Birds and the kinds of small lizards and amphibians that cats hunt are very active hunters of insects, keeping control of that kind of pest. Cats also like to bury their waste and that nice soft garden soil could look very tempting. It's something I've seen people complain about on other gardening forums.
On the other hand, I have two cats and there are numerous other cats that roam my neighborhood. I'm fairly sure they're responsible for keeping the squirrels mostly out of our pecan tree. The worst I've ever actually seen them do the garden is leave foot prints in freshly planted beds.
If rodents are a big part of your pest problem, then I'd be very grateful to have a nearby colony of feral cats. Just be aware that cats will reproduce to the maximum amount possible based on the local resources. If you have plans to feed them it would probably be good idea to see if your area has any of the catch and release programs for sterilizing feral cats.
I've had cats poop in my garden beds, and it's not a pleasant occurrence (especially since I do most of my digging by hand). If you do go through it, make sure you ask the rest of the people in the community garden, or you might seriously tick off some folks.
I would say no as these critters often eat the good guys llke lizards etc and they can make a real mess of veg beds . Chipped bark = toilet
Why not put up some owl nest boxes instead if you have rodent issues .
Also they attract folks who want to feed cats and if you are not carefull you can end up with hundreds of cats .
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
Are birds or rodents causing damage? Don't see problems where there aren't any. Those birds and rodents may be controlling insect pests. Feral cats go where the prey is. If you have enough to be trouble, the cats will come.
We have a kitty who prefers to spend winter in the greenhouse for the most part - first year he destroyed most everything just from dozing on all the beds and compacting them, and the bed that we didnt put some cover over definitely found a turd or ten - which I consider high level biohazard.... moreso than finished humanure. Toxoplasma gondii yada yada. However, he did a great job of keeping the rats at bay, and does so in the garden elsewhere during the year. Im just finding that certain beds beg to be pooped in, and a little clever fencing or planting can generally direct the flow to a preferable destination. Next winter most beds will get chicken wire and another will get a layer of plastic and some sand. Cats!
"It might have been fun to like, scoop up a little bit of that moose poop that we saw yesterday and... and uh, put that in.... just.... just so we know." - Paul W.
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