Don’t put a cat among the pigeons

Soil crazy: My cat George took five minutes to sit in, and then roll in, my compost-filled potting tray.

Soil crazy: My cat George took five minutes to sit in, and then roll in, my compost-filled potting tray.

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EVEN if you’re a cat lover, as I am, you can’t deny they can be a complete pest in the garden.

George, my cat, is a huge ginger tom who has failed to put a dent in the bird population because he’s a rubbish hunter.

He can’t help but make a noise like Hannibal Lector (complete with juddering jaw) when he sees a bird. I swear you can hear the sparrows laughing at him.

However, I have threatened to skin him for his love of newly-dug soil – especially if it has just been sown.

To cats, this is a luxury toilet. So how to stop them?

I did buy an ultrasonic cat scarer, which he became accustomed to, but drove my stepson insane!

I put down spiny branches until plants are big enough. It costs nothing and seems to work.

Here’s some other ideas from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds:

* Surround an area with a fence (such as chicken wire) that leans in the direction from which the cat will approach.

The cat can’t climb over the angle.

* Flimsy plastic roll-up fencing on top of a fence can prevent cats climbing over it.

* Taut wire or string fitted 10-15cm above a fence-top makes it difficult for cats to balance.

* Place half-full plastic bottles in borders, an old gamekeeper’s trick, as the light reflection is supposed to deter animals.

* Thread old CDs on twine across beds. The light reflections deter cats and pigeons.

* Coleus canina, marketed under the names Pee-off and Scaredy-cat, has a pungent odour that is said to repel cats.

* Scent deterrents will either serve to repel (eg. Citronella) or mark a territory (eg. Silent Roar), or try orange or lemon peel. Don’t aim at it – the noise of it hitting a nearby bush should be a deterrent.