Effective ‘tea bag’ hack to stop cats using your garden as a toilet

Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests

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Animals such as cats and foxes find gardens attractive places as it gives them space to explore. While it is good for them to explore, some gardeners may find them to be a nuisance if they ruin the garden or use it as a bathroom. Keeping animals out of the garden completely is near impossible, but there are some measures to help protect plants and crops.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, QVC’s Gardening Expert Richard Jackson, said: “Keep cats off your seedlings and young plants with tea bags.

“Spray old tea bags with deep heat type muscle treatment.

“Then place it in problematic parts of the garden and, if needed, cover with a sprinkling of soil to disguise them.”

Cheap tea bags can also be dabbed in peppermint or eucalyptus oil. It is thought that animals such as cats and foxes will find the scent too overpowering and stay away from wherever they are placed.

It is ideal to place these scented tea bags wherever the animals tend to use the toilet, so somewhere shaded or under plants.

The expert added: “These smelly oils should last at least two weeks, even if it rains.”

Gardeners can use a similar technique by using a plastic bottle. Pierce several holes into the sides of an empty plastic bottle. 

Pack in some tea bags, seal and then place the bottle in your garden. The scent of the tea bags will seep out of the holes but the bags themselves will be out of reach.

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Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress.co.uk, has shared top tips on keeping cats and foxes out of the garden.

He told Express.co.uk: “If foxes and cats are causing you trouble by sneaking into your garden and eating away at all your crops, then there are a few useful methods you can use to try and deter the animals without hurting them. Building a fence is probably your best option.

“Make sure that it is at least six feet tall and buried in the ground. For extra protection, you can also add some netting to prevent the animals crawling through from in-between the pickets.”

Britons should also make sure they aren’t leaving food in the garden. This could be in the form of food in bin bags or left out food for animals.

Chris said: “This includes bins or composters, ripe fruits fallen from trees or bird food scattered from the feeder.”

Any toys and shoes should also be kept away from the garden as these can keep animals like foxes entertained for hours.

Strong-smelling plants can also deter cats, including lavender and rosemary.

Felines reportedly hate the smell of lavender and are much less likely to go to the toilet around areas with this beautiful flower.

Gardeners could also keep plant flowers close to each other. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), densely planted borders are “less appealing” as toilet areas.

This is because there is no bare soil and cats like to dig after they go to the toilet.

The RHS also recommended using one or more of the cat deterrents on the market if you notice cats messing up the garden.

They explained: “They fall into two groups: repellents that are supposed to offend the cat’s sense of smell or taste, and electronic scaring devices that produce a sound that may cause cats to move on or a motion sensor to release a spray of water.”

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