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Can chillie, cayene pepper, curry powder, cumin etc damage the soil

I have a massive problem due to cats, I have tried lemon, garlic, mint, lavender, bottles with water in, spraying them with water and 2 sonic type things to no avail.  They seem to think my garden is their private toilet.  I have now taken an active dislike to cats when they never bothered me before.  I was replacing all my spices so thought I would sprinkle all my old ones in the borders and it seems to have worked! So I have bought more to carry on doing this.  Thing is I have to use quite a lot, plants seem ok at moment but can it do harm if I continue using it?
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  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Please don't use chilli powder or cayenne pepper against animals, it's awfully cruel. Knowingly causing suffering is uncalled for. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • susananwmssusananwms Posts: 201
    I did not think it caused suffering, I just thought they did not like the smell so would avoid the area where it was scattered
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,164
    edited July 2019
    If they get chilli/cayenne pepper on their paws and then lick it or wash their faces they will suffer (same as you would if you got chilli in your eye or other sensitive place). Any children using the garden could also get it on their hands and then rub their eyes or whatever.  Best avoided.
    In my experience the best way to discourage cats from using the garden as a toilet is to keep it full of plants. No bare soil = no toilet area.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,679
    It will cause extreme suffering, cats will get it on their paws, lick their paws to clean it off and also get the powder in their eyes when cleaning their face. Their sense of smell and taste are incredibly heightened compared to humans. Imagine the agony if you handled the hottest chilli known to man, rubbed it on your tongue and stuck it in your eyes. That is what you would do to a cat. 
  • AstroAstro Posts: 357
    I can understand why it may seem a usable idea, seems quite a natural deterant I suppose. And cats can be tinkers ( my cat is 😉).
    Just as well the question was asked as to its suitability.
  • OmoriOmori North YorkshirePosts: 1,539
    I have resigned myself to picking up after them.  Not the most pleasant task but what can you do...
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,539
    You could sprinkle holly leaves on the top of the soil.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,679
    JennyJ said:
    If they get chilli/cayenne pepper on their paws and then lick it or wash their faces they will suffer (same as you would if you got chilli in your eye or other sensitive place). Any children using the garden could also get it on their hands and then rub their eyes or whatever.  Best avoided.
    In my experience the best way to discourage cats from using the garden as a toilet is to keep it full of plants. No bare soil = no toilet area.
    Snap, Jenny!

    I agree with the last para. My borders are pretty full and my two don’t go near them. If there is a spare patch of dry, free soil in a veg bed (as there inevitably is between crops) that is cat toilet heaven. I put a load of short twigs in the ground in bare bits and try to keep the whole bed watered - they don’t like damp ground much and definitely don’t like the twiggy slalom.
  • susananwmssusananwms Posts: 201
    I did not know that it would do any harm so I have removed all the pepper and spices but am at a loss as to what to do next.  The lady next door has about 14 cats, she has been reported by another neighbour and the RSPCA removed a lot some time ago but she has allowed them to breed again so am stuck once again.  I have planted as much as I can, and put mesh down in places, have even got plastic spikes along top of fence but nothing stops them.  I have had to stop feeding the birds because they caught quite a few of the sparrows and the garden smells when they've been.  I'm tempted to concrete or gravel all over just to prevent them. They are a nightmare
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,164
    If you have access to prickly prunings, try putting them on the bare areas.  My cat is an indoor boy but any time I clear an area, other cats will use it. I have a pile of pyracantha prunings in the messy corner by the compost bins which I put around any area that I need to leave unplanted for a while, but inevitably there's still some cleaning up to be done from time to time. Cats will do what cats do.
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