There is nothing worse than stepping into your lovely garden and stepping in something that should not be there. Oh Poo! There are various animals that may come and visit you during the day or at night and use your lawn or flower beds as a latrine.
The little presents could be left by badgers, rabbits, dogs, hedgehogs and more but 2 of the main culprits are cats and foxes.
Are you waking up to parcels in your garden each morning? Do you have young children and are fed up with having to go outside and ensure that there are no poops to clean up?
We are going to look at how to tell the difference between cat and fox poo so you can ascertain who the mystery pooper is and do something about it.
Cat Poo or Fox Poo
Although cat poo and fox poo can often be around the same size, there are noticeable differences to help you identify which animal is leaving you special gifts on the lawn.
You can usually tell if it is cat poo or fox poo when you look at the smell, shape, colour, and the content.
Healthy cat poo is small, smooth, and cylindrical with no discernible contents visible and it will be a deep brown colour with a firm consistency like that of modelling clay.
Fox poo is small and dark, almost black and will usually have fur, bone, feathers or berries visible. The smell is musky and appears twisted with one end ending at a point.
Recognising Other Poo in Your Garden
|Cat||3 – 10 cm||Deep Brown||Cylindrical, Rounded Ends||Firm to Soft||Mild||No|
|Fox||5 – 20 cm||Dark Brown, Almost Black||Twisted, Pointy at the End||Rough due to Contents||Strong, Musky||Bones, Fur, Berries|
|Badger||Various||Various||Piled in a Small Dug Hole||Wet/ Sloppy||Sweet, Musky||No|
|Hedgehog||1.5 – 5 cm||Black||Shiny, Tapered End||Squidgy||Mild||Berries, Insects|
|Rabbit||< 1 cm||Green, Brown||Spherical||Firm||Mild||Grass|
If you have discovered that the problem is cats, read on however if you think you have realised that the problem is foxes pooping in your garden, check out our other article on how to keep them away.
How to Stop Cats Pooping in Your Garden
Cat poo can be a real pain and it is known to harbour diseases such as toxoplasmosis which is particularly dangerous for those that are pregnant or with a lower immune system so if you have a cat poo problem, it is a good idea to try and deal with it immediately.
Toxoplasmosis can also remain in the soil, so if a cat has taken a dump near your vegetables, ensure that you remove a little of the surrounding soil too.
There are many tried and tested ideas that have been known to work although they do experience a varying success rate depending on where you are so it may be a little trial and error to solve your problem.
1. Chicken Wire
Prior to making their deposit, cats will look for a suitable spot and dig so it is a good idea to lay some chicken wire over your flower bed.
If laid correctly, the chicken wire can be hidden just beneath the soil and prevent the cat from finding a comfortable spot to do their business.
It is best to lay chicken wire before you see the first shoots in the spring so that your plants and flowers are still able to grow as normal.
2. Electronic Devices
There are a range of electronic devices (amazon link – opens in a new tab) that are available that will emit a high-pitched noise barely audible to humans.
Some of these devices remain on consistently and others are motion activated so they will only go off once they sense movement in sensor range.
The efficiency of these devices for these devices is hotly debated and are best used when directed at entry/ exit points to the garden or at the problem area you are trying to protect.
Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and there are a few home-made remedies that can be sprayed to keep cats away.
Citrus, Lavender and Peppermint are three things that cats really hate and can be sprayed on your garden to stop them pooping near your prized begonia’s.
Do not forget though, when using natural remedies sprayed on your garden, you will need to respray after each rainfall as the odour will not last.
4. Motion Activated Sprinklers
One thing that we know is that domestic cats do not like to be sprayed with water. The good thing about this is that it keeps foxes and other visitors away too.
Added Bonus: A motion activated sprinkler system will also keep your plants and flowers well-watered too!
5. Dummy Cats
You can purchase dummy cat ornaments that will usually have glowing eyes that can be placed around the garden.
Dummy cat ornaments are best used in conjunction with other methods such as odours that cats dislike.
Remember to periodically move the ornament around the garden as the cat will soon realise that your ornament is not real!
Last, but not least, having a dog is the best deterrent to having visits from cats that want leave droppings in your flower beds.
When you have a dog, a cat is far less likely to see your garden as part of their territory, but it does involve having another mouth to feed.
If you have a dog, you will still need to pick up poo but at least it will be located on the lawn and not next to your fresh carrots.
Okay, so there are many ways of how to tell the difference between cat and fox poo and you should now be able to identify the culprit.
Cat poo will usually be small and have the same consistency throughout, and fox poo will usually be twisted and full of bones, fur, and other items that have not been fully digested.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Foxes will poo in some strange places like on stones or logs to mark their territory!”
“Fox poo will usually be twisted and have a point at one end!”
“Cats will bury their poo is loose soil or in mulch. They will not usually go in the open or on concrete unless attempting to dominate another cats’ territory!”
“Make sure you remove the soil around the cat poo as toxoplasmosis can live in cat faeces and soil for up to 18 months!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Do foxes poo in your garden?
Foxes may well use your garden to defecate as they will do this to mark their territory. Foxes may poo on lawns, garden furniture, rocks, logs, and anything else that they have deemed to be theirs.
What does foxes poop look like?
Foxes poop is dog-like and twisted at one end. The poop will also contain fur, bones and other materials that have not been digested.
How do I identify cat poop?
Healthy cat poop is small, cylindrical, and deep brown. It will also be firm to the touch but not solid – a similar consistency to that of modelling clay.