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How to keep cats out of a sandpit
(asking for a friend)

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#1 CallMeFeral

Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Thought you guys might have some ideas on this.
A friend has a new cubby house with sandpit. A cat lives next door.
Are there any particular ways to deter cats from using the sandpit? She's going to be mixing some cinnamon into the sand to stave off ants, is there something natural/non-chemical that would make it unattractive to cats, but still safe for kids to play with?

Thanks for any tips!

#2 Becstarinator

Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:59 PM

Get a cover that ties down.

#3 BetteBoop

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

Kids eat sand. Anything you put in the sand, you're putting in the kid.

I wouldn't put anything in the sand, and I doubt anything would stop a cat from crapping on it. They love sand.

Buy a tarp from Bunnings and cover it up. Our sandpit is 4 metres by 1.2 metres and the tarp cost $15.

This also keeps leaves out because degrading organic material can foul the sand as well.

#4 niggles

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:02 PM

She'll need a cover. You can use shadecloth that can be rolled up for play time and then rolled out and held down with a few rocks. I've also seen plastic lattice or mesh used effectively.

#5 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:04 PM

Citronella might deter the cat for a while, but its an oil, so you can't really mix it into the sand. Usually you get it in gel-crystal form, and sprinkle it around the perimeter. She could also check out the motion sensor spray guns, as I'm pretty sure they'd be reasonably effective.

I'd also be asking the neighbour to keep the cat in its own yard, and covering the sand pit when not in use. If the neighbours are not inclined to be cooperative, I'd be trapping the cat and dropping it at the pound.

Like most areas, she probably has more than one cat strolling through her yard and using it as a toilet. So she really needs a permanent solution, like the covering, as well as something that encourages the cats to be elsewhere.

#6 CallMeFeral

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:07 PM

They don't want to do the cover because the way the poles are (for the cubby house above) they are kind of IN the sandpit, so a cover would kind of have to go around them, unless they get a purpose built fitted one made which is a bit of a headache.

Agree that it has to be non toxic to kids, but aren't there things like lavender or citrus etc that cats would dislike the smell of?

#7 niggles

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

I think the shade cloth would still work. She could cut slits where it has to roll out past the legs of the cubby. Or use several strips so one goes under the cubby and the other two go down each side.

She could also turn the underside into a fernery, rockery, chook pen or the like and just cover the surrounds.

I really wouldn't trust anything else. Clean sand is like crack for cats.

#8 AdelTwins

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

Easy - get a dog !;)

#9 Eirinn

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:22 PM

I agree you need a cover - nothing else will stop them.

#10 PrincessPeach

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

MIL uses chilli spray around her garden edges to keep the neighbours cat & dog out of them. But I don't think that is exactly the best things to use near a child.

#11 FiveAus

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

Nothing will stop them except a cover. Once the cat has p*ssed in there.....and it will......it will come back to the same place every time it wants to wee or poo.

#12 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

Put it this way, there is very little that deters a cat (citronella, a lot of,  is about it), and cats LOVE a nice clean litter box - which your friend has nicely furnished for the neighbourhood moggies.

The level of stench required to dissuade a cat from using it is going to be of the eye-watering level. Which means its unusable as a sandpit, because the kids won't be able to get near it either. Cats don't mind lavender at all BTW, there is very little that they object to.

Either cover it or block off access somehow, or get rid of it. Cat poo and pee is not a pleasant 'find' in a sandpit.

#13 noi'mnot

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:40 PM

I agree, it really needs to be covered. They just love clean sand.

#14 Frau Farbissina

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:47 PM

I agree that a cover is the only way to go too.

Using scents to deter them is often uneffective.

I once sprinkled chilli powder around my pansies to deter my own dog from pulling the plants out. Instead it made them even more desireable.... but that's a dog hehe

#15 crackles

Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:40 PM

Putting a cover on it is the best preventative.
Cats hate Vicks. I'd smear Vicks around the outside of the sandpit and up the posts a bit.
The rules are pretty much the same for cats as dogs now so if the car continues to go into their yard trap it and get the dog catcher to collect or take to pound themselves

#16 aussierach

Posted 14 December 2012 - 02:39 PM

vinegar pour a 2litre bottle white vinagr rake thru the sand, cover and let steam for a day or so remove cover allow a few hours before kids play and rake once more... also definalty a cover for when not in use, my cat wont go near our sandpit since we put vinagar in it

#17 saxa

Posted 14 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

Nothing to add, but bahahahaha at this,

Clean sand is like crack for cats.

#18 mewsings

Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

QUOTE (CallMeAliG @ 13/12/2012, 12:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They don't want to do the cover because the way the poles are (for the cubby house above) they are kind of IN the sandpit, so a cover would kind of have to go around them, unless they get a purpose built fitted one made which is a bit of a headache.

A friend of mine got around this by hanging the shade cloth like cafe blinds and rolling them down each evening.  Also worked well to keep the hot sun off of one side if the kids wanted to play after lunch.  Might be worth a try.

#19 2puzzled

Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

there is a citronella based product called skedaddle that you can sprinkle on the area around the sandpit which deters cats and dogs but has to be used regularly. kids are unlikely to pick that up out of the grass. unfortunately I agree with all PPs - the pit needs to be covered when not in use, especially at night when naughty moggies may be roaming and looking for territories to mark.

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