Cats using our flower beds as their litter box

During the last years, we have had several new neighbors in our development move in, and they all have two to three cats that they allow to run free. A number of them seem to use our backyard and flower beds as their personal flower beds. How can we safely put a stop to this problems? The neighbors (two and three houses away) feel that cats are just doing cat things.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

In my experience, physical barriers work better than chemical repellents. Cat "scat mats" have pointy protrusions that cats will not walk on. There are motion-sensors that spray water or emit a high-pitched sound when motion is detected. If I were you, I would plant a catnip patch to attract them--and keep them in that one little area, away from the rest of your flower beds. If all else fails, you could find out from your municipality what the laws are regarding wandering pets, and start a dialog with your neighbors.

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