Cat Problem

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

Hi there,

I have a problem with stray cats using my tomato garden area as a litter box in the winter time. I go out every spring with a pooper scooper to get it out.

My tomatoes did ok for quite some time this year, and then suddenly something went wrong. Some say it looks like blight, some say it's possibly gray spot, some say they think it's water damage - too many answers.

I'm wondering if it's my soil, and if these cats aren't creating havoc in it. I'm going to lay something over it this fall to keep them out, but am still curious if this could be the cause of everything in that spot dying (including my marigolds).


Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

just my lucky week - not a single answer. I will take that soil to a local extention and maybe if I'm nice, share what they say to me, with you all. :-)

Buffalo, NY(Zone 5a)

Karrie, I had cats using my roses as a bathroom, I went to starbucks and 2 -3 bags of coffee grounds later no more cats. I did this in april and the mulch has gone undisturbed since, try that, and from experience the grounds haven't harmed any plants either.

Jesteburg-Wiedenhof, Germany(Zone 8a)

HAH Karrie,
it's your lucky day that I re-signed tonight.

I have always had a problem with the local stray pussies until I remembered an old trick from my Gran in Glasgow.

When she was trimming her roses, she used to cut the pieces down to about 4" lengths, then lay the thorny bits in between the places where the cats used to go without paying their penny, which meant when these bursting kitties would sneak into our garden for a clandestine pinkle, they would get the first shock when their soft wee paws would be pressed onto a lovely big rose thorn. Saw the end of those wee pppppp..... ers from our place.
If you don't have roses, maybe a friendly neighbour can help, just quiver the eyelashes, and he'll give you enough to keep lions away ;-)


Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

somradientpig & wintermoor, thank you both for your help. I am uncertain about the coffee, because it adds acid to the soil, but will look into it. I like the rose bush idea - I have tried plastic forks pushed into the ground, pokey side up and that has helped - but it takes many, and you can see them, where plants haven't yet covered up.

Glad to see you back Wintermoor! I'm a newbie - joined last November. Wonderful place here!

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

My original question, however, is if that "kitty poo poos" can actually hurt the soil, causing damage to the plants that grow there. My tomatoes were grown there (after much scooping this last Spring) and although they did well at first, about Mid-Summer something happened to them - the leaves started dying. I wonder if there is something wrong with my soil, and if the cats could have caused this.

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Karrie, just stumbled on this post looking for answers to my soil questions. I've had similar problems with cats in my garden beds and found TWO things that work well. One is orange peel. They do NOT like the scent. I edged my beds with it, and also dropped some at the holes where they were coming in my backyard under the fence.

I also used the coffee grounds another time. The grounds do not have the acid in them that the coffee itself does. It is safe and even good for your garden, and esp. your tomatoes.

Hope this helps!
~ Carole

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Its posible that the plants were burned by the raw "manure." The main concern about cat (and dog) wastes would be that people can catch the same parasites they get. Not a good thing!

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

Well, the cats haven't gone in there since I put the plants in. But prior to that, in early spring, I went out with a pooper scooper and removed all of it before planting. My question is whether it had already hurt the soil itself. Also, other plants (like my marigolds) planted there suffered the same damage. I need to get the soil tested I think.

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

No. It won't hurt the soil. If removed soon the risk from parasites would go from low to very low.

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

or the acid from their urine as well? I do plan on covering up the area after I pull all the tomato and marigold plants this fall - I used chicken wire held down with rocks in another area last year, and it did the trick, all winter long. But I am planning on starting a new area for my tomatoes after this happened, and just plant flowers in the other area.

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Outside the potential for parasites animal wastes are beneficial to soils. Being carnivores cats, dogs & people are subject to the same parasites. If well composted I would feel comfortable using it in my flower beds but, not in my vegie garden. I don't know much about parasites in urine. I have read that gung-ho male composters take every oportunity to add to their compost pile. The acidity of urine is not a factor. Without the addition of wood ashes it is on the acid side anyway.

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