What's new in my garden pussycat Whoa, Whoa
What to do when strays don't pardon your garden, advice on how to propagate an uncommon plant and the straight poop on when soil needs fertiliser
Cats are usually the neatest of animals. Before they defecate, they dig up some ground so that they can bury it afterwards. But a stray cat is posing a problem to Ms Gekimm, who wrote: "I need to ask you if a cat's droppings will harm my potted plants and how to keep the cat away. A stray cat has been doing its job on my rather big pot. I have applied vinegar trying to rid the scent so he/she will not come back, with no success. I used to put out Clorox in London, but I am afraid it will kill my plants. Can you advise me please?"
Ms Gekimm did not say where her flower pots are, but the cat has probably taken a liking to them as they contain the only available soil in the area. Using chopped coconut husk as mulch to cover the soil would probably deter the cat. Also, the neighbour's maid told me that stray dogs won't defecate on the street outside my house if bottled water is placed along the wall, and I heard this works with cats, too. Ms Gekimm could try this technique and place some used plastic bottles half-filled with tap water beside her potted plants. However, I don't know whether this really works because the bottles outside my wall always disappear, apparently taken by passing rubbish collectors looking for recyclable materials to sell.
Apart from the stench, Ms Gekimm need not worry about the cat's droppings killing her plants. Animal manure is used to fertilise the soil; however it has to be really dry so there is no smell. Using a water hose, she can spray the cat's droppings with water to break them up and dilute them.
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