Cats in the Garden – Solutions Only

Cats in the Garden – Solutions Only

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Cat-loving readers will no doubt remember our recent dust-up over the issue of cats in the garden.  That post was prompted by a cat-in-garden photo illustrating a magazine piece about wildlife-friendly gardens – a strange juxtaposition, at least to my eyes.

Well, I was happy to notice Horticulture Magazine addressing this issue head-on, but in a solutions-oriented way, not a controversial one.  (Though Lord knows, the topic is controversial no matter how it’s handled.)  Their article, 4 Ways to Keep Cats out of the Garden, summarizes the problem – that our beloved cats can sometimes be “destructive, irksome troublemakers—especially when they decide to visit neighboring homes without permission! Gardeners are often bothered by a cat who decides to make a mulched bed her litter box, or when cats bother (and potentially kill) birds, butterflies and other wildlife the gardener is trying to attract.”

The author then quickly moved on to possible solutions – chicken wire, cat repellents, repellent plants (news to me!) and good old scare tactics.

In my own garden there’s just one cat who roams freely across it – or would if I didn’t yell at him every time he approaches.  I do that not just to protect my garden and the wildlife in it but to avoid turf-related aggression between him and my three indoor-only cats, who love hanging out on the screened-in porch.  They’re so happy, and so uninterested in escaping to the outdoors, that I had to laugh at the comment on that prior post expressing concern for them: “Keeping them couped up in a house all day is, in my opinion, terribly cruel.”

That may apply to cats who are accustomed to hunting outdoors but not to cats like mine who’ve never been outside except in a cat carrier.

Photo credit.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on May 21, 2013 at 9:50 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.

    • Matt
    • 1st January 1970

    I had to laugh when I read that comment about indoor cats. Outdoor cats have a much, much shorter lifespan. So it’s actually terribly cruel to let your cats outside.

    • Carolyn Furman
    • 20th July 1973

    Everyone is an expert…our two lovely kitties lived for 21 years outdoors. An exception to common wisdom I suppose, and the law of averages. I must say that the Horticulture article was much more sensible and solution oriented than your last foray into the subject. I just count myself lucky not to live in town close to irresponsible pet owners…

    • Matt
    • 11th June 2004

    I’d say the veterinarians who I take my cats to are indeed experts, but yes, there are exceptions to every rule.

    • Matt
    • 26th January 2009

    And I should clarify: It’s not that outdoor cats CAN’T have a longer lifespan. It’s just that the probability of getting hit by a car, injured by a predator, or catching a disease spread by ticks or fleas increases greatly by being outside. That’s simple statistics, not anecdotal evidence.

    • UrsulaV
    • 7th August 2014

    I always roll my eyes when people say “My cat is too lazy to kill anything!” Whenever they strap cameras to outdoor cats, they find that they’re killing a great many animals and just not bringing them home. It’s not hunger, either–half of it they just kill and leave to rot.

    • Joel Smith
    • 30th October 2014

    Personally, I could never feel right keeping my cat indoors all the time. He loves to be outside way too much. I just don’t feel right keeping my family members captive. However, when he began bringing mice and birds in through the dog door, I started feeling responsible for the carnage.

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