“ Manufacturer: Wilko / Type: Repellent „
I recently installed a sonic cat repeller in my back garden and felt it was quite successful. This was all very well, but I also have a smaller front garden. While you would think that the neighbourhood cats would do the decent thing and confine our little battles to one theatre of war, it turns out that they never signed up to the Geneva Convention. I suppose it's understandable in a way. If you have two toilets and one's occupied, you just go and use the other, don't you? This is how it seems to be.
I think I can hear you saying, "So go and buy another Sonic Cat Repeller. Problem solved." The trouble is that they're not cheap and at an arm and a leg for two batteries, I'd be spending more pennies than the cats are. Anyway, the front garden really is very small: a couple of gravel patches and a couple of borders with a few plants and the odd rose bush. It would feel a bit like scrambling a squadron of jet fighters to shoot down a Chinese lantern.
I did notice that I could pick up a tin of .22 air gun pellets for only £10.95, but shooting cats is cruel, probably against the law, and anyway inefficient and ultimately more expensive; especially as I don't have an air gun.
So off I went to Wilko's and found:
Wilko Cat and Dog Repellent Granules
What I REALLY wanted to do was to persuade these incontinent interlopers to return to their masters' and mistresses' gardens so they could present a calling card on my behalf. These granules looked like they might be the boys for the job.
It cost me £4.00 for a 500g re-sealable bag. They're almost white and apparently "0.5% natural aromatic plant oils on an inert clay base".
I'll tell you something - I'm glad it isn't 0.6% aromatic plant oils. 0.5% is quite enough aroma for me, thank you. As repellents go, this is repulsive. The aroma in question is garlic and it stinks. I like garlic. I frequent Italian restaurants, have Indian takeaways; I've even been to France on holiday. I'm not against garlic, but dear me!
Still, I figured that if I didn't like the smell, there was a good chance the cats wouldn't either.
One thing you need to know about this is that before you apply the granules, you have to clear the site of "any signs of fouling". Errrmm. I think that means that you've got to move the cat poo. Ewww!! Yuck! But I did it. I also repaired any signs of digging, as instructed, so that the area was "as clean as possible".
All that remained was to scatter the granules evenly at a rate of 3g per square metre. I wasn't going to get the kitchen scales out for this one, so I just guesstimated. Once done, I found that the bag did re-seal easily and I washed my hands thoroughly.
Now to wait and see.
Trust me to live in a French feline enclave! They love the stuff. Garlic? Mais oui, monsieur!
At least that's how it seemed after Day One. There was more mess than before.
I evaluated, like you do, and decided that my measurement had been unscientific and therefore unsatisfactory. Consequently I treated the front garden again, as indeed the packet says you will probably need to, and this time I was more scientific and guessed at twice as much.
I might be getting somewhere. Even if all the cats in my neighbourhood are, in fact, French ex-pats - there's a good chance that their garlic tolerance has a limit. Since the second distribution there seems to have been less, if any activity. That's the good news. The bad news is that my roses smell of garlic.
My main conclusion is that this stuff probably works with a big enough application, but at £4.00 a bag you wouldn't want to be treating a very big area. Also, I'm not convinced that the cats' tolerance to the smell won't adjust in time.
I've grown garlic in the past, and maybe it would be cheaper simply to plant some out. It might be significant that I have a fairly large patch of shallots in the back and the cats don't seem to have gone near them.
I'll give these granules three stars, because they do seem to be working - but there's a cost.
Footnote: I love cats and I was JOKING about the air gun. I also love the French.