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Pests: Cat in a Container


My cat thinks the containers I plant most of my bulbs in are a perfect size for curling up; doubtless the soil is extra-warm for her comfort. My own comfort is disturbed by this, as she tends to lie in these containers just as the bulbs are trying to come up.

While I don’t usually consider my cat a pest, in this case I do. Shooing her down from the container of choice is only a temporary solution, as, like most cats,  she obeys me for a moment to get a peaceful life, then returns to her comfy container-nest the moment my back is turned.

In a garden catalogue, I found a picture of a cat-repeller, a sort of grid of plastic spikes. Since I’m cheap, and I’m not mad about the looks of plastic in my garden,  I pondered what an alternative might be. I had the brainstorm: break up small sticks and poke them into the container at random, until there are no cat-sized spaces left. (I use sticks about four to eight inches long, and not much bigger around than my little finger, though I’m not scientific about this, as you can see by the picture. I like the looks of the irregular lengths and thicknesses. If this bothers you, you could get precise about it.)

The sticks work well, blend into the garden when the bulbs are small, and completely disappear by the time the bulbs get to be full-sized.

You can also use the stick cat-repellent in the ground,  and it works just as well for small tender seedlings as it does for emerging bulbs. Free, easy, and ecologically correct.


Having said all this, I probably shouldn’t show the following picture. I shouldn’t tell you that, when one pot of tulips died down, I left it on my porch, unprotected by little sticks.

Because my cat loves it so much. I found her there almost every morning. It’s the perfect place for her to curl up.*



*See my mission statement for a complete explanation. It’ll be at the bottom of the page this link takes you to.

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • kerri March 16, 2009, 7:04 pm

    That last photo is wonderful. What a blissful kitty :) You’re sweet to share your pot with her.
    The sticks are a good idea. Another use – Laying down small sticks works well in an area you don’t want the cats to dig in.

  • tina March 16, 2009, 7:14 pm

    That is one happy kitty. Too cute!

  • Sylvia (England) March 17, 2009, 1:30 am

    Pomona, I think you have found a very good solution, stickes in post and leaving one pot for your friend. I wonder if sticks will work for whatever is digging in my pots, this is the first year I have had this problem – I think it is blackbirds!

    Best wishes Sylvia

  • Daffodil Planter March 17, 2009, 9:24 am

    And you have reached perfect balance in your garden! My greetings to your plant-loving cat.

  • Pomona Belvedere March 17, 2009, 1:31 pm

    I hadn’t heard about laying sticks down to keep cats from digging: that’s a good tip. Wonder if it works for chickens, too? (I’d imagine a dog would just ignore them, but I don’t know.) And I’d be interested to know if it works for blackbirds (or whatever the mysterious invader is).

  • wayne April 6, 2009, 12:39 pm

    easier to get rid of chickweed ;’)

  • Pomona Belvedere April 6, 2009, 1:55 pm

    Ain’t it the truth!

  • Shel April 8, 2009, 4:53 am

    Before this morning I would have thought it a spoof, but my very lazy 12 yr old Burman has been raising havoc in a pot of tulip bulbs I planted a few days ago. Both are indoors so I know it is not any other animal. I am trying a coffee ground suggestion to see if that will restore things to normal.

  • Pomona Belvedere April 9, 2009, 9:23 am

    I hadn’t heard of a coffee ground repellent for pets (and other animals?). I’d be interested to know more. Got the cat problem solved, but there are still dogs and raccoons…

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