10 Simple Ways To Stop Cats From Pooping In Plant Pots


Cats are quite particular about their poop. They like to go on something they can dig a hole on. Hence, the everlasting problem of every household, cats pooping in potted plants.

If you are dealing with the same thing, you must be wondering: How to stop cats from pooping in plant pots? Well, I may have some solutions for you.

  1. Use cat repellent.
  2. Cover the soil with cardboard.
  3. Cover the soil with stones.
  4. Grow strongly scented plants.
  5. Cover the soil with aluminum foil.
  6. Build a fence.
  7. Use lemon or orange peels.
  8. Use strong spices. 
  9. Install ultrasonic cat deterrent.
  10. Move plants away.

We are looking for solutions that won’t hurt the cat or make it sick. All of these solutions are safe for cats. Also, you are going to have to try more than one solution, because you have to figure out what works on your cat.

With that said, follow this guide to stop your cat from pooping in plant pots.

Use Cat Repellent In Your Garden Area


The first thing to try is the most efficient way. Not ideal, but quick and easy. Using cat repellent to deter cats from unwanted behavior. Most cats don’t like the scent of cat repellent so they will avoid it no matter what.

These products are specifically made with scents that cats don’t like. You can make one at home using some essential oils and water. If you have some in stock, maybe try that.

Just spray some cat repellent around the plant, not directly on it. If you have more than one plant, cover the whole garden or yard. Make sure to dilute the cat repellent with water. The chemicals may be too strong for the cat.

The only unpleasant thing about this solution is that you can smell the repellent as well. So, it’s not that great for indoor plants. If they are not isolated, your house will smell as well.

[Related Article: What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing And What Can I Spray]

Cover The Soil With Cardboard

You don’t have to deter the cat from going near the plants. There is another way. Just cover the soil so the cat can’t dig. Cats prepare before pooping. They like to find a nice surface, dig a hole, poop in the hole, then cover it.

Do you see where I’m going with this? If the cat can’t dig, it won’t poop in the plant. One safe way to cover the soil is to use cardboard. Make sure that there is a hole in the middle so you can still water the plant.

This will not work on every cat though. If the cat got used to pooping in the plant, there is a chance the cardboard may not bother her. It may notice that something is off, but it will still go there by habit.

Cover The Soil With Stones

It’s the same solution as before, you just use stones instead of cardboard. You have to admit stones look better. Your plants would definitely work better.

Use big enough stones though, cats will be able to dig through small stones. Smooth stones will look better but cats still may poop on them, river rocks work best. So, it’s not ideal.

Try using white rugged stones, the cats won’t like how it feels against their paws. It depends on how much the cat cares about her routine and how used it is to the plant. Some cats will still finish their business, no matter the surface.

Cover The Soil With Aluminum Foil

Here is another way to cover the soil so the cat can’t dig a hole, aluminum foil. Cats will be deterred from the weird surface and the crinkly sound aluminum foil makes. This time, sound plays a part too.

The foil is not that thick though, so it may tear apart. Especially with the cat’s sharp claws. So, just place several layers of the aluminum foil there. It’s worth a try, if it doesn’t work, try something else.

Grow Strongly Scented Plants

Now, what you can do here is improve your garden game. I’m talking about growing plants that carry scents that cats don’t like. I know that this is not something everyone is willing to do. Some people may not have the space. And how many indoor plants can you have after all?

If you are willing to do this, it’s fun and it will also stop the cat from going near the plants’ area. Cat’s dislike the smell of rue, lavender, Coleus Canina, lemon thyme, and pennyroyal.[ Source ]

Growing these plants is really easy. More so, it will make your garden a lot more pleasant to take a look at. Also, they may attract some pollinators that will help with the other plants as well.

Build A Fence Around The Plant

A nifty solution is to build a fence so the cat can’t access the pot at all. To do this use chicken wire. It’s easy to handle, and it won’t hurt the cat if it tries to jump on the plant. [ Source ]

Just shape it into a cone and place it around the edges of the potted plants. You can also try using spiked collars for trees. These are used mostly for trees but you can try fitting them on a plant.

