If you are a cat lover and also love koi or other pond fish, you might have a potential massacre waiting to happen. Cats can be a menace if you have a pond containing koi and/or other pond fish. They not only will see these fish as prey, but they might also attack lizards, toads and frogs who happen to make their way into your pond.
Because cats don’t like getting wet, they will usually stick to the edges of the pond, waiting for koi fish to surface. Then, they will swipe at the fish with their claws. They may or may not scoop the fish out of the pond and eat them. This is a predatory behavior, built into the cat’s genetic code. Their instinct is to hunt prey, which the koi fish in your pond look like to your cat.
Koi and other pond fish tend to feel anxiety easily when they are being preyed upon by cats and other predators. This anxiety can even change the color of the fish.
Some cats will live with fish ponds and never try to harm the fish, and may just want to drink the water from the pond from time to time. Other cats, however, will see the fish as playthings or prey.
Cat cats and koi ponds co-exist? We will examine this question in further detail.
Are Koi Fish Bad for My Cat to Eat?
While koi fish are not harmful for cats to eat, you’d probably rather your cat not snack on the beautiful, colorful fish in your pond. If your cat does eat koi fish, they should be fine (the cat that is, not the fish – the fish, unfortunately, will no longer exist).
How Can I Keep My Cat Out of My Fish Pond?
If you have a cat who seems to be intrigued or enticed by your koi pond, there are some things you can do to prevent your cat from eating your koi fish:
- Build your pond bigger. If your pond measures 8 feet x 8 feet, this makes it far too easy for predators, like cats, to catch koi and other fish. Enlarge your pond to help keep cats away.
- Make your pond deeper. If your pond is too shallow, cats can easily scoop up fish. Ponds that are at least two feet deep will give fish places to hide from predators.
- Install a cover over your pond. This is usually dome-shaped and can easily be removed or pushed to the side to feed fish or clean the pond. This will also keep birds (who can also prey upon fish), raccoons and other animals out of the pond.
- Use a net to cover your pond. If you don’t have a pond cover, you can make your own, using thick netting to keep kitty (and other animals) out of your pond. Make sure that the netting completely covers the pond area. You can use metal pegs to hold the netting down around the pond.
- Place motion-activated sprinklers near the pond. Then, when a cat approaches the pond, it will be blasted with water, deterring the cat from coming near the pond again.
- Use a water gun. This involves you actually seeing the cat trying to get near the pond, and shooting the cat with a blast of water. It’s not as effective as motion-activated sprinklers, but might be a cheaper alternative to consider.
- Get a dog. Many people swear by having a dog, especially one who is a natural hunter. They will chase off predators, like cats, keeping them from getting into the pond.
- Place an ultrasonic pest repellant near the pond. Like the sprinklers, this should scare away cats and other pond predators. These repellants emit ultrasonic sounds that are not heard by humans but are not pleasant to cats.
- Give your fish places to hide in the pond. Large, flat rocks over the edge of a pond, and adding fish caves to your pond, will give fish places to retreat from predators. Plants, like water lilies, planted around the edge of the pond can also work as good fish camouflage.
- Use a natural cat deterrent. Cats don’t like certain smells, so having these things near the pond could help to keep cats away:
- Black pepper or cayenne pepper – sprinkle it around the edges of the pond (just make sure it doesn’t get into the water and harm the fish)
- Citrus – place orange, lime or lemon peels around the edges of the pond to keep cats away
- Lavender or lemon thyme – cats don’t like these smells, so planting these plants near the edge of the pond can help to keep cats out of your pond
- Use a store-bought cat deterrent. Hardware stores, garden stores, and some pet stores sell feline deterrent crystals that you can spread around the edges of your pond.
- Keep the water in the pond moving. Cats are less likely to approach moving water, since they abhor getting wet.