Miaow-ch!!! The do-dos and (definitely) don’ts of problematic cat poo

Published on: Sunday, 15th September 2019
County vet John Rosie

The founder of a county based vets practice, has responded to the divisive issue of cat poo in your garden by urging people to adopt a sensitive, low-impact way of managing the problem.

Founder and MD of the business, John Rosie said that he is keenly aware of the value of cats as domestic pets, but it is also better placed than most to understand the potential dangers of cat faeces.
According to John, cat faeces can be particularly dangerous if ingested because it can carry toxocara worms, which can cause eye problems or even blindness in children; as well as toxoplasmosis, which can be hazardous for pregnant women.
To combat the problem, there are plenty of non-specialist online forums, exploring everything from movement-activated water jets and ultra-sonic devices to citronella sprays, hot pepper dust and vinegar.
But in the wake of International Cat Day – and in recognition of the fact that the UK’s eight million domestic cats makes us a nation of committed cat lovers - John advises moderation in response to cat poo problems: “Cats are very territorial and, because they often deem a neighbour’s territory to be their own, they will leave scent markings in whatever way they can.
“There is nothing a cat owner can realistically do to prevent their cats exploring neighbours’ gardens, so rather than waging war on cats for following their natural instincts, the problem needs managing in an informed and moderate way.”

So what exactly can you do? “It’s often best to use physical barriers,” says John, “like harmless rubber spikes on fence tops and in flower beds. And rather than looking for remedies for established cat problems, it can be much more effective simply to minimise your garden’s appeal. Get rid of gravel or loose patches of soil that are easily dug. Keep the lawn in good condition with the grass mown and avoid encouraging birds and squirrels with feeders.”
Iff the problem persists and you really can’t bear cats in your garden?  According to John, the ultimate solution is simply to get your own cat or dog: “Although it might seem counter-intuitive, it helps reset local territories, making your garden a distinctly unattractive place for local cats to congregate.” 

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