Place Lemon Or Orange Peels

Instead of growing plants, you can use leftover fruits that cats don’t like. There are some strong citrus scents that most cats will avoid like hell. Use lemon peels, orange peels, or citrus peels around the plant and on the soil.

As you may know, these fruits have a really strong scent that’s hard to get rid of. So, just peel some lemons and oranges, and place the peels around the plants. It may take some time before the cat figures out that the peels are there.

Place them on the plant where the cat usually digs a hole. That’s where the cat is most likely to go again. I’m giving a guarantee that this will work because the peels lose the strong scent after a while. Also, the cat may be unbothered, still be able to dig, and go again.

[Related Article: Do Cats Like The Smell Of White Vinegar]

Use Strong Spices

You can try using strong scents against cats again, see how other things work. A good way to do this is with dry herbs that have an especially strong scent. Brewed coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, lavender, rue, anything strong you can think of.

Check if any of the herbs will damage the soil. If not, place them around the soil. If they are bad for the plant, place them around the plant.

Again, this may not work, it depends on the cat. Try several solutions to figure out what works.

Install Ultrasonic Cat Repellent

The most effective way to make sure your cat goes nowhere near your garden, no matter what is ultrasonic cat repellents. These devices work on motion sensors. When the cat sets of the sensors, the device lets out an ultrasonic that the cat can’t handle.[ Source ]

After a few times, the cat hears the sound, it will avoid that area at all cost. The sound won’t bother you at all, that’s what’s good. These devices are a bit expensive but worth it if you want to protect your garden.

There is a disadvantage though. The sound may upset neighborhood dogs and make them bark. If you are using it for indoor plants, and you have a dog, then it will disturb your dog.

Move Plants Away

Now, this may sound absurd but the absolute best thing to do here is just to move the plants away. If you separate the plants in another room like a patio or a garden room, the cat won’t be able to access it. Of course, you have to stop it from accessing as well.

I know that this is not an option for some of you. So, that’s that. But if you are able to do this, by all means, do it. The reason why this is the most preferable option is that you are not using any scents, chemicals, or devices. A solution that won’t add a smell to your home or an annoying device.

If you still like the cat to be able to access the area where the plants are, maybe install an indoor cat door. Once the cats have pooped in their litter boxes, you can open the kitty door.

[Related Article: 5 Best Cat Door For Interior Door 2021]

Alternative Solutions

Here are some alternative solutions, try them if nothing worked from the first list.

  • Cover soil with pine cones.
    Cats like a smooth surface on their paws. If you make it sticky or rough, they will think twice about going there again. You can cover the soil with pine cones or fall leaves that are kind of prickly. Be aware though, the cats can hurt their paws on some of these.
  • Train the cat with a spray water bottle. 
    If you are willing to put some effort into this, you can observe your cat. As soon as it comes near the plant, spray it with water. Just put some water into a spray bottle and have it ready on hand. After a while, the cat will figure out that it’s not wanted there.
  • Wash the garden and the yard. 
    This won’t work with the house plants but if we are talking about garden or yard plants, it will work. Cats are used to their scent, they are creatures of habit. So, eliminating their smells will maybe stop them from going there again. Just wash the garden with a garden hose. This alone won’t work if not accompanied by another solution. It will stop unwanted behavior from neighborhood cats as well.

Why Do Cats Poop In Pot Plants

We already mentioned this throughout the post but it’s worth explaining it separately. Cats like familiar ground scents, and they like surfaces they can dig through. It’s classic cat behavior, digging a hole, pooping in it, then close the hole.

That’s why litter boxes are built like that. It’s the perfect surface for a cat to go on. Well, the flower bed of plants is like one giant litter box. The smell and the surface attract them, so they poop on it. What’s worse is that they get used to it. Once they get used to that sense of smell, they will go there forever.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is Cat Poop Bad For Cats

Although you may think that poop should be good for cats, it’s actually quite bad. It may contain properties that are bad for the plant. Cat poop can damage the roots.

How Do You Neutralize Cat Poop In Soil

You can’t use any chemical to neutralize cat poop smell on soil without ruining it. It’s best just to dilute the soil with water, and let that work.

Tim Adams

Tim has experience of 15 years with a wide variety of pets. Anything animal-related is his passion, so he is here to share some good practices to know about owning pets.

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