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How Do Cats Affect My Lawn?

A kitten playing with a ladybug

The stealthier culprit that can cause issues for your lawn, don’t go blaming the dog just yet.

As far as lawn health is concerned, dogs tend to be bigger villains than cats. Our feline friends are more intent on using their neighbouring gardens as lavatories than ‘doing it on their own doorsteps.’(!)

This can be massively frustrating for the owner of the abused garden but as cats dig holes in which to deposit their waste, at least it means they tend to do this in the borders and leave your lawn alone. 

The Problems

Cat faeces can be a problem as the droppings may carry parasites that can potentially be harmful to human, we do advise that if you are to pick up and dispose of the faeces then do so wearing gloves and any protective equipment to keep you out of harm’s way.

Cats’ urine is more dilute than that of dogs, so that presents less of a problem for your lawn, but just to be sure you can always pour water on the area to further dilute the urine.

The Counter Measures

Oil of Eucalyptus splashed or sprayed around your boundaries should keep the feline felons at bay. Pepper dust is sold as an anti-cat measure but seldom works, in our experience.

This may be a surprise but cats dislike the smell of Rue, Lavender, Pennyroyal, Coleus canina and Lemond Thyme so plant a few of these throughout the garden space. As a bonus, interplanting will attract pollinators and can help to avoid pests too.

Repairing dead patches:

If dead patches start to appear, try to follow the steps below which should help with the recovery process:

  • Use a rake to remove the dead area, but you will need to be forceful during this process.
  • Next is to rough up the patch to create a tilth, it may be an idea to add some top dressing
  • Cover the affected area in lawn seed.
  •  If needs be firm seed into the soil to help create contact.
  • Simply ensure you water the new patch at least twice a day and don’t allow it to dry out until seed germination has occurred.

The dilution method on urine can be problematical and, even if you are very diligent, you will at some point notice dead patches in your lawn.

Lawn treatments and pet safety:

Fertiliser:

The fertiliser applied on lawns is a semi-organic product and is applied in a granular form. There are no risks to pets or wildlife when this treatment is applied.

Moss Treatment:

This product is iron-based and is applied in liquid form. The product has no risks to dogs and cats but we do advise that you keep them off the lawn for at least a day so the product has time to dry. Grazing animals like rabbits and chicken should be kept off for a minimum of three weeks. 

Herbicide:

In regards to any herbicide treatment, it is very similar to moss treatments other than dogs and cats must be kept off the grass for a one day to allow the product to dry. Whereas grazing animals must be kept off for 2 weeks or until the weeds become unpalatable.

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