Taming Furry, Friendly Pests

Learn how to manage your garden and keep unwanted furry guests out of it.
Furry Domestic Pet

Furry Domestic Pet

Keeping wild animals out of the garden is tricky at best, but domestic animals can be just as difficult to control.

Keeping wild animals out of the garden is tricky at best, but domestic animals can be just as difficult to control. And they, too, can cause considerable damage - unless, of course, they've been trained like master gardener Paul James' dog.

"Years ago I taught Maggie to stop when she came to a mulched area, and since every square foot of my garden has mulch, she's never been a problem," he says. "Unfortunately, however, I need to spend a little bit of time with our latest arrival, Lucky." Yet, although dogs can do considerable damage to the garden, he says he usually hears more complaints about cats.

Paul researched the issue of controlling cats in the garden and found several different gadgets. The first is this medieval-looking device that is basically a mat of spikes. To use, you simply place the mats on the ground in areas the cats tend to frequent and the spikes serve as an attention-getting deterrent to would-be garden invaders. "With all due respect to the folks that make these things, I'm not sure I want to protect my garden with spikes, largely because I'd probably be the first one to step on it," Paul says. "And I wouldn't want my kids playing around it either. But I can see where it might come in handy around a bird feeder, bird bath or even a pond filled with fish."

Repellents have been popular for years, especially granular products that you routinely sprinkle around plants or the perimeter of garden beds. Unfortunately, most such repellents on the market must be applied daily, which can be a huge drag. The active ingredient in them is toxic if absorbed through the skin.

This little gizmo uses the same active ingredient but at least it houses the ingredient in a cute mushroom- or bell-shaped housing. To use, simply fill the perforated post with granules, screw on the lid and place the whole thing in areas where cats (or dogs) tend to be a problem. According to the manufacturer, one of these things offers protection roughly 12 feet in every direction. What they don't tell you is how long the granules are effective. "So I guess you just replace them when it doesn't seem to be working all that well," Paul says.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Slugs and Snails

A slug or snail problem in a developing garden may go unnoticed because of their nocturnal feeding habits of eating small leaves whole, or nibbling the edges or underside of larger leaves.

Tell Spider Mites to Bug Off

Spider mites flourish in warm, dry conditions so water plants regularly to safeguard against infestation.

Voracious Japanese Beetles

These little critters are a gardener’s worst nightmare, devouring more than 300 varieties of plants.

Yellow Jackets

Get tips for finding — and eliminating — yellow jackets before they find you.

The Buck Stops Here

Protect your garden from deer.

Aphids 411: How to Beat Them in the Garden

Aphids are literally born pregnant and a few dozen aphids will breed into thousands in a matter of weeks.

Q&A: Cucumber Beetles

Here's a tip on how to get rid of cucumber beetles.

Squash Bugs in the Garden

Early detection of a squash bug problem is essential for preserving crops. Once an infestation is underway, management is difficult.

Pest-Controlling Oils

Today's horticultural oils are effective, low in toxicity and can be applied just about any time of year.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth

The White-lined Sphinx Moth starts out as a caterpillar and uses soil to turn into an adult moth.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Desert Flippers

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c
2pm | 1c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love It or List It

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.