your pet.
The stones make your potted plant look attractive and also work as a mulch. They will help keep moisture in the soil longer. And keep the soil temperature regulated.
This method will deter many cats from pooping in your potted plants but there will still be some other cats that would poop on the stones as well.
You can look at some of the other methods that will work better for such cats.
Use chicken wire around your potted plant
Another good option is to cover your potted plant with chicken wire. This acts as a cage and keeps animals out of your potted plants.
You do need to handle such wire with a pair of pliers to drape around the whole plant because it’s rigid. You can use the pliers to cut the chicken wire and bend it into the shape you need.
If you have a large potted plant, a single piece may not be sufficient. You may need to fasten together two pieces of chicken wire. This is because you will have to put the chicken wire around the base of the pot plant rather than completely covering it.
Spray cat repellent near your potted plant
If you don’t want to cover your potted plant with chicken wire or the soil with stones, you have an option to use a cat repellant. You can buy one at the store or make a natural one yourself.
You can use essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or lemongrass to make such cat repellent. Or you can use something like apple cider vinegar.
The idea behind using a cat repellent is that the scent is overwhelming to the cat and so they won’t go near the area sprayed with it.
Don’t directly use the essential oils or other materials as a spray because they are too powerful and could be toxic to the cat. Create a diluted mixture with three parts water and one part essential oil.
You can then spray this mixture near the pot to keep cats away from it. Make sure not to spray the repellent directly on the potting soil or the plant.
Your plants may find this mixture too acidic and it can cause stunted growth of the plant. In the worst case, you may end up killing your plants.
So use the cat repellent with the necessary precautions of diluting it well and spraying it near the pot rather than directly into the pot.
Use a motion detector distraction device
The idea behind the motion detector distraction device is pretty simple. It makes a noise when your cat goes near it.
Most cats don’t like being disturbed when they are pooping so this acts as a deterrent to them.
You can get such a device at local stores or you can buy them on Amazon.
I like this method because it’s the most effective way to avoid cat pooping in your potted plant but does not irritate the cat’s senses like a cat repellent.
Use cardboard to cover the potting soil
Another easy way is to cut a circle out of a cardboard box. You may find a pizza box works well. You want to make it a bit bigger than the potted plant to make it easy to tape.
Cut the cardboard circle in half and cut a notch in the center big enough for the plant stem to be undisturbed.
You can now tape both the cardboard pieces to the pot with the stem inside the notch that you had cut. Make sure to use heavy tape to secure it to the sides of the pot.
The cardboard disc sits on top of the potting soil and covers it up so your cats can’t reach the potting soil.
I don’t recommend using this method for very long because you are preventing air and light to reach the potting soil.
This can be a temporary measure to distract your cats while you train them to use the litter box. Once the cat is trained, you can remove the cardboard from your potted plant.
How to train your cat to not poop in your potted plants?
If you can train your cat to use the litter box that will help prevent the problem of them using your potted plants.
Make sure the litter box is big enough and comfortable for your cat to use it. You should use organic cat litter, sawdust, or soil from outside.
Remove the cat poop every day as soon as the cat is done with its business. And wash the litter tray every week with soap water.
Keeping the litter box clean will encourage your cats to keep using it instead of reaching for your potted plants.
Will cat poop kill my plants?
You may think that cat poop is organic and won’t harm your potted plants. But it can do some serious damage to them.
The problem is that there could be harmful pathogens present in the cat poop that will end up in your plants. This is even worse if you’re growing fruits and vegetables in the pots for your consumption.
The cat litter will also be high in nitrogen that could end up harming the roots of the plants.
Why do cats pee in potted plants?
Cats pee in potted plants because they prefer to go use loose soil. It is an instinct of cats to bury their pee and poop in the dirt. When a cat wants to poop or pee, they will dig a small hole and use it. Once the deed is done, they will push the dirt on it.
Because cats are instinctively drawn to dirt when peeing or pooping, they try to find this first. If they are unable to find it they will find the next closest thing. This could be carpet, loose paper, or something similar.
Some cats are sensitive to a change in the environment. This could be something like moving houses, new pets in the house, or guests visiting.
This can make them anxious and change their peeing pattern. They may end up relieving themselves in unusual places like your potted plants.
So it’s best to introduce your cat slowly to any change in the environment so they can get used to it.
Cats will try to use your potted plants as a first option when they want to poop or pee because they are naturally attracted to dirt.
The ways to stop a cat from pooping on your potted plants is to use some form of deterrent or barriers.
You can cover it with stones, use chicken wire, cat repellent spray, a motion detector noise distraction, and train your cat to poop outside or in a litter box.
- Wonderhowto.com: Make a Homemade Cat Repellent – Home Remedies for Repelling Cats
- Livescience.com: Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.