Wednesday 15 May 2024

NONSENSE citrus peel hack to deter cats from your garden

Citrus peel hack to deter cats from your garden is nonsense
The hack the news media says deters cats - lemon peel scattered around flower beds. Image: MikeB

I've seen this a lot. News media websites restating what they say is the greatest domestic cat deterrent for your garden and it only costs 30p in the local supermarket. They say that citrus peel i.e. lemon and orange scattered around the flower beds is the best deterrent because cats hate the smell of citrus peel.

Immediately I can think of two things wrong with this suggestion which make it less than wonderful and probably ineffective after an hour if it was effective in the first place.

Lemon peel dries out in the sun quickly, perhaps in about one hour. It will lose a lot (almost all, I'd argue) of its smell after about an hour or so and it will no longer become a deterrent if it was originally. Do we expect the gardener to race around to pick it all up and re-scatter a fresh load every hour on the hour? Nah! 😢😃

Secondly, a person who is concerned about a domestic cat coming into their garden and onto their flowerbeds is going to be someone who is a good and concerned gardener as well. 

They're going to want to protect their flowerbeds because they are beautiful. And because they've put a lot of effort into them. 

It's impractical to suggest that this person, so proud of the appearance of their flowers, will find it acceptable to scatter piles of lemon peel in between the plants. It's going to look ridiculous and unattractive.

The cure is worse than the initial problem and in any case it isn't a cure. After many years of writing articles about domestic cats including deterrents because it's one of those pet topics that the news media bring up from time to time (excuse the pun), I can say that the ultrasonic cat deterrent is probably the best with about a 50% success rate. I don't think you will get much better than that.

Do ultrasonic cat deterrents work?

You will find many other hack deterrent such as coffee grounds. I don't think coffee grounds work very well. There is an ancient cat deterrent which is the plant called Rue. Crushed rue I believe has a reasonable success rate in deterring neighbour's cat coming onto your back yard.

Infographic on herb Rue as a cat repellent

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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