How to Keep Cats From Pooping on Your Mulch

Cats love to explore the great outdoors and catch bugs. Owners who keep their cats as indoor-outdoor pets must understand that they’re going to leave a few presents behind. If you are used to having nice, manicured lawns and garden beds, you probably grow mulch in order to keep the beds looking extra well-tended.

Unfortunately, once those kitties do their thing, the natural look is no longer so appealing. While it might sound like a daunting task, this guide has tips and advice that will be able to help you deal with the issue of cats pooping in your mulch once and for all.

The most important thing to remember is that you have to have patience — there’s no quick fix or miracle cure. If you truly want your cat to stop using your garden as a litter box, then you have to take the proper steps so that they don’t feel the need to come back again.

Why do cats poop in mulch?

If you think about it, cats love to poop in mulch. How many times have you come across a cat pooping on the side of a path among bushes and shrubs? The reason they do this is that those areas are dark, quiet, and offer privacy — which is exactly what felines look for when doing their business.

Your garden bed ticks these boxes, so it’s no wonder why your cat keeps going there.

Benefits of keeping cats away from your mulch

You might be wondering why it is so important to keep your cat away from mulch in the first place. How can a little poop ruin everything? Let’s take a look at some benefits you will gain by keeping cats away from your mulch.

It won’t smell as bad

Getting rid of the sources of these awful smells is something most gardeners dream about. You definitely want to avoid stepping into them accidentally before leaving for work, and we all know how uncomfortable visitors feel when they come over and end up having their noses offended with that stench. The best way to avoid these situations is to prevent the cats from going into that area at all.

It won’t attract flies

Flies are one of those things gardeners hate to see in their gardens, as they make everything look dirty and unkempt. However, many people don’t realize that cat poop attracts flies like you wouldn’t believe.

If your garden has a lot of mulch in it, then it doesn’t take long for those flies to come if there happens to be a pile of poop somewhere, either on top or hidden underneath the mulch.

Once they start coming around, they don’t stop until all the stinky stuff is gone — which will probably take a while since cats can be very persistent in their habits.

You won’t have to deal with worms

Worms are also attracted to cat poop — which is not a pleasant fact for many people. While some gardeners might consider these wriggly creatures beneficial for the soil, others just can’t stand looking at them crawling around and getting into everything.

In either case, it’s safe to say that you don’t want your mulch full of worms because they will make it smell even worse than before due to the increased level of decay happening within those piles.

You’ll keep your garden looking nice and neat

No matter how good everything else was before that came along, nothing else matters anymore until those piles are gone. Nobody wants to waste time picking up after cats every day instead of enjoying the outdoors.

How to keep cats from pooping in mulch

There are several things you can do to keep cats away from your mulch.

Use cat-repellent spray

A more effective option is to use a spray that contains the scent of a predator. Cats are naturally fearful of predators such as coyotes, and they will avoid areas where they smell them. You can buy sprays with this scent at pet stores or online retailers.

Sprinkle pepper flakes on your mulch

If you don’t want to spend money on cat-repellent spray, there’s another common household item that works just as well: crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkling some over your mulch will deter cats from entering the area because it irritates their sensitive noses and paws (in other words, it hurts).

This method also discourages cats from using flower beds as a litter box. Although, it is not recommended for use around children or pets who might get into the pepper flakes.

Set up a motion-activated sprinkler system

Install motion-activated sprinklers throughout the area where the cats congregate. These sprinklers sense movement and spray water when they detect motion. The sight of water can deter some cats from entering your yard, especially if it’s accompanied by an unpleasant noise.

You can buy motion-activated sprinklers at most home improvement stores or online retailers. These devices are designed to spray water in any direction when they detect movement (such as that of a cat), which will frighten off nearby felines and keep them out of your mulch area.

Block access to the area with chicken wire or other fencing material

If you want more permanent solutions than sprays or pepper flakes, consider blocking off access entirely using chicken wire or another type of fence around the perimeter where cats might enter your garden bedding space.

You will need to put down two layers, placing them perpendicular to each other. Cats dislike walking on chicken wire because it is uncomfortable for their paws.

You can also create a barrier with potted plants like cacti, which are unpleasant for cats to walk through due to their prickly thorns.

Make your garden less inviting by removing food sources and hiding spots

Cats are naturally curious creatures who enjoy exploring new places, so they’ll be more likely to wander into your mulch if there’s something interesting nearby (like birdseed or mice). To keep them out of the area altogether – remove any possible food sources or hiding spots that might attract wildlife such as rodents.

Keep away cats with plants they dislike

Cats don’t like the smell of lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, or citrus. These plants can be used as deterrents if planted around the perimeter of your mulch area to keep cats away from it. You could also plant thorny bushes such as holly or cactus for added protection against feline intrusion into your flower beds.

You may want to consider adding some cat-friendly plants that are okay for them to nibble on so they’ll have something else nearby instead, like catnip (which makes them hyper). This way when you’re trying hard and don’t want any felines coming near your garden bedding space – hopefully, this will do trick and deter those pesky critters from entering at all costs.

Train your cat to stay away from certain areas of the yard

If you have a pet cat, there are several ways you can train it to avoid specific parts of your property. For example, try using double-sided sticky tape in those places where cats tend to go – this will deter them because their paws get stuck on both sides when they step down and walk through it (making for an unpleasant experience). If that doesn’t work, then try spraying some orange or lemon-scented spray around those same spots where felines also dislike strong smells like citrus fruit so this might do the trick too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What smells deter cats from pooping?

There are a few different smells that cats tend to stay away from, such as pepper flakes (which contain capsaicin), citrus fruit, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and other plants with strong scents. You can also use double-sided sticky tape or spray some orange or lemon-scented spray around those same spots where felines also dislike strong smells like citrus fruit so this might do the trick too.

Does vinegar stop cats from pooping in the house?

Yes, vinegar will stop cats from pooping in the house because they hate its smell. You can also use double-sided sticky tape or spray some orange or lemon-scented spray around those same spots where felines dislike strong smells like citrus fruit so this might do the trick too.

What is a good homemade cat repellent?

Some effective homemade cat repellents include citrus fruit peel, vinegar, lemon-scented spray, or orange-scented spray. You can also use double-sided sticky tape or place chicken wire around the perimeter of your mulch area to keep cats away from it.

Can I put mothballs near my garden to stop cats from pooping?

Mothballs will not stop cats from pooping, and in fact they can be harmful to both pets and wildlife. There are better ways to deter cats from entering your garden such as using double-sided sticky tape, spraying lemon or orange-scented spray around the area, or planting plants that cats don’t like nearby.


Mulch is a great way to keep plants healthy and add beauty to the landscape. But it’s not a great place for your cat to do its business, as they can dirty mulch, damage plant roots, and spread disease. What’s more, if you have mulch on your walkways, someone might accidentally step in it and track it into your home. If you want to keep your kitty from soiling your mulch, you should consider one or more of the above methods.