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Keeping Play Areas Safe From Cat Mess

To keep your back garden a safe and clean environment for your children to play in, you may need to discourage the neighbourhood cats from pooping under the climbing frame or messing in the sandbox.

Keep your garden smelling like roses with these top tips for cat deterrence.

1. Create Cat Barriers Don't worry, we're not recommending your use a barbed wire fence. Cats don't like the feel of pine cones or rocks under their paws, so by creating a border around your play equipment, or the edge of your lawn, you might be able to discourage them from setting foot in your garden.

2. Stink It Up Some scents that we love, are repellent to cats. Camphor found in vapour rubs can be spread on a smooth stone and placed in the area you want protected. You can also buy sticks or non-toxic crystals infused with citrus to spread over the garden.

3. Clever Planting Use plants to direct feline visitors to cat-friendly areas of the garden and away from the places you want to stay clean. A catnip or cat mint plant in the furthest corner of the garden will draw cats away from your play equipment, but they hate curry plants, or lavender bushes, so plant these near your play areas.

4. Home Remedies Want a quick and easy deterrent made from ingredients you have in your kitchen? Try sprinkling the lawn with vinegar or a cup of coffee, as cats hate the smell. These will be washed away easily though, so will need replacing regularly.

5. Provide A Cat Toilet If you don't mind dealing with the cat poop, but you just want to keep it away from your children, install a cat litter box in the garden. When you find mess outside the box, scoop it up and put it into the litter tray. The offending cat will recognise the smell and start to use the tray instead. This is may be the best solution if the mess is coming from your own pet cat an yo don't want to scare it away from the garden.

6. Sonic Alarms Some larger DIY stores stock sonic alarms that are activated by movement and emit a sound that humans can't hear and cats can't stand. Although this system requires a greater initial outlay than the methods outlined above, it offers a more permanent solution, and the payment is a one off, rather than a recurring cost like sprays and crystals. If you don't have an outdoor electricity supply, look for solar or battery powered systems.

7. Intensive Action If you have a patch of freshly dug earth which has newly attracted cats, you may need to take intensive action, by employing multiple methods at once. Although this will require a significant amount of effort, after a few days the neighbourhood cats will quickly learn to avoid your garden, and are unlikely to return even after you stop applying the replants.

Finally, even when all these measures have been implemented, a determined feline may have made their presence felt (or smelt) in your garden. Carry out an occasional inspection of the areas most likely to be fouled, such as under the climbing frame, in the sand pit, and in any loose ground coverings such as bark or sand.

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