How to Stop Cats from Pooping in My Potted Plants

How to Stop Cats from Pooping in My Potted Plants: Cats are adorable and lovable creatures, but they can also be a nuisance to your potted plants. If you’re a plant lover, you know the frustration of finding your beloved plants covered in cat poop. It is unpleasant to clean up, but it can also harm your plants and spread diseases. So, how do you keep your potted plants safe from your feline friends? In this article, we will explore the reasons why cats are drawn to potted plants and provide effective solutions to stop them from using your plants as their litter box.

White cat lying near green plants,How to Stop Cats from Pooping in My Potted Plants
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How to Stop Cats from Pooping in My Potted Plants: The Attraction of Potted Plants to Cats

Cats are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. Potted plants provide an ideal environment for them to play, hide, and even relieve themselves. Here are some reasons why cats are drawn to potted plants:

  • Soil: Cats are instinctively attracted to the soil as it reminds them of their natural habitat. The smell and texture of soil can be irresistible to them.
  • Warmth: Potted plants are often placed in sunny spots, making them warm and cozy. Cats love to bask in the sun, and potted plants provide the perfect spot for them to do so.
  • Privacy: Cats are known for their love of privacy, and potted plants provide them with a secluded spot to do their business.
  • Scents: Some plants, such as catnip, have a strong scent that can attract cats. They may be drawn to your potted plants because of the scents they emit.

The Dangers of Cats Pooping in Potted Plants

While it may seem like a harmless act, cats pooping in potted plants can have negative consequences for both your plants and your health. Here are some of the dangers of cats using your potted plants as their litter box:

  • Plant Damage: Cat poop contains high levels of nitrogen, which can burn and damage your plants. It can also attract pests and insects that can harm your plants.
  • Spread of Diseases: Cat feces can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can be transmitted to humans. These include toxoplasmosis, which can cause flu-like symptoms, and roundworm, which can cause serious health issues.
  • Unpleasant Odor: Let’s face it, no one wants their home or garden to smell like cat poop. The strong odor of cat feces can be difficult to get rid of and can make spending time in your garden unpleasant.

Effective Ways to Stop Cats from Pooping in Potted Plants

Short-fur Black and Brown Kitten Surrounded by Green Leafed Plants
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Now that we understand why cats are drawn to potted plants and the potential dangers of their behavior, let’s explore some effective ways to stop them from using your plants as their litter box.

1. Create a Barrier

One of the simplest ways to prevent cats from pooping in your potted plants is to create a physical barrier. You can use chicken wire, mesh, or even plastic netting to cover the soil in your pots. This will make it difficult for cats to dig and bury their waste in the soil. You can also place rocks or pinecones on top of the soil to make it uncomfortable for cats to walk on.

2. Use Citrus Scents

Cats dislike the smell of citrus fruits, so using citrus scents can be an effective way to keep them away from your potted plants. You can sprinkle citrus peels or use essential oils on the soil to deter cats. Another option is to mix water and lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray it on and around your plants.

3. Try Natural Repellents

Several natural repellents can be effective in keeping cats away from your potted plants. These include vinegar, cayenne pepper, and coffee grounds. You can sprinkle these around your plants or mix them with water and spray them on the soil. However, be cautious when using these as they can also harm your plants if used in large quantities.

4. Use Commercial Repellents

If natural repellents don’t work, you can try using commercial repellents specifically designed to keep cats away. These products usually contain natural ingredients such as citronella, lavender, or peppermint, which are unpleasant to cats. You can find these repellents in the form of sprays, granules, or ultrasonic devices.

5. Provide an Alternative Litter Box

Cats need a designated spot to do their business, and if they don’t have one, they will look for alternatives. By providing a litter box in your garden, you can redirect your cat’s behavior and prevent them from using your potted plants. Make sure to keep the litter box clean and in a secluded spot to make it more appealing to your cat.

