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Gardening and cat poo

(11 Posts)
Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 08:25:25

I have a few raised vegetable beds that my neighbours cat thinks are her personal litter trays. Last year I waged an on-going gardener vs cat battle to keep the veg patch as poop free as possible and made sure all veg were thoroughly washed before consumption.

Over winter I've left the garden alone and the cat has got the upper paw. Veg patch would be more appropriately named the poo patch.

So what's a pregnant woman to do? Even if I get DH out to perform a thorough poop-scoop before I don my gardening gloves, will it be safe? Should I consider emptying the beds and refreshing the top-soil/compost?

Even with the best cat-proofing I know I'm not going to be able to keep the cat completely away from from the veg beds even if we do start again with fresh soil.

Scuttlebug Mon 24-Feb-14 08:47:01

I was told that cat poo never leaves the soil unless you physically pick it up, with spade, and chuck it somewhere else. So I would recommend replacing the top soil in your raised beds, maybe only the top foot or so?

Have you tried making nets over the raised beds? I did this last year over a raised seed bed to keep the birds off and they worked well. Four bamboo canes, stretch net all over and pin down with hooks or stones.

I hate cats in my garden, you have my sympathy ( am also preggers so being very aware)

Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 09:13:37

Yeah I feared I might have to go down the new top-soil route. I then need a really good cat-poop-deterrent mechanism or I'll be back to square one in no time

I did make nets over the beds last year in an attempt to keep the cat off. It pooped on top of the net. angry I think I need to try the same thing again but with the net raised higher.

Other tactics have been inserting long wooden skewers at regular intervals all over the beds and criss-crossing bamboo canes across the beds. None 100% successful but have helped keep the poo elsewhere (it just poops next to the beds if it can't get onto them, which is an improvement of sorts).

Our neighbours are moving at some point (which is a shame as they are lovely and the cat is very cute apart from the poo ) so eventually this will resolve itself but probably not before the spring growing season.

Scuttlebug Mon 24-Feb-14 11:12:36

Oh my gosh, you have tried all the tricks - the crossed canes etc, what a shitter of a cat! At least the end is sight and it is moving on!

There is a theory that some people would have immunity to toximosphosis (not a clue how to spell that) having come contact with cat poo in the past so you would probably be ok with wearing gloves and washing the veg. It's just such a vile thing as it is.
I'm impressed you are still in gardening mode, I'm 26 weeks and lost nearly all interest in this season...will do some basics, peas and beans, some winter veg. Avoiding anything that requires masses of diggings like pots, I can't be arsed. I'm having a fallow year wink

Julietee Mon 24-Feb-14 12:30:57

IF you wear gloves and a mask, I think you'll be fine. The risk is eating particles which could obviously be kicked up into the air when you're gardening. I mean, you're probably immune anyway, but I understand needing to feel safe.

If you're digging up veg, heat kills toxo, so cook them and you'd be fine.

Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 13:06:54

Yes it is both literally and figurative a shitter of a cat! As far as it is concerned the beds are her litter tray and I am being grossly unreasonable trying to grow vegetables there.

I'm a cat owner myself and have had cats for years so there's a reasonable probability I'm immune to toxo anyway, but for the sake of a few vegetables I don't want to put myself at unnecessary risk.

I'm going to be gardening elsewhere wearing gloves but the rest of the garden is a different matter.

I might just whack potatoes or something similarly low maintenance into the beds, cover them with netting and do everything else in pots and growbags. At least potatoes get a good boiling before eating so should be pretty safe.

flymo79 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:05:24

i agree - cooked veg should be ok. My GP told me the thing about immunity (also if you have ever eaten rare steak, apparently) but I would also be careful with gloves etc. I used to put huge bunches of holly in my raised bed when the neighbour's cat took it upon himself to poo all over my goods. it worked for a while

Alb1 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:37:12

May not be a very helpful suggestion, but my in laws spread curry powder around the flower beds an other popular poop places as cats hate the smell of it and they say that works a treat! Personally my cats are quite partial to a good curry, but they are adamant that's how they keep the cats out so thought it cudnt hurt to mention it lol

Alb1 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:38:01

I realise that doesn't help with the toxo issue obviously, jus thought for a suggestion for later on once top soil etc has been decided

HazleNutt Mon 24-Feb-14 20:47:43

you can find out if you're immune by simple blood test - I'm in France and here they test all pregnant women. Could you ask to be tested?
I have had cats all my life and am not immune though - had 3 cats while pregnant, still didn't get toxo. Most people get it from eating undercooked meat and not from cats.

ilovetosleep Mon 24-Feb-14 22:22:18

I was scared about toxo too but more from rare meat. Anyway I realised toxo immunity is in my booking bloods so check those results (Nhs trust depending I guess) and i was very shocked to find out I am not immune despite years of gardening in pooey soil and eating blue steak as a staple my entire life. So unfortunately, don't assume you are immune!

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