CatStop and Scarecrows Blast the Pests Away
by Debbie Teashon
A cat using my beautiful humus rich vegetable garden soil as its over-sized cat box is not an appetizing thought. Even if the neighbor’s well-kept indoor kitties never experience the outdoors, the feral cats are out there, looking for the next place to leave their deposits. Finding cat feces around my beautiful vegetables can be a deterrent to eating homegrown food.
Deer and raccoons decimating the fruit on my trees is enough to make me see red. I wouldn’t mind sharing with them, but when they destroy the whole crop leaving me nothing for my hard work and expense, I draw the line on giving them any leeway in my garden. Who has time to stand guard 24/7, ready to chase anything that walks on four legs or looks cross-eyed at me? A tall fence can keep out the deer, but it will not deter a hungry raccoon.
So what’s a gardener to do?
Two products I use, Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler and CatStop, made by Contech, utilize a motion sensor that is activated when a pest comes within close range. The scarecrow sprinkler lets out a quick blast of water that frightens the animal away, while CatStop lets out a repelling sound that only cats can hear. The sensor picks up motion for up to 20 feet away, protecting my precious beds from scratching felines rearranging my seedlings and leaving unwanted presents behind. Both products deliver me from the rascally, mammalian interlopers and save me from raising my blood pressure when their natural wild behaviors wreak havoc in the garden.
The number one principle that I practice is not to poison or harm the wildlife in my backyard. The blast of water or ultrasonic sound humanely sets clear boundaries, protecting my food sources and prized plants.
The most destructive pest in my garden is the raccoon, followed by the deer. The only thing that helps keep them away is the scarecrow sprinkler. The cost of the unit was well worth it, especially when I harvested my first batch of plums the unit protected. The sprinkler also deters cats, rabbits and herons fishing for prized fish in a pond. I prefer to not adorn the scarecrow with the colorful decals that come with it, instead leaving it black and unobtrusive in the garden.
Unfortunately, one animal that refuses to leave the sprinkler alone is my Australian Shepherd dog, Kono, who thinks the sprinkler is his new friend that I put there so he can chase and catch the blasts of water the scarecrow shoots for him. It does deter some dogs, but not mine! However, Kono helps keep the garden watered with his obsessive-compulsive game with his new sprinkler-friend.
If you use the motion sprinkler, don’t forget to turn it off when you are out puttering in the garden or bring guests outside to view it. Speaking from experience, a blast of drenching water can really put a damper on your day; the sprinkler cannot discern the difference between the domesticated garden diva or the wild beast (your husband?) roaming your patch of green earth.