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Q: I am so frustrated with my neighbors and their cats. The cats use my flower bed as a litter box, chase the birds away from my bird feeders, and make a nuisance of themselves yowling all night long. I have spoken to my neighbors about their cats, but they just shrug it off and tell me that "cats will be cats." Is there anything I can do?
A: Despite what many outdoor-cat owners believe, they are indeed 
responsible for the behavior of their pets. Cats are territorial, but their 
territories often extend beyond their owners' property lines. Responsible cat 
ownership means knowing where your cat is at all times.

Sound impossible? It’s not. Cats can be trained to stay in their own yards—and stay indoors at night. This assures both their safety and the solitude of the neighborhood for other residents. As with dogs, spaying or neutering a cat will make it less likely to roam the neighborhood (and get into fights).

With regard to keeping them out of your yard and plants: There are many commercially available products (some toxic, some not) designed to discourage cats from using your plants as a toilet area. Not all of these products are effective for every individual cat, so you may have to try several to find one that works for you.

There are all sorts of ways you can discourage cats from messing with your plants, including:
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  • Dog feces
  • Large stones
  • Upside down mousetraps (seriously!)
  • Chicken wire mesh
Motion sensitive-style sprinklers can also be effective; once a cat is doused with water, it’s unlikely you’ll see him or her again soon. Tan bark and wood shavings should not be used; for cats, that stuff is just…really luxurious litter.