How to Keep Cats Out of Sandboxes in Backyard Playgrounds | 12 Best Ways




How to Keep Cats Out of Sandboxes

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Ways to Keep Cats out of the Sandbox include:

  • Cover the sandbox
  • Place netting around the outside perimeter
  • Use few drops of cat repellent
  • Use natural deterrents
  • Fence the sandbox
  • Block off entrances to under decks and sheds
  • Use a motion-activated cat deterrent
  • Get rid of food sources near sandboxes
  • Clean the sandbox regularly

It’s not uncommon for cats to get in the way of backyard playgrounds. This blog post will discuss how you can keep your cat out of your sandbox.

How to Keep Cats Out of Sandboxes in Backyard Playgrounds

Cover the Sandbox

This is among the easiest ways to keep your cat out of the sandbox. All you have to do is put a large cloth over the top and secure it in place with stakes so that no part of the sandbox is exposed when children are not playing.

You can also create a wooden cover for a sandbox as an alternative.

This will make it much more difficult for cats to get into sandboxes because they won’t access them at all. You may need some assistance from friends or family if you want something covering your entire sandbox.

Place Netting Around the Outside Perimeter

Using netting along the exterior areas surrounding your backyard playground can help keep cats away while still allowing children free playtime when supervised by adults. Simply attach string to the netting and run it along the top of your playground’s fence.

Cats will not jump overtop or penetrate through, but children can easily make their way in and out as they please while supervised by an adult.

Use Few Drops of Cat Repellent to Create an Unpleasant Smell for Cats

You can buy cat repellents from your local store that are made specifically to keep cats away from sandboxes. They do this by emitting a terrible smell that is unpleasant for cats but won’t bother humans or other pets.

Simply spray some of the repellents into your sandbox and around its perimeter before placing anything on top of it again so that any feline friends you have will get used to the idea that they should not be entering your backyard playground anymore.

You can also make something similar at home with cayenne pepper if you don’t want to buy commercially produced cat repellents. Cayenne pepper has been proven effective in keeping many types of animals away, including dogs and rodents.

Use Natural Deterrents

Cats do not like the smell of citrus, coffee grounds, and vinegar. You can mix all of these and sprinkle the solution around your sandbox to create an unpleasant environment for cats that will keep them away.

You may need to reapply this mixture every day or so, but it is completely safe for children and other pets you might have on your property. Suppose you are not a fan of citrus smells.

In that case, there are also many commercial mixtures available in pet stores that use different scents such as lavender instead, which some people prefer over more traditional cat deterrents like lemon juice.

Fence the Sandbox

You can fence the entire yard or the area around the sandbox. However, note that this idea will work only if the fence is cat-proof.

So you want to make sure that the fence you choose is high enough or that there are no holes in it so cats cannot sneak through.

Block Off Entrances to Under Decks and Sheds with Latticework on Top of Chicken Wire

If your sandbox is situated right next to a deck or sheds where cats could easily get underneath without anyone noticing, then take some time this weekend to block them off by attaching wooden slats onto the entryway using galvanized screws.

Cover all openings with mesh chicken wire for easy air circulation but prevents unwanted guests from entering. You can also attach string lights around the perimeter if you want an extra touch since they serve as another great deterrent at night when children should not be playing in sandboxes anyway.

Closing up spaces underneath decks and sheds will help keep cats out of sandboxes.

Use a Motion-activated Cat Deterrent

This is another great way to keep cats away from your sandbox while also helping to protect you against other animals as well. Motion-activated cat deterrents are battery operated and emit a small but annoying noise that is unpleasant for most pets when they enter the monitored area.

You can hang them in trees or around the perimeter of your backyard playground so that any animal will be able to hear it easily if they come into your yard uninvited. They work best at night since nocturnal creatures like raccoons and possums make their way onto backyards during this time too.

Get Rid of Food Sources Near Sandboxes

Keep all garbage bins away from the sandbox, do not feed outdoor pets outside on patio furniture or picnic tables, clear out any extra food dishes or water bowls around the sandbox, and keep pet litter boxes inside as well.

Keeping your sandboxes free of all food sources will help deter cats and other animals since they are likely looking for a place to eat their meals if you have leftovers on tables, patios, etc.

Clean the Sandbox Regularly

Make sure to regularly brush off any debris from your sandboxes and clean out the sandbox completely once every few months using a garden hose or pressure washer.

The odor of cat urine or feces can attract other cats into your sandbox. So be sure to clean the sandbox thoroughly on a regular basis to ensure that your children are not digging in dirt or sand contaminated with cat feces.

We have an article all about sandbox safety and health tips.

Keep your Cat Indoors

You may want to consider keeping your cat indoors as well. Cats are territorial creatures and will do anything to defend their territory, even if it is a sandbox in the middle of someone else’s backyard.

Cats who spend most or all of their time inside tend to be much calmer than those that roam freely outdoors, so they are not likely to try and protect an area where they have no business being anyway.

Train your Cat to Only use Indoor Litter Boxes

Training your cat to use only the indoor litter box is another great way to keep them out of sandboxes. Once they get used to using a regular cat litter box, you can feel confident that their waste will not end up in your sandbox and attract other cats into it as well.

It’s important to note that some cats are too old or sickly for training, so this may not be an option if yours falls under either category but do consult with your vet before starting any type of training program just in case there are any health issues at play.

Place Foods that Cats don’t Like Around your Sandbox

You can also place foods that cats do not like near your sandbox, so they are less inclined to visit. You can also try placing a citrus smell around the sandbox, which tends to have an offensive odor for cats.

Place mint plants or dried chamomile flowers in and near your sandboxes as well since they are another natural deterrent that will keep them away when crushed and sprinkled onto surfaces.


Trying to keep cats out of sandboxes can sometimes be difficult, but these tips should help you create a barrier between them and your children for added peace of mind while playing outside with friends or family.

If you are looking to create a sandbox outside, we recommend a DIY sandbox with a cover, this helps keep bugs and cats out of the sand for you.

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