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.
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.
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.
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.