12 Natural Cat Deterrents

Just because you want to banish cats from your garden doesn’t mean you don’t like animals. There seems to be this misconception that if you use cat repellents then you must hate animals. But that’s probably not true! You just don’t enjoy cats pooping all over your garden – that’s why you’re looking for natural cat deterrents after all.

The good news is that we’ve got 12 completely natural cat deterrents for you listed below:

Natural Cat Deterrents – Plants

Plants are an obvious choice for a keen gardener to use to keep those pesky kitties from their garden. There is quite a variety of plants to choose from those that look beautiful to those that smell great too. We’ve included a few popular ones below but if you’re after an extensive list of plants to deter cats then click here.

Coleus Canina

One of the less pleasant scents to use but perhaps one that is considered the most effective is Coleus Canina. This plant has earnt itself the nickname, The Scaredey Cat Plant and many gardeners swear by it as a natural cat deterrent for their garden. This plant gives off an unpleasant smell whenever it is brushed against making it the ideal choice to plant in borders or areas where neighbourhood cats like to frequent.


This is a plant that many cooks and gardeners will already have in their gardens. It is the scent of this plant that us humans love so much that deters cats. They dislike it and some cats will work hard to avoid it! You could grab a few leaves and sprinkle them around areas that cats seem to love in your garden.


Lavender Cats

This is a common sight in many gardens. Easy to grow, take care of and it smells great! Well, it smells good to humans at least. Our feline visitors don’t like the smell at all so consider adding this popular plant to your garden!


Rue is also known by its more complicated name of Ruta Graveolens. This plant can be a beautiful addition to your garden and comes with a strong smell that feline visitors will try to avoid. This plant can grow to two to three foot tall and with its distinctive leaves and flowers is as beautiful as it is practical for deterring cats in a natural way.

Prickly Plants Or Bushes

Cats can be sensitive creatures and will try hard to avoid anything that causes them any discomfort or proves too difficult to be near. Prickly plants are the perfect solution for this! It is understandable that any creature would avoid walking near or through thick hedgerows or bushes with sharp edges and points. If you can plant some around the perimeter of your garden or in those hotspot areas where cats seem to leave and enter your garden then this can be an excellent way of deterring cats from those areas.

If you choose some prickly bushes with edible fruit then you have a garden that tastes great, smells great and will cause cats to avoid it! The perfect solution!

Lemon Verbena

Cats don’t like citrus scents. We may love this smell for its fresh and strong scent but it can be overpowering to creatures with stronger noses than us. Cat’s have far more sensitive senses of smells than we do and find any citrus type of smell overwhelming.

The Lemon Verbena plant is the perfect solution. It smells absolutely wonderful and is a great addition to any garden.


Catnip belongs to the mint family and most cats go crazy for it! Which is odd when you consider that mint species of plants that have the traditionally minty scent and flavour that we humans love are hard for furry felines to bear!

The strong scent is overpowering to sensitive noses and cats will often avoid this plant and scent. If you have an edible variety in your garden then you can have fresh mint as well as a great smelling garden. Be careful with this solution. Mint is toxic to cats and if you have unusual moggy visitors who quite like to eat it (instead of avoiding it) then they could become ill.

Natural Cat Deterrents – Homemade Sprays

If having lots of cat repelling plants in your garden isn’t an option then you or if none of these options has been working then you can try a more direct approach. You can create a homemade spray to spray on fences, walls and around the perimeter of your garden that will leave a strong scent that cats don’t like and act as perfectly safe natural cat deterrents.

However, always use oils with some caution as too much of any oil or vinegar can prove toxic to any creature ingesting too much. Cats are usually deterred by smells that are poisonous to them so be on the watch for any cats that seem to take a liking to these scents (or are unaware of them) and stop using it if it isn’t working. No one wants to make their neighbour’s cats ill or cause harm to any creature.

Apple Vinegar

Vinegar is a strong-smelling substance and even many humans dislike the smell. If it smells strong to us then you can be sure to a cat with a much stronger nose it will smell too intense to bear.

This is a simple spray to make. Add one part water to one part apple vinegar to a spray bottle and you have a spray you can use in those areas cats love to hangout. Take a little care when spraying near plants. Vinegar can be deadly to some types of plant.

Essential Oil

Essential oils are the perfect solution when trying to find the scent that will deter your local feline population. Like people, cats are all different and different methods and scents will prove effective whilst other methods seem to only encourage!

With essential oils, you can try different scents until you find one that works for you. Choose scents that cats dislike such as mint or citrus smells and add a few drops to cold water. Pop into a spray bottle and you have an instant cat repellent that is still natural.

Use the spray to coat your fences, walls and gates with the deterring scent and see the difference this can make! If you have patios or deckings where local moggies like to stretch out and sunbathe you can also spray these spots and most cats will become disinterested in the area.

Luckily most scents that cat dislike are smells that most of us love! So, this can be a great solution to your kitty problem.

Natural Cat Deterrents – Other

Plants and sprays that give off scents that most cats will avoid is a great start but there are also a few extra things you can try as a natural cat deterrent. Not everything will work for all cats but they are definitely worth a try and with some trial and error you will find the method that works best for you.

Left Over Citrus Fruit Peel

Natural Cat Deterrents

As already mentioned, most feline trespassers don’t like the smell of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. A solution you can try is to rub a little peel over the tops of fences. This is a common method that cats use to get into your garden so adding a scent they dislike here can work wonders.

You can also scatter some leftover peel or slices of the fruit in places cats tend to visit and hang out to act as a natural cat deterrent that will soon make them disinterested in the area. Once they have moved on and found a new favourite place to visit you will be less likely to see them again.

Herbs and Spices

Cats dislike most spicy smells and tastes, for good reason. They can make cats sick so if their sensitive noses detect any of these scents around they will avoid the area. Curry powder and pepper all work well. Even garlic is a smell many cats will avoid! Be careful not to overdo any spices though, these are toxic to kitty cats and you want to deter them and not cause them harm.

There are a few other herbs that cats also dislike, many of these can be added into your garden as a plant or added into a spray bottle with water to use as a natural spray on areas where ou most get your kitty visitors. Choose herbs such as rosemary or mint and sprinkle a little on the areas you want cats to avoid and to use them as natural cat deterrents.


This can be a difficult one to get right. It is common knowledge that cats love gