Nothing is more attractive to kitties than soft, fine soil, and it's super annoying when they disrupt a carefully planted row of carrots or upend the pansies I have just stuck in the ground. This is not to mention the smelly mess that's left behind.
Over the years I have discovered a few of what I like to call "cat baffles."
- Lay row cover over newly planted seed beds (this also deters insects). Or use chicken wire or cheap lightweight plastic fencing (about 3-4 feet high or wide) sold at big box garden centers. Secure with rocks or garden staples. When the sprouts are big enough to defend themselves, remove the row cover or fencing. Usually by then, the soil around the plants is firm enough to be less of a temptation to cats.
- Use inexpensive folding wire edging - the kind about a foot high - placing it over the row of seedlings or newly planted seeds in a tight zigzag pattern. This also offers some support to the plants as they grow.
- Put up a temporary chicken wire or plastic fence about 3 or 4 feet high around just-seeded patches. I've found most cats won't bother trying to jump even a flimsy barrier.
- Use plastic milk jugs with the bottoms cut off to cover transplants. Remove when the plants are well established. You can also use plastic or wax paper cups. Mound enough soil around the base of the cover to prevent it from blowing away. These also protect the plants from hot sun and wind.
- If these inexpensive solutions don't work for you, many garden supply catalogs sell motion-activated "scarecrow" devices that hook up to a hose and spray a strong jet of water at invading critters. They're a bit pricey, but you can move them around the yard and train cats (and dogs, deer and other animals) to stay away.
- Finally, if your yard is big enough, look for an out-of-the-way place that doesn't get regular water where you can loosen the soil and just leave it to the cats. And remember, firm well-mulched ground is not that attractive to them.