Cats Hate Chicken Wire

  • By: Bob
  • Last updated: January 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 3 min.

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.

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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  1. 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 …….

      1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. You can offer to clean up the areas they use at the neighbors maybe once a week. I used to walk with my cat and take dog poop bags with us because I knew he searched for the “right” place about 1 to 2 hours after breakfast. But he had learned to walk with me on a leash and harness first (MUCH easier if you start very early with a bunny or ferret harness and elastic leash and just follow them holding it like a bridal train and giving cues when it is about to go taut and rewarding when they walk with loose leash. Start indoors. Learn clicker training. For adult cats it is much slower more incremental training))

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

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

  6. 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…

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

  8. 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.

    1. I think it is always worth talking kindly to the neighbor. They might be able to provide a solution. I would want anyone bothered by my cat to talk to me first. I often told neighbors to let me know if my cat bothered them. He always had a way to get into my house and spent most of his outdoor time under a shrub checking out the dog walkers. My new kittens are learning leash walking and will have a window catio and a free standing catio. Even though I am low fixed income, that is a priority over having internet, TV, magazines, fashion, salon treatments, etc. etc.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. What is wrong with getting a long washing line and clipping a lead from your cats collar and actually supervising the cat epwhen he /she is out , he /she /it can run up and down the garden , you know like be considerate to your neighbours rather than be a selfish cat person
      My neighbours cat is a pain in the ass , wrecked lots of things including plants in my garden and she doesn’t give a shit
      Cats aren’t the problem it isn’t really their fault it is selfish irresponsible, couldn’t give a damn owners
      If I had a cat I would never let it roam, shit in neighbours gardens , I would be worried it may get killed by foul means or by a car , so I would keep it indoors or buy/build a outdoor enclosure for them

      1. A cat cannot be tethered by its collar. If you di that, the cat will literally strangle itself to death trying to escape.

        You can get harnesses for them though, although I wouldn’t give a cat a long lead as it would probably manage to get itself badly tangled.

        They’re quite stupid animals really, I’ve had three over the years and they’re not very intelligent.

        I came on this site trying to find a solution to my damned neighbours’ cats who seem to like to stand in my back yard yowling all night. It is now twenty to five on a Monday morning and I was woken four times in the night by b**tard yowling moggies. I’m beginning to have very violent thoughts toward them.

      2. Leash walk and supervised cat enclosures are better than tie outs. I tried tie out and a loud noise scared them into a mad dash and I saw the potential danger.

  11. 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.

  12. You can put chicken wire around your fence both to keep your own cats in and other cats out. Don’t be rude to cat lovers here please. I agree that cats should either be indoors or have an outdoor enclosure or both. Right now I keep my two wonderful kitties inside but one day when I own my own place we will cat proof the yard with chicken wire to keep our cats in and other cats out. 😉

  13. My problem is with raccoons. Lots of them. All coming into my back yard (in shifts!) and tearing up the lawn. I have virtually no grass at all left and have purchased soil and lots of seeds to reseed my yard. I’m afraid the raccoons will just tear it up again. Do you think the chicken wire work for raccoons? Thanks!

  14. Thus far chicken wire has worked for my flower bed. However, my neighbors cats and their friends are pooping directly on the lawn. Would chicken wire laid on top and secured at the ends on my lawn cause mowing problems ?

  15. Any iiea how high a chickenwire fence needs to be to keep a cat out? I am wanting to protect my front garden and have decided that putting a fence around it might be the best option of keeping the local cats out. However as it is the front garden and everyone else’s garden, including mine, is not enclosed I’m hoping it doesn’t need to be 1.8m!

  16. I’m having the same problem. Not sure if they are strays or pets. Sooo, I’ve got some chicken wire that I plan on laying I my flower bed but I’m gonna cut it so that they will get their little paws stuck. Hate to do it, but I’m sick and tired of them I my flower bed.😠

    1. I would strongly urge you not to cut it in a way that would harm them. Not only is that cruel – but you could lay yourself open to a personal lawsuit or fines for animal cruelty. The wire by itself works just fine.

  17. I know the chicken wire will keep cats out; we’ve used it on specific gardens but not completely around the yard – yet. Our thing is, we don’t mind the rabbits coming in and out – they’re just doing their natural thing – so would putting the wire down prevent their access as well, or don’t they mind it as much as cats? Anyone know? Thanks 🙂

  18. I’m trying to save new fledgling song birds that can’t leave the ground for another 2 weeks before they develop enough strength. I would like to put 1/2″ chicken wire around their habitat they want to hide in until old enough to fly. But do birds hate walking on chicken wire too? I’ve lost so many baby birds to neighborhood strays. They parents scream and cry for help. It’s a crime that their aren’t tougher laws against cat owners who don’t care.

    1. Thank you! I’ve tried to keep the neighbors cats from stalking the birds I feed. The feeders are high enough in the tree that I have to stand on a step ladder to reach them for filling, but the cats hide right at the corner of the fence and wait for any birds to land on the ground. I have lost count of how many dead birds I’ve picked up. I made a couple of pieces of board with 4” screws through them to make it not a place they want to be. My neighbor called animal control and reported me for torturing and abusing animals! I have chicken wire. Tomorrow I will try putting it down where the cats are wanting to stalk the birds and hopefully I don’t get my garden vandalized by the neighbors again!

  19. Hi I have a garden roof that the cats keep coming over and setting my night light off, disturbing my neighbors and myself, thing is I need the outside night on to see to get to the building, how do I safely deter the cats from coming over the roof with mesh on a flat slanted roof please?

  20. Have tried varous things to keep a cat from pooing in flower beds.
    40mm stone chipping covering works well. They dont like the feel or digging it. However i dont like how it looks.
    Recently tried chicken wire. Actually saw the cat jump off the bed in horror. Again it doesnt look nice. Buried the wire in 25mm of loose compost to make it look better. The cat was back to its old tricks. Depth of cover is important to the deterent feel.
    Am now replaceing with coloured chicken wire and very light cover of compost.
    May work and also be better hidden.
    Considering buying a bazooka

  21. Lay the wire perpendicular to the roof raised off by about an inch or two.

    The principal here is to make it annoying/awkward for the cat to walk. Think of it like doing the tire run at an adventure coarse – a right pain in the ass.

  22. Wow, can’t believe how much of a menace cats really are to loads of people out there! Recently moved into my own place, instead of being happy in my new home, I’m constantly worried about neighbours cats pooing all over my front and back garden and I feel helpless that I cannot set traps for them! It just seems so unfair that they don’t do it in their own yards! What can I do please as these so called repellants just do not work, they are rubbish! I need something that will deter them for good!

  23. Gives me the s*#ts that we have to deter the cats,they are vermin when not controlled.Owners should be able to be reported to stop this annoying pest

  24. I’m thinking of buying chicken wire and laying it flat over my flower bed like a blanket. But how should I secure it in place?

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