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Cat poop in my green house beds! help!

 
pollinator
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Hey Permies! I got shed cats for my greenhouse this year, because last year mice ate all my seedlings in there. Now, I cannot get seedlings to stay alive because these cats use the bed as a litter box, scratching the baby plants to death!!! How do y'all keep cats out of your gardens?! I am desperate!
 
gardener
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If you also want to prevent cats killing small birds and other wildlife, build them a cat "aviary" or otherwise keep them contained.
 
pollinator
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I've done different things to keep neighbours' cats out of the veggie beds. For seedlings and transplants, I cover with a net or wire frame...I have to do this for birds as well. Once the plants are established, I usually let them fend for themselves. Once I ran a hot wire from an electric fence around a bed and that worked, but it was a hassle and I didn't repeat it.

Things I have not tried but could also work, according to other people: Strong smelling herbs that the cats dislike. Sprinklers going off at unpredictable times, or better yet controlled by a sensor.
 
gardener
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Hi Rebekah,
I don't have a lot of experience keeping cats out because around here they are not that numerous. Plenty of other things... but not cats.

Having said that, cats tend to be skittish, so I am going to put a second vote in for the motion sensing sprinklers. I'm not sure how big your greenhouses are, but those sprinklers seem to work quite well for a variety of animals. Something like this maybe. https://www.amazon.com/Orbit-62100-Activated-Sprinkler-Detection/dp/B009F1R0GC?th=1

I have no affiliation, I just searched "motion sensor sprinkler" and this was the first one to show up. I have seen them much cheaper too.
 
steward
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If you have the kind of greenhouse that has a door, I assume you are keeping the door open or keeping the cats inside.

Keeping the cats outside will do what you want the cats to do.

We have a trailer that the mice thought was a good place.

In May of last year, a cat left her kitten with us and did not come back for her.

We no longer have a mouse problem.  The cat never goes into the trailer.

The thing about outside cats is that they tend to wander ...

They do come home to eat if fed frequently.
 
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We had a bajillion ground squirrels upon moving here and we keep two cats to keep them in check. They do a good job, going first for the easy prey on the ground (not birds), which is a great asset to us. They also sleep under the rhubarb or broccoli in the summer and use the dry, sandy beds as litter boxes sometimes. What I have found if I want to deter that behavior, keeping the soil damp deters them a lot. They don't like going in wet soil. The right mulch can be a good deterrent. Also, providing some dry and appealing space for them to go in gives them an alternative. You could prime it with some poop from the tunnel to make it easier to find. This could also be a litter box. We have, at times, put a litter box out for our barn cats and they don't seem to mind if it goes months without cleaning, they still use it.
 
gardener
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If you have access to brambles that have thorns, laying cut branches on the surface of the soil might deter them.
Flat stones or tile might work as well.
 
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