How to Keep the Cats Out of Your Sandbox

We have a cat problem at our house.

There are several cats that roam the neighborhood.

They’re fun for the kids to watch out the window or “meow” at on walks.

But they’re not so fun when they’re lounging on my front porch or in my sandbox.

After spending an entire summer not being able to use the sandbox – thanks to the neighborhood cats that had taken it over – I finally decided it was time to take action.

Super simple and FREE solution that will keep your cats out of the sandbox all summer long!

I did some research, and I wasn’t thrilled with my options:

I could put up a fence (not an option)

I could purchase a cat repellant from the pet store (it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t guaranteed to work, it had to be used daily, and I wasn’t thrilled with potentially spraying chemicals where my kids would be playing).

I could sprinkle cayenne pepper around the sandbox (but this isn’t necessarily safe for the cats and could actually harm them.)

I could ask the zoo to donate lion dung and sprinkle it around the perimeter of the yard (as fun as that sounded, my house smells like poop all on its own – I really couldn’t picture adding a stockpile of lion dung to the mix).

So – Even Steven and I concocted our own cat repellent, and it has been working well for nearly two years now.

Once a week or so:

Even Steven pees in a cup.

And then he pours it around the perimeter of the sandbox.

Works like a charm.

The cats stay away – and we don’t have to pay money, spray chemicals or drag home lion dung to keep them away.

And – no – Even Steven doesn’t just pee straight into the yard. We try to maintain some level of class…

About Anna Luther

Hi, my name is Anna, and I'm here to share my stories, make you laugh and help you feel better about your crazy, messy, fabulous life.

55 thoughts on “How to Keep the Cats Out of Your Sandbox

  1. Ha! I have a problem with a neighborhood cat pooping in my garden… I might have to give this a try. I'm sure my son wouldn't mind the job!

    Megan @ Lemon Tree Studio

  2. LOL! My husband asked why he didn't just pee directly onto the ground. I told him because we live in a civilized society. MEN!

    1. It works for foxes and coyote’s, I pee around the chicken coop and the fence. It works. Basically you are marking your territory as the biggest and meanest thing in the neighborhood. We are in farm territory so taking a pee in the back yard isn’t likely to be a public spectacle.

  3. Oh I am cracking up!! But at the same time, I am putting this on my to do list! We have been having cat problems for about a year now. We have used the so many things and none work. Haven't tried pee! And it is waaaay cheaper than everything else! Worth a shot!!

  4. That is a great story! Thanks for the laugh. Glad it works, we have cats, but I can't stand when they think meeting time is on the back porch. You are right about your furniture, you look like a cat yourself if you sit on it! Thanks for the tip.

  5. holy cannoli – I just laughed until tea came out of my nose! That is AWESOME and we have the same problem. PROBLEM SOLVED! Thanks.

  6. Perfect timing for this post. We have a cat that is in our garden day and night and is attacking our own cat. Now I know what to do!

  7. Good tip!! That must be why we don't have cats on teh porch.. but, got a confession, my guy don't need cup..but there's no neightbors here!!
    Malvina-sew-sew

  8. Omg funniest post I've ever read. Thanks for the laugh! I'll have to keep it in mind if we ever have a stray cat problem! ;)

  9. If this totally grosses you out, you can purchase fox urine. Meant to help keep away rodents, as well. I haven’t figured out how they get all those little foxes to go in cups, though. Does someone hold the cup for them? Does that job pay well? Wonder if they’re hiring…

  10. OMGee… that is too funny! I found you through your map tutorial on Remodeloholic! (And that is a fabulous idea too) – I was especially intrigued when I saw the button on Cincinnati because that is where I live!!! (Well, Northern KY) – great writing, love your blog!

  11. OMG! We have neighborhood cats as well. And I HATE finding them on my deck. But I am glad that they keep the mice from the backyard woods away from our house. So I’m thinking I may need to steal your idea this spring. If Even Steven can do it…so can my Andy.

  12. That class that you speak of… my husband does not have it. He pees right off the porch. After dark at least… but really?

    Oh, and it does keep the cats at bay, which is kind of awesome considering we have no less than 10 strays on our street.

  13. Does he sell his pee? That’s some pretty powerful pee!! JUST KIDDING (the selling it part) !!!! HI-LAR-IOUS…and useful!!

  14. I clicked over to see what your deterrent was, since I linked up right after you with a Garden Critter Deterrent using garlic salt and cayenne pepper. You might just be my new favorite blog. You are hilarious!

  15. Hi. I wanted to share with you what they do in Italy. They fill plastic water bottles with water and just leave them where cats tend to spray (like in doorways). I’m not sure why this works, but it does.

  16. People tease me all the time because I do the same thing to keep rabbits away from my flower beds. I read years ago that if you put a perimeter of human pee around your beds they will stay away. Has worked like a charm!

