How to Keep Cats Away From Your Pond

Cat lurking by a koi pond

A garden pond is not only fascinating for garden lovers. If you have fish in your pond, it also exerts a magical attraction on cats. Once your cat has been successful at fishing, she will visit the pond again and again. Even if she doesn’t always prey, traces on the backs of koi and other fish often testify to the fact that a house cat has been up to its mischief. If your cat falls into the water, it will usually get out on its own. This is wildly successful if there is enough water in the pond, and you have designed it with different zones. Read in this article how you can make your pond cat-proof and which options are instead not suitable.

Methods That Are Not Recommended

You can child-proof your garden pond with the highest possible fence that can be locked. Since cats are excellent climbers, a fence is not a hurdle for cats. An electric fence is one way to keep cats away from your garden pond. It is better to do without such protection. Not only for cats is a surge from the electric fence highly unpleasant. If children or even adults encounter such an electric fence, it can be not only an unpleasant surprise. Sometimes it becomes hazardous, especially for people with a pacemaker or with heart diseases.

Ultrasonic devices promised to scare cats away with annoying beeping sounds are a kind of motion detector. When a cat approaches such a device, it emits a tone at a frequency that is supposed to be almost unbearable for sensitive cat ears. It would help if you did not believe such promises. Unfortunately, these devices still fill the coffers of manufacturers and the stores that sell them. Over time, cats get used to them and are no longer deterred by them. You’d better try other measures to keep velvet paws away from your pond.

Steep Slopes – Somewhat Controversial

Even though cats are excellent climbers, steep slopes are challenging for them to manage. Quickly, the cat can slip off and get a wet surprise. This would not be a severe problem, but at most an unpleasant experience. It can be problematic for the cat to get back out of the pond. It could keep slipping while trying to climb the embankment and fall into the pond again.

Finally, a steep embankment is not ideal for pond lovers either. It obstructs your view of the pond when you want to enjoy it. It also makes access difficult, making it difficult to remove algae, care for plants, and clean the pond.

Create a Wet Area Around the Pond

Cats may enjoy fishing if they have had some success, but they do not like wet feet. An efficient cat deterrent can be a wetland zone that you create around the pond. For example, you can make the shore zone to a depth of 20 centimeters around the entire pond.

A good barrier for cats is also a filter trench. In any case, the wet zone should be wide enough so that your cat cannot jump over this hurdle. Once she has gotten her feet wet, she will leave your fish alone.

Prickly Plants for Protection

A marsh zone that you create around your pond can be combined with prickly plants in the shore zone and the surrounding area. This way, you can keep not only cats but also children away from your pond. The best plants to use are roses, buckthorn, or firethorn. However, you should pay attention to the types of soil these plants prefer. If you want to protect your pond from children, you should ensure that these prickly plants are not poisonous.

Paws off: The Piss-off Plant

The Piss-off plant belongs to the genus of harp shrubs and the labiates’ family, which was brought out by the Swabian breeder and gardener Dieter Stegmeier. Due to its effect, this plant is also called a cat or dog scare. To achieve the desired effect, you need the plant in the appropriate quantity, and you need to plant them at a suitable distance from each other. The leaves of this plant emit an unpleasant odor that dogs and cats do not like at all. The good thing is that people do not have such delicate noses and do not notice the smell. Only when you rub the leaves between your fingers, it smells unpleasant. The plants also delight in the summer with pretty flowers.

The Heron Deterrent – Also a Barrier for Cats

A heron deterrent is not only useful in scaring herons away from your pond as uninvited guests. These motion detectors are also excellent as a cat deterrent. There are a variety of models available. Various devices not only shoot a stream of water when a cat, dog, or heron approaches. They often also emit unpleasant squeaking sounds or scare animals with flashes of light. However, the cat must get a cold shower, which acts as a deterrent.

You can try out the different possibilities. It is best to combine several options at once to protect your pond from cats effectively.

Does Pond Water Harm Cats?

Cats are quite shy of water, but they need fluids and need to drink water. They often don’t shy away from pond water when thirst is high. The excreta of the fish, algae, and means for clarifying the water can be a rather unpleasant cocktail. If the cat drinks only small amounts of water, it is mostly not harmful. However, if the cat drinks it frequently and ingests larger quantities, it can lead to poisoning or kidney disease symptoms. It would be best if you observed the cat. If it secretes a lot of salivae and vomits, this may indicate poisoning. You should consult a veterinarian.

To prevent your cat from drinking pond water, you should give your cat plenty of freshwater. You should place water bowls in several places in your yard and renew the water daily.

Your cat should be vaccinated against several diseases. The veterinarian can advise you on this.


Cats are shy of water, but they like to help themselves to your garden pond if fish are in it. You can prevent this by creating a sufficiently broad sump zone around the entire pond. Plants with spines also offer adequate protection. The Piss-off plant, which smells unpleasant and scares cats away, has proven itself. Also, a heron scare as a motion detector, with which the cat gets a cold shower, is suitable. The water from the garden pond can be harmful to the cat if it drinks it. It would help if you placed water bowls for your cat in different places, always freshwater.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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