Cats Hate Chicken Wire

One of the best and most useful cat deterrent tips I ever found online was that cats do not like the feel of chicken wire on the pads of their paws so they won’t climb it and avoid walking on it if at all possible.

Not only that but they can’t dig in any areas you have strategically placed the wire making it the best cat deterrent against digging I have yet to find.

Of course, it is not going to be the perfect solution for many gardeners. If you have established perennials in your beds then it is going to be difficult to lay the wire but if you use bedding plants, grow annuals from seed or perhaps grow vegetables in raised beds then preparing the area before planting will ensure your seeds or young plants remain in the ground and that you won’t be finding any more buried surprises.

Here’s what I did for a raised bed to try it out.chicken wire to prevent cats digging

After preparing the soil as normal ready for seeding I laid out the chicken wire on top and used some long tent pegs to hold it nice and flat. I then spread my seeds and sprinkled a thin layer of compost on top of both the seeds and the wire.

This made the wire barely visible while ensuring no more cats would be able to dig in the soil.

I used 40mm mesh but you could use wider if you were growing bigger plants.

If you are planting bedding plants or growing large vegetables then you can simply cut the wire and bend it over to make holes for your plants.

If your borders and beds are established then cut the chicken wire in smaller lengths to cover any bare spots or particular problem areas and then cover with a layer of mulch to hide it.

I’ve also seen some raised beds that are used for growing veg with the chicken wire simply placed around it and held in place with bamboo canes to create a fence as this gardener has done below.

chicken wire fence

A little unsightly perhaps for flower beds but it does the job when growing crops. I went with this method on one of my raised flower beds but used a pond net I got from B&Q for a tenner as shown below.

protecting raised beds from cats


It is a little easier on the eye although cats won’t mind standing on it as its not wire so I had to make sure it was securely fastened around the edges.

You can just about make out the cable clips I used to fasten the left side of the netting down. I used weights to hold down the other side so I could easily gain access for thinning out the seedlings.

Another way to use chicken wire to protect your garden is to just lay it on the floor if cats are entering your garden in a particular spot. Part of our raised deck was an easy access point used by one particular cat who would drop onto the deck from a fence post. Once I laid the wire down on the deck the cat would not jump down onto it.

I couldn’t leave it there full time as we have a toddler using the garden now and then but it does seem to work so give it a try.

When using chicken wire always wear gloves as it can be sharp on the cut edges. I used some wire snips to cut it and then always bent over the cut edge so there was no risk of either me or the cats cutting themselves.

In summary

Chicken wire is the best cat deterrent I have yet to use. What’s more you only need to buy it once. You can lift it out of your raised beds each year when it is time to weed and dig in some new compost and then lay it down again.

For established beds you will need to lift it to do your weeding but as it is going to be in easy to handle sizes it shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, if you cover the wire with a good mulch you will have less weeding to do any way.


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  • Peggy Shaw says:

    Having had continuing problems with cats fouling my front lawn I have tried several forms of repellents from the off-the-shelf sprays and sprinkles to chilli powder and white pepper and sonic scarers all to no avail. However, all is not lost as your chicken wire trick has resulted in 4 weeks of cat poo free grass! I can’t thank you enough. Luckily the lawn is not massive and as the grass has grown through the mesh it is no longer noticeable; it seems to work perfectly. Now for the back garden …….

    • Bob says:

      That’s great news Peggy, so glad it’s worked for you 🙂

      • Chrissy says:

        Thank you for the post and for the reviews. I recently had back surgery and found it hard to clean up 6 1/2 months worth of poop from my front garden. I really wish in my neighborhood it was not allowed to have outdoor cats. I have nothing against animals, but I am a firm believer they are your kids and it is your job to keep an eye on them and make sure they are not destroying other people’s property. It is so simple to me. I have tried the dog and cat repellant, had to buy more dirt after cleaning it out and just redid my landscaping less than a year ago, I just bought rubber mulch and dumped a thick layer of the dog and cat repellant on top. I will make my way to the hardware store and pick up some chicken wire to place on top in hopes to keep them off.
        Fingers crossed all these measures will do the trick.

  • Linda says:

    Is there a difference in using 1″, as opposed to 2″ mesh holes in the chicken wire? The 2″ is considerably cheaper. Do you have a low cost suggestion on hand?

  • Vanessa Pincott says:

    I have two cats that obviously love dearly. My problem is I really don’t think it’s right for them to use other people’s gardens/property to poop in. I’ve tried without success to get them to use the constantly cleaned and refreshed cat litter tray but to no avail. How can I encourage them to use my garden. They’re my pets, I’m happy to clear up after them but really unhappy that my neighbours suffer. Any help would be most appreciated. I’m moving to a new house and I really don’t want to referred to as the cat lady.

    • Ann says:

      Maybe the cats should stay in the house. Or on a leash when out doors like my dog is. When I walk him I take him to a wooded lot and pick up after he is finished. Then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    • anon says:

      Get a life, get some kids or a Dog.

    • Chrissy says:

      Thank you for your attempt to find a solution to help your neighbors. God knows before I moved I had a huge problem with my neighbors cats. They used our front yard and in 1 day 3 out of the 5 of us stepped in the most disgusting cat poop ever. Not to mention 2 of us had flip flops and another work boots. What a mess!!! Not to mention gross. It seemed like the cats would not go on their own lawn. We tried so many things and spent so much money trying to put stuff down to stop them. Now that I am in my new place I have noticed I have the same problem. It can be very frustrating. Especially since having back surgery. If I felt physically able to take care of a pet I would have a dog. I love animals and over the years I have owned a dog, 2 cats, and reptiles. I hope you can find a solution because silently I can guarantee it bothers your neighbors more. We had moments we had to avoid our friends that were our neighbors so we didn’t snap and cause a huge argument. We usually waited until we calmed down. It is hard when the kids couldn’t play in their own yard because of someone else’s pets.
      When I was growing up my mom had an outdoor cat and the neighbirs poisoned her probably because of this reason. Needless to say she acted completely out of character before she left and never came back. Years later the truth came out that the neighbors husband did in fact put poison out because he was tired of the cat going by them.

  • Vanessa Pincott says:

    I think it’s absolutely right that pet owners should take full responsibility for their pets.

  • Zey says:

    Unfortunately chicken wire did not work for me. Neighbour Cat pooped on it 🙁
    Any more ideas/solution?

  • Matthew Wood says:

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this with wood post? My cat is climbing our 6×6 balcony post and ripping it to shreds…

  • Andrea Beck says:

    My front garden is laid with gravel, how do I stop cats pooping. Some times, they don’t even try to cover it up.

  • Mavis craig says:

    My problem is that i cannot let my rabbit out in its run due to new cat next door. Very unfair that they can sit and enjoy their garden whilst their cat roams in my garden and i spend my time worrying the cat will appear and scare rabbit to death, literally, as rabbits die if getting unexpected fright.

    I love cats and mine was house cat so gave no offence to anyone.

  • Pat Davies says:

    I keep cats and rabbits together and it’s the cats that get chased by the rabbits. One cat plays with the rabbits and they chase each other. Don’t worry!

  • Rick says:

    There should NEVER be anybody’s animals on your property, and to Vanessa comment I have tried, NO YOU HAVE NOT, KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS DO NOT LET THEM GO IN OTHER PEOPLE’S YARDS SIMPLE AS THAT.

  • Laurie says:

    back in the 70s, dad trapped em and shot em. wouldnt work nowadays. lol! (one seemed to be a tomcat and was diseased, and they didnt want it around us kids.

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