Any ideas on keeping cats from using areas as a litter box?

Have a new issue that I have never dealt with. One client has cats using her slate chip patio as the litter box, and another client has cats getting into the custom firepit we built and are using it as a little box. The firepit has a gas burner under a sand layer. Any ideas on how to discourage cats from an area?
  23 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on Apr 19, 2012
    We have a neighborhood cat who liked to do his business in a flowerbed in front of our house. I sprinkled cayenne pepper and cut up a bunch of lemon and orange peels to put in the bed. Problem solved.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 20, 2012
    Water works good to in the form of a motion detected sprinkler

    • on Jul 11, 2020

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  • Pam Pam on Apr 20, 2012
    Cover the area with pine cones. Or cover with chicken coop wire and mulch overtop. They can't dig.

  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Apr 20, 2012
    thanks for the thoughts. I like the idea of a wire mesh under the sand for the firepit. The homeowner will not see it, and since they are not his cats, he has no easy way to keep them out. Now, just to make sure the chosen metal will tolerate the heat. It will be warm, but is actually below the flames, as it is in the sand and the burning gas is occurring once it escapes. The client with the patio may need to use a pepper or chemical deterrent, as it is a patio they will be using a lot, and don't want the cats to completely reject entering the area, just not use it as a litter box.

  • Carolyn B Carolyn B on Apr 20, 2012
    moth balls, cayenne pepper, spray water bottle

  • Michele B Michele B on Apr 20, 2012
    moth balls are not a good idea, a small child who sees them might mistake them for a toy or god forbid even candy. poisons should NEVER just be left laying around! besides which they smell like hell and who wants to use a backyard you can't breathe in?

  • Abigail S Abigail S on Apr 20, 2012
    A local master gardener recommended spraying the soil with vinegar when I had this garden problem

  • Linda A Linda A on Apr 20, 2012
    I heard moth balls too, but then again I heard an old man say "put mirrors all around they see themselves, get scared and run off!" I don't know if this has been proven, I don't have that many mirrors, but I LOV'EM CATS!! I have three

  • Teresa A Teresa A on Apr 20, 2012
    1 habinaro chili , 6 cups water puree. add tsp of dish soap spray area 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks then once every couple weeks. or after it rains or fire pit is used.

  • Mary L Mary L on Apr 20, 2012
    I have lots of neighbors cats using my bark mulch in flower beds and walkways as litter box...been wondering same thing

  • Trish M Trish M on Apr 21, 2012
    Coffee Grounds works really Well...Orange and Lemon Rinds Ground Up Tooo...Messes with the cats sense of Smell...Keeps the hairy Boogers outa the nest in My Big tree in the front yard and the Flower beds...Makes the Soil Happy Too

  • Amy M Amy M on Apr 21, 2012
    crushed red pepper or cayenne works for me. You need to remember to use it weekly or so. Also - be careful not to inhale the cayenne powder!!!

  • LouAnne S LouAnne S on Apr 21, 2012
    Our local wildlife columnist suggests planting a few starts of catnip in a corner near the area the cats like. According to him it works in his own yard. He says they come, get "drunk" on the catnip and then wander home!

  • Gene Gene on Apr 21, 2012
    I think this would work for cats. To keep rabbits from eating my zinnia seedlings, I cut 1" chicken wire into 12" squares. Then, I snipped several places throughout the square. Every place I snipped and all around the edges I turned the wires up. The rabbits cannot see these lying in the beds but they do not like them.

  • Kelly S Kelly S on Apr 21, 2012
    I put close gap lattice around my flower beds at the old house. The holes were too tight for them to get in and I made it just high enough for my to get over it. They were too big to jump over it. A motion sensor with a fierce attack dog sound or maybe a beautiful fence around the fire pit with a gate so your clients can enjoy it when they wish, but keep the critters out.

  • Pam Pam on Apr 22, 2012
    Vinegar will kill your grass and plants. It works better than Round-up in killing weeds but kills everything else. Don't use it near your flower beds. However, if you have a problem with Tom cats spraying their skunk like spray to mark their territory on you deck or woodwork or wood furniture, apraying venigar will neutralize the odor and does keep the cat at bay as long as the venigar smell lasts. I have this problem and after 3 applications of pure vinegar sprayed on my deck, the Tom found other neighbors to assult.

  • LouAnne S LouAnne S on Apr 22, 2012
    If you have a dog who frequents your back yard, be VERY careful of some of these remedies. Dogs sniff and sometimes lick new things in your yard, but the catnip patch won't hurt a dog.

  • Connie E Connie E on May 18, 2012

  • Pam Pam on May 18, 2012
    I tried moth balls and cayenne pepper in a garage to keep cats from jumping on the car and scatching the paint job up while jumping. Didn't work. They jumped up on my car even with a whole box of moth balls around and under my vehicle and cayenne pepper sprinkled all around. I must have had had "cajun cats". I think they liked the cayenne.

  • Mary P Mary P on Aug 16, 2012
    I ordered an item called Cat Stop from Petco and also Four Corners has the same item. It is a unit you insert in the ground or wherever and it emits a sound to discourage them. One is solar and the other is battery. My tenant says it works good to keep them out of the chips in the yard.

  • Laura Hatchett Laura Hatchett on May 05, 2016
    Its the sand in the firepit! Not sure about the slate unless they're scent marking. Another animal may be visiting at night and they're trying to cover something else's scent. HTH!

  • Kari Landuyt Kari Landuyt on Jul 09, 2016
    Not sure what the firepit looks like, can you make a cover to place over it when not in use? I've seen several that have a wooden lid over top and it can be used as a table during the daytime and then removed to light it up at night. This website has some pretty good deterrent ideas to try. Hope it helps.