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My neighbor's cats like to use my backyard as their litter box. I clean up after them frequently. I have two young children and worry that I might have missed something and my kids will get it all over them.

How can I stop the cats from doing this?

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closed as off topic by Chris Cudmore, Niall C., Steven, ChrisF Feb 21 '13 at 23:23

Questions on Home Improvement Stack Exchange are expected to relate to home improvement within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You need a device called a ScareCrow (no, not the straw kind!). It's a garden watering sprinkler with a PIR (Passive Infrared detector) attached. If anything walks in it's field of view, it sprays an arc of water for a couple of seconds over a wide area. Hardly any water is used but the cats will be gone. It will also scare off deer, foxes and even burglars.

I was sceptical but tried it after nothing else worked (pellets, ultrasonic devices, etc) however I didn't have a single instance of 'littering' once it was installed, and oddly even when I removed it to go on vacation, the cats still didn't return for months afterwards!

Only drawback is they need mains pressure water connected. The batteries last for quite a while.

Quick youtube vid showing the device in action

Or see the reviews on Amazon: Contech Scarecrow

No, I don't work for them - I just think it's a brilliant product :)

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There is a version of this which actually aims the water jet at any moving animal in the garden, which is much more fun! – Rory Alsop Feb 19 '13 at 9:14
Really? Do you have a link? – NickG Feb 19 '13 at 12:36
Will try and find one - it does basic location finding using IR and points the jet the right direction. Looks awesome. I was tempted to buy one last year :-) – Rory Alsop Feb 19 '13 at 13:16

There is a full set of answers on this topic over on Gardening SE: http://gardening.stackexchange.com/q/125/174

Ideas include:

  • coffee grounds
  • lion or tiger manure or urine (erm....okay)
  • Holly leaves or other sharp thorny plants
  • mint and citrus
  • Liquid ammonia
  • Cayenne pepper
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Get yourself two dogs that have the run of the back yard. That will keep the cats away. You'll still have to clean up after the dogs but at least you can feel some positive value in that as you are doing a good thing hosting two dogs from a shelter that are now under your care.

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Why would dogs keep cats away? I don't get it... Guessing you don't own both if you think cats are afraid of dogs. – NickG Feb 19 '13 at 17:30
I have owned both. Separately and together!! Cats in my house with the dog got along fine. The neighbors cat that killed and ate birds in our back yard stopped coming when we gave our little American Eskimo dog the freedom to come and go from the back yard via a collar operated electric dog door. As a matter of fact a favorite activity of his was to watch out the patio door looking for the cat to be on the fence. If that ever happened he would race out and chase it away. So there - now why the down votes? – Michael Karas Feb 19 '13 at 17:59
I didn't down vote I merely commented. The down votes are likely because it was a stupid and impractical suggestion. If I had more 'karma' I'd down-vote it myself. – NickG Feb 19 '13 at 21:33

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