Venus fly traps just aren't big enough...
February 7, 2015 1:45 PM   Subscribe

How can I stop cats from peeing on the outside of my front door? Plants maybe?

I've realised that the reason one of my cats is peeing on the inside of our front door is that someone else is peeing on the outside. It's pee rather than spraying, and pretty low odour, but it doesn't stop it being annoying.

It's a PVCu door on a brick plinth, and the front garden is covered in slate chippings with old railway sleepers as stepping stones. I've steam cleaned the door and plinth, and attacked everything in Nature's Miracle, but the cold war continues.

Instead of fighting the war indoors, I've been trying to think of ways to move it outdoors. Is there anything I could plant that might dissuade it? I was wondering if, for example, planting lots of catnip in the slate between the door and the first sleeper might distract them away from their war...?

The gap between sleeper and plinth is about a foot, and the plinth is about 8 inches high. We're in the UK and the area is pretty dry and sheltered (due to the porch). Thoughts?
posted by sodium lights the horizon to Home & Garden (11 answers total)

I've no idea if it works or not, but there's Coleus Canina.
posted by Solomon at 2:22 PM on February 7, 2015

People claim that some cats don't like citrus (mine could care less). Maybe you could sprinkle some ground up orange or lemon peels around.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2015

Is there a way you could create a physical impediment to the cat getting within five feet of the door? Set up some fencing, or try child gates, etc? If you could remove the access for a while, the smell should fade and the cat might move on to other stuff.

Alternately, how about a non-physical perimeter (or pee-rimeter as the link I'm about to provide would have you say)? We use mountain lion urine to deter animals in the foothills of California, this website says that their wold urine will deter cats. Use it to create a big ring around your front door that the other cat won't dare cross.
posted by arnicae at 2:46 PM on February 7, 2015

If it was plants you were trying to keep the cats out of, I say sprinkle plain old ground black pepper thickly over the area, and reapply as needed: cheap, easy to do, and doesn't cause permanent harm to the cats or plants. I guess you could also do it on your front steps: dampen down the area then sprinkle the pepper so the moisture makes it stick?
posted by easily confused at 3:16 PM on February 7, 2015

You might try one of those motion detecting sprinklers to chase them away from the door, you probably wouldn't need to have it there for very long before they got out of the habit.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 3:18 PM on February 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cougar or coyote urine works well. I think I had better luck with the coyote for this purpose. It was awhile ago so I don't remember real well.
posted by fiercekitten at 3:33 PM on February 7, 2015

I'm currently trying to decide which is most likely to leave me with a dead postman/mailman problem - the smell of giant predators, or a motion sensitive water pistol. :)
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:47 PM on February 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

We've sprayed orange oil around outdoor places we don't want feral cats to linger, and it's worked extremely well.
posted by phatkitten at 4:01 PM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would scrub the entire area with a combination of some sort of OxyClean-type product and Simple Green. When it's thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed clean, re-spray the entire area with full strength Simple Green. In 45 years of having multiple cats, this is the only combination of products I've found that removed the smell so that even the cats can no longer tell it was once peed on. (Simple Green smells minty, by the way. It's natural and if you can't find it anywhere else, Walmart usually carries it in the auto supply section.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:38 AM on February 8, 2015

Please avoid spreading pepper (or worse, chili powder). The cats can get it in their eyes and do serious damage to themselves scratching and pawing at the irritation. Look for "scat cat mats" - I've seen them in garden supply stores and even in dollar stores. Plastic spikey mats that cats do not want to walk on. Lightweight, easy to kick out of the way when people want to walk through; easy to move back into place to block the cats.
posted by dmvs at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

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