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How to Keep Cats from Using Hugel as Litter Box?

 
Nicole Alderman
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My cat loves to use my new, two-foot tall hugel as his litter box. He always does it when we're not around, and we just find the evidence of it afterward. None of my seedlings in the areas he's been using have survived, and now he's expanding his territory. I've tried setting out mouse traps to scare him when he goes to use it. I find them set-off and the bed further dug up. I keep the bed moist so it's not as tempting (which worked with a different bed), but he just loves to use that spot. Any ideas?


Thank you for your help!
 
allen lumley
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Nicole Alderman : Most cats like a little privacy when they do their business, your cat seems to fit the pattern. Try adding a little bit more privacy.

I have aways enjoyed using a wheelbarrow as an impromptu Outdoor Lounger, and always turned it over a stump so it stayed Dry This was apparently, for one
cat a perfect pit stop with sufficient privacy ! Kinda a surprise when you turned the 'barrow back over, but right now it brings back fond memories of a great
mouser. Most of the cats around here are descended from her. This includes a a favorite now teenaged cat named Pumpkin who once brought home a live young
ermine and now nearly blind, keeps the next generation of cats and dogs inline ! Big AL
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I will refrain from my normal rant about letting cats "free range."

It may cost you a bit of money but if you have a local Co-op or Organic store and can get "good" ground cayenne or habanero pepper and sprinkle in the areas he frequents this often works very well. Be Careful yourself if working there not to touch your face. "Bird Netting" will also work draped over the area, and there is also the electric netting that works 99.9% for deterring low to the ground folks...
 
Nicole Alderman
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So if I set up a desirable cat-pooping area, and sprinkle cayenne/habanero on my garden bed, my hugel should be safe, right?

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:I will refrain from my normal rant about letting cats "free range."
Sadness! I like rants... Feel free to rant if you like, I've been seeing quite a few downsides (as well as upsides) to having a "free-range" cat.

 
Matu Collins
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Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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So you have any prickly plants handy that you don't mind cutting back? Where I am, multiflora rose is plentiful and invasive. Also there are raspberries, wineberries and blackberries. If I had your problem I would take a bunch of long prickly branches and poke them in to the hugel so they lay flat along the soil and are secure. Cats like loose soil that is pleasant to scratch in and the branches and prickles will be discouraging.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Oh, do I ever! We've got three species of blackberry (the evergreen blackberry is especially nasty), as well as salmonberry and even some devil's club. We're constanty hacking back the blackberry and salmonberry and I'm happy to have a good use for them. Thanks for the idea--I love that it's free cat-deterance!
 
Rick Roman
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Draw the cat away from the hugle by planting a patch of catnip surrounded by loose, sandy, litter-like soil.
 
Matu Collins
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If you don't want more of the cane fruits let them dry before poking them in!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Thanks Nicole...I do rant sometimes...yet try not to..

I have written enough on "free range" kitties for now, that I think folks have read my dribble enough...As long as the cat is "free ranging" with their human companion I have little issue...it is the neglected and the one let to do as they will that are the issue.

Capsaicin (the repelling chemical in many Capsicum species) is a very strong and useful deterrent. It is washed away with relative ease, though some binding agents like a lipid, sucrose or other natural binder, may facilitate a longer duration of effectiveness.

"Spiking" is a much more effective modality with avids than it is with felines. Using catust can also be dangerous for others that may not know they are there (or forget where they place them.) I would point out that a favorite perch to hunt from, and/or hind (even raising there kittens) for wild cats (both feral domestics, and the proper wild forms Bobcat, Margay, jaguarundi, etc) is from their "hides" of Cacti. I have seen Bobcats run and climb to the top of Saguaro, and feral domestics run into for protection tangles of cholla cactus.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I agree that cats can tolerate pricklies, and you wouldn't want to hide spikes in a place where people walk. I'm just talking about making the area less attractive litterbox-wise
 
Galadriel Freden
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I'm with Matu; a criss-crossing of trimmings/branches laid over newly planted beds works for me. Prickly is optional, as long as there are a couple of layers of sticks. We don't have cats of our own, but the neighborhood prowlers are always happy for a nice soft place to poo.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Matu, Galadriel, et al,

When we discuss such issues as feline "scenting spots," there is much more at play in their ethology than just a nice place to poo. For whatever reason they become fixated on locations for reasons that are beyond our human understanding...for the most part. I have seen determined cats drag tin sheets off a spot they want access to, and sharp things can actually attract some of them, only making them more curious and determined. Take a sewing pin and present it to many cats (and dogs) held tight between your fingers, and watch them obsessed with trying to get it from you (or rub against it )...strange behavior, but there it is. If you have had success with such measures that is grand!...I have not in the many times I have tried with various species from Feline to Procyon, and found that chemical, electrical and barrier methods to be the only effective method...or removal of said "wayward defecator"...or, of course, change the medium they are attracted to completely...which isn't always practical.

Regards,

j
 
Nicole Alderman
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Luckily, my cat hates brush. He even disdains walking in tall grass. So, the blackberrry bramble should work, at least until I have time to drive to the store and get some cayenne/habanero. Last night, just after the sun set, I picked up some old bramble I'd previously pruned, and put it where the cat likes to do his business. He didn't return there last night... though he used the part of the mound to the left that he previously avoided. So, I got more bramble and placed it there, and will cover the rest of the mound as time/fussy baby allow. I'll probably leave it there for a while in conjunction with the pepper to get him used to using somewhere else.

I've been trying to figure out where best to make a kitty potty for him. We've got catnip (which he loves--he actually curls up in the pot of it--very cute!). I've have the catnip in a pot because I'm afraid of it spreading like mint does. Does anyone know if catnip is pervasive? If it is, I really don't want to just put it in the ground...
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Catnip self seeds readily but it doesn't spread by roots like many mints do. I have it all over the place because I encourage it. It's one of my favorite teas. Soon it will be time to start drying it!
 
Sebastian Valderrama
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Try putting pieces of fresh lemmon in the border of the hugel or places where the cat uses as litter box.
Another option is pieces of onion.
For sure they never come back.
 
Jd Gonzalez
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I have used "black pepper tea" to keep the neighbor's cats from marking my deck and grill. Boil a cup of water, add two tablespoons of black pepper, steep for 5 minutes, pour into a spray bottle and spray on the location you want to keep clear of cats.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jd Gonzalez wrote:I have used "black pepper tea" to keep the neighbor's cats from marking my deck and grill. Boil a cup of water, add two tablespoons of black pepper, steep for 5 minutes, pour into a spray bottle and spray on the location you want to keep clear of cats.


I tried a similar spray, with cayenne and habanero, and made it a lot stronger than the recipe called for, and it didn't deter our cat at all. Our cat is a weird one, though (then again, aren't most cats?)

I removed the blackberry bramble as it was rather painful to weed and I don't want my toddler getting hurt by it. In its place, I made a LOT of 2-3 foot teepee trellises out of bamboo all through the garden. I was just going to stick them straight up like the trick with placing plastic forks all through the garden, but then figured I might as well put them to use as trellises for the peas. So far, so good!
 
Pokletu Staktu
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Location: Aroostook County, Maine
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Though the cat poo is rancid, it may play a role in repelling mice that might otherwise chew the bark off your trees, no?
 
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