Raccoons have that cute masked bandit thing going for them and they're usually not aggressive, so you might be tempted to just ignore them when they're in your garden. Unfortunately, raccoons can carry rabies -- and if you have an intolerant cat, you might have a fight on your hands.
Keep your cat inside the house at night. Raccoons are active at night, especially in heavily populated areas where they might run into people or dogs if they go out during the day. Better yet, keep your cat indoors at all times, unless you're stepping out into the garden with him. There are too many dangers for Kitty outdoors.
Clean up any food and food residue left outside. Never leave cat food outside, ever. Not even the empty bowl where the cat food was, as the smell might be enough to attract raccoons. No open trash cans or trash bags -- open or closed, big or small -- outside either. Do you keep bird food outside? Either bring it in at night or find a faraway corner to hang the bird feeder so it's not near your house, where Kitty might be.
Set up a raccoon-proof fence around your property. An easy and cheap way to do this is to set up a standard fence (wood or metal) and then add some chicken wire to the top. Because chicken wire is flexible, when raccoons try to climb it, the material will bend and dump the critter back to the ground.
Bring Kitty's bowl inside at night and try to eliminate all sources of water in your garden. Not only do raccoons love water -- they wash their food before eating it -- but they also know that where there's a water bowl, there's likely to be a food bowl.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.