6. Train Your Cat

Training your cat to use a litter box or a designated spot in your garden can be an effective long-term solution. You can use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to encourage your cat to use the designated spot. It may take some time and patience, but with consistency, your cat will learn to use the designated area instead of your potted plants.

Cute cat sleeping near potted plants and shabby wall
Photo by Shuxuan Cao on Pexels

Preventative Measures to Keep Cats Away from Potted Plants

Aside from the solutions mentioned above, there are some preventative measures you can take to discourage cats from pooping in your potted plants:

  • Choose the Right Plants: Some plants, such as lavender, rosemary, and rue, have strong scents that cats dislike. Consider planting these around your potted plants to keep cats away.
  • Use Mulch: Cats don’t like the texture of mulch, so adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil in your pots can be an effective deterrent.
  • Keep Your Cat Indoors: If you have a cat, keeping them indoors can prevent them from using your potted plants as their litter box. It also keeps them safe from potential dangers in the outdoors.
  • Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Motion-activated sprinklers can startle cats and discourage them from entering your garden. They are also a humane way to keep cats away from your plants.

FAQs About How to Stop Cats from Pooping in My Potted Plants:

How do I stop my cat from using potted plants as a litter box?

This can be frustrating, but fret not! Here are some tactics:

Make the litter box more appealing: Ensure it’s clean, accessible, and in a quiet location. Provide multiple boxes, especially if you have multiple cats. Consider trying different litter types or enclosed boxes.
Discourage access to the plants: Place the pots on high shelves, hang them, or use plant stands. Cover the soil with chicken wire, decorative rocks, or citrus peels.
Introduce unpleasant smells: Cats generally dislike citrus scents, so try placing orange or lemon peels around the pots. Some commercial repellents containing cayenne pepper or essential oils can also be effective (use cautiously and check for pet safety).
Positive reinforcement: Reward your cat for using the litter box with treats or praise.
Address underlying issues: Sometimes, inappropriate elimination can be due to stress, medical issues, or territorial marking. Consult your veterinarian or a feline behaviorist to rule out any health concerns and address potential behavioral issues.

What will keep cats out of potted plants?

A multi-pronged approach works best:
Physical barriers: Chicken wire, mesh netting, or prickly cactus plants (placed strategically!) can deter digging and squatting.
Scents: As mentioned above, citrus peels, cayenne pepper, or commercial repellents can create an unappealing environment.
Motion-activated deterrents: Sprinklers or noisemakers triggered by movement can surprise your cat and discourage visits to the pots.

What smell do cats hate to poop on?

Strong, citrusy scents like orange, lemon, or grapefruit peels are generally disliked by cats. You can also try coffee grounds, garlic powder, or commercially available repellents containing essential oils like citronella or lavender. Remember, some scents can be harmful to plants, so choose natural options and research before using commercial products.

What stops cats from pooping on soil?

Combining physical and olfactory deterrents works best:
Cover the soil: Chicken wire, decorative rocks, or spiky objects like pinecones can make digging uncomfortable.
Sprinkle repellents: Cayenne pepper, citrus peels, or commercial products can create an unpleasant smell.
Citrus sprays: Diluted citrus oil sprays can be applied directly to the soil (test on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t harm the plant).

Does vinegar stop cats from pooping?

While some cats dislike the strong smell of vinegar, it’s not always effective and can be harmful to plants. Opt for milder deterrents like citrus peels or commercial products specifically designed for pet-safe use.

Final Thoughts

Preventing cats from defecating in potted plants can be frustrating for plant enthusiasts. However, with suitable techniques and preventive measures, you can maintain the cleanliness and health of your plants.


Here are some helpful website resources for stopping your cat from pooping in your potted plants:

Remember, consistency is key when trying to change your cat’s behavior. Be patient, try different methods, and consult your veterinarian if you suspect any underlying medical issues. I hope these resources help you find a solution that works for you and your furry friend!

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