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Having a child’s sandbox left out in the backyard can be a lot of fun for toddlers, but it can be a little hard to find a way to keep cats away from these sandpits.
Luckily, if your cat decides that the sandbox looks like a large toilet/bathroom, there are some ways to keep cats out!
Read up on how to keep cats out of sandboxes below.
Why do cats use the sandbox?
In nature, cats naturally do their toilet calls in soft or sandy soils for easy burial. Their stool is then covered by their paws in a back-sweep-like motion.
Keep Your Cat at Home
If your cat is taking the sandbox as just another bathroom, the easiest way to keep it out is to keep it indoors. It is the less risky option and is recommended by feline human and veterinary societies. If your cat has previously been an outdoor cat, it will have to adapt to an indoor environment only. You can help by providing it with lots of cat trees, shelves and hangers, and toys to play with. You could even train your cat to walk on a leash.
Cover the Child’s Sandbox When Not in Use to Keep Cats Away
Another method is by covering up the entire sandbox, if you do not have the luxury of keeping the cat indoors, or if the sandbox has been occupied by other felines. This option not only keeps cats out of their sandbox, but also keeps them free from other objects that may fall there by wind and rain.
Do-It-Yourself Sandpit Covers
You can construct your own cover by using building materials such as shade fabrics, tarpapers, packing tablets, wood, PVC, or henhouse wire. The result should be to do something that does not fly in the wind and cannot be moved by animals easily, but it is easy for you to move it from time to time.
If you are practical, you can even make a deck that is functional, attractive, and includes seats.
Shop-Bought Sandpit Covers
If you prefer to purchase a cover for the sandpit, there are various options:
The “Frame It All” hexagonal sandpit and cover is easily converted from a shadow awning into a lid. You would need to have the hexagon-shaped sandpit just like the awning to fit properly. The “covers” are sold at retail for about $140.
Tarp Supply has simple canvas covers in various sizes as well as custom ones. They are light and easy to tie up. Canvases range in price starting from $55 up to $350.
Sandbox Covers USA sells covers that do not require tying due to heavy edges. Coverages range from $385 to $1,000 depending on size. Custom size is available.
If you choose to fence your sandpit, you can cordon off the area around the sandpit or fence your garden in general. Remember that fencing might not work unless you protect the fence by making it cat-proof, as cats are known to scale the fences very well.
One option in making a cat-proof fence is by using coyote rollers. If you decide to fend off only the area around the sandbox, consider using fences which are meant to be rabbit-proof. This is more likely to keep cats out.
A more attractive option might be the use of small fences for gardens. Put two pieces of it a few inches away around the box to prevent the cats from jumping over them.
Use Aromatic Solutions
There are commercially available scent deterrents for cats, like the “Scram for Cats and Shake Away”, but their effectiveness is questionable. There are rumors about concocted home remedies (in the form of smells) that repel cats.
You might be interested in one of these options but remember that success with them varies depending on cats, as not all of them are averse to the same smells. In addition, placing any scented item on the outside allows the strength of the fragrance to dissipate quickly, even if you spray the area at regular intervals.
Substances that are sometimes used to keep cats out via odor include:
- Citrus peels
- Coffee beans
Warning: Some of these ingredients can be deadly to dogs, so be sure to first check if there are dogs nearby.
Place Deterrent Plants for Cats Near the Sandpit
There are plants that cats do not like because of their smell. Try to landscape the area of your sandbox with this to ward off cats. Some cats do not like the smell of lavender, rosemary, pollen, and the plant “Coleus Canina” (scary-cats plant).
Get a Motion-Activated Deterrent for Cats
A motion-activated deterrent for cats is designed to scare away cats from a location. There are several options available in the market, although they can be very expensive.
Scarecrow Motion Activated Animal Repellent sells for approximately $60 and has an efficacy of approximately 1,200 square feet. It scares the animals with noise and water.
The Havahart Spray Away Hydro-Remote Animal Repellent Sprinkler costs around $100 and covers up to $1,900 square feet. The Havahart uses a jet of water to scare away the animals. It can also be used as a lawn sprinkler.
SSSCAT Spray costs around $30 and emits a perfume-free spray that can scare cats. However, it has a small coverage area because it is made for indoor usage. You may require more than one of these to cover the entire sandbox area, depending on the configuration.
Clean the Sandpit Properly
One major and important task is to clean the sandpit properly. Cats have a sensitive nose and will go to places where there are traces of urine and faeces. Use cleaners that are made specially for cat waste. If you are unsure whether the sandbox is clean, use a black-lighted flashlight at night to scan for traces.
Train Your Cat to Have a New Hobby
If the problem is with your cat, you can train it, so he does not use the sandbox for toilet calls. Just merely saying “no” and taking it out of the sandbox will do nothing but confuse your cat.
Instead, find an alternative behavior that you want it to do rather than getting into a sandbox, and work towards instilling that behavior. One good method is by keeping its attention away from the sandbox, playing with a nearby toy, or even teaching it to use a sandbox that you have allocated only for its use.
Clicker training is a good way to do it and can be fun for both you and your cat.
Many Methods in Keeping Cats Out of the Sandbox
Allowing cats in a child’s sandbox could also be hazardous for anyone handling sand. But with so many alternatives to fall back to, one of the methods above will surely assist you in finding a way to ward off cats from your child’s sandbox. You may have to experiment with different options before finding the one that best suits your situation.
In the end, you would have figured out the best way on how to keep cats out of sandboxes.