Kids love sand. So do cats. And with all this love in the air one could could assume that this is a partnership made in heaven. The problem is that your kids see the sandpit as a plaground: the cat views it as a bathroom. And Mum and Dad view those agendas as diametrically opposed – as they should.
So, how do you keep your cat – or more likely, the neighbour’s cat – from treating the sandpit as an over-sized kitty-litter?
I, for one, think cats have far too many freedoms in our neighbourhoods and think the best solution is to lock them all up. Yet cat-lovers don’t see it the same way I do and will often permit their pet felines to wander the ‘burbs like an idle adolescent. This wanton disregard for others ensures that sandpits everywhere are destined to be used as rest-breaks on the neighbourhood scout.
And while one may assume that cat faeces is the worst offender there is another substance that spells death to the sandpit even more: cat urine. Once a cat has peed in your sandpit there is very little you can do to remove the smell from the sand. The only cure is time or gallons and gallons of water to help dilute it.
Which means that cat-proofing your sandpit is the only option. So, here are some ideas to help keep your sandpit free from these dreaded pests pets.
- Install a sandpit cover.
Whether it be made from canvas, PVC or even a hard-top, a sandpit cover should eradicate most of these problems. The issue then becomes maintaining the cover so that it continues to offer protection against cats and other pests.If you’re thinking about installing a sandpit cover then consider one that forces rainfall to dissipate without pooling and one that children can’t get through.
- Plant some Plectranthus ornatus.
This plant, Coleus Canina “Scaredy Cat”, has a pungent smell that repels cats quicker than an angry dog off its leash. It’s fine for humans so your children won’t be affected but if planted around the perimeter of your sandpit will certainly deter those felines. The beauty of this plant is that the pungency is in the foliage rather than the blooms so it continues to be effective all year round.
- Dribble Vinegar through the sand.
Cats hate vinegar but the downside is that your child’s clothing will come out smelling like vinegar as well.
- Position the dog kennel next to it.
Dogs don’t tend to use sandpits as their bathroom quite as much as cats do but they are a great deterrent for neighbour’s cats entering your yard. So, by positioning your kennel next to the sandpit you can almost guarantee that the feline trespassers will be kept at bay.
- Use citrus peels.
Now this is an effective means to discourage cats but the problem is using it well. As citrus peels dry they become less repellant so in order for it to be effective they need to be replaced every few days. Therefore, it becomes a high maintenance deterrent that could easily be overcome by using one the ideas mentioned above.
Hopefully one of these ideas will work for you and you can manage to sustainably repel cats from doing their business in your child’s sandpit. If you have other ideas that have worked for you feel free to share with our readers in the comments below.