  17. Fab idea! I am going to have Pi go to town in our front garden. No need for class- we’re in the city and it’s just another typical sight….wait, what? Yeah, drunks coming back from sporting games like to pee all over. Maybe I should just pay them to pee in our front garden….

  18. This post is hysterical!! I imagine this will have everyone peeing in their yards bahahaha!!!

  19. And I was all set to try cinnamon… This sounds much more effective. And funnier, to boot!

  20. Wow. We’ve been together for a long time, huh? Since 2011! So! About that book…………

  21. We had a stray that was mean hanging around and destroying stuff. Left the cushions on my patio chairs one night and two of them were shredded the next morning. We laid the grill cover on the patio while we cooked and then went in to eat when we came out the dang cat had delivered 3 kittens on the grill cover. We finally got a live trap to catch her and took her to the animal shelter and was greeted with a sign that said they weren’t accepting ferral cats they had too many. Luckily for the cat someone wanted some barn cats and they took her, even after we told them how destructive she was. After reading this post I sent my husband and son a text and told them to start marking their teritory around the patio. Luckily we live in the country and our neighbors aren’t close enough to see them. Crossing my legs that this will help with the stray cats.

  22. I’ve heard this method works for deer as well – to keep them from eating your flowers. We had a neighbor who would send her sons out to pee around the rose bushes (at night of course when no one would see). ;)

  23. Sorry to be a dumbass here, but I have a practical question for you. Is there something specifically wonderful about MALE pee? Or would girl pee work, too? I don’t have easy access to what it sounds like is needed here, but I’m totally not above peeing in a cup myself if it would get rid of the evil vermin that congregate in my yard. And on my porch. Right in front of the door so their fleas just cruise right under the door onto my cat. Grrrr. Where exactly do you (he) put the pee to keep them off the porch?

    1. I don’t think there’s anything magical about male pee – it’s just easier for them to pee in a cup. I’m pretty sure that girl pee would work too. For our porch, we pour the pee all around the perimeter of the porch (not on our porch). We do the same for our sandbox – just in the grass around it. And I guess you could do it around the outside of your garden – and if you have a lot of pee – maybe even the entire perimeter of your yard… Good luck!

  24. Hey Anna: a quick thank you for ripping the cover off and exposing a very closely guarded dark,secret, exclusive underworld ……
    “Things grown-ass men pee on…and WHY.”
    Every man I have known does this. And the ones who say they do not, are most likely lying. Men pee on stuff. It’s fun no matter how old you get, it keeps MANY different critters away, and it saves having to walk ALL THE LONG WAY back into the house.
    Deer, skunks, coons, feral cats…you name it, pee makes them not want to hang out.
    Male pee works better due to the different hormones and phermones in it. It is recognized as “marking” the territory, and sends the “stay away, MINE” message.
    Little tip for your readers:
    If you see a paper wasp/hornet nest, after it is removed spray the spot it was hanging from with strong perfume/aftershave. The wasps leave their own scent marker behind and will try to build in the EXACT same place again…the perfume makes them “get confused and lost” and they go elsewhere.

  25. Forgot to add above:
    The pee is better if your man drinks beer.
    Not kidding, animals hate the smell even MORE of “Beer Pee.”
    Gentlemen; you are welcome.

  26. That is hilarious – however, I have two cats of my own so I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon. And not to mention one of them drinks pee.

      1. My cat awkwardly watches me pee, the second I stand up to wipe – she jumps up there and starts drinking like it’s quenching her thirst. She also jumped up with my boyfriend was peeing one time – he accidently peed on her head.

        1. I thought my cats were weird…You win.

          I had a cat that was an alcoholic once…she was a total lush and would piss me off by repeatedly slamming her drunken little head into my rum and juice drink WHILE I was gaming and could do little about it…And she wasn’t doin’ that sweet little kitty licking thing…she was binge drinking like a college kid away for spring break. She’d do this quickly and with full intent and get snappy when I tried to stop her. Betty Ford Center does not admit cats into their rehab program.
          But pee drinking cat? You WIN my friend. YOU WIN.
          (“boyfriend peed on head” comment made me shoot coffee out my nose. Thank you.)

  27. My two year old son likes to pee in his sandbox, as well as just about everywhere else, and voila…the cats have stopped coming. I was trying to figure out if this was just coincidence or if pee is actually an effective deterrent. Guess he had it all figured out. Duh, mom :)

  28. Usually I don’t read through content upon information sites, even so would like to state that the following write-up really compelled my family to have a look in in addition to do so! A person’s way with words continues to be shocked us. Thanks, very nice article.

  29. Soooo frustrated with the neighbourhood cars pooping in my kids’ sandbox! I am going to try this and I’m so glad I found this page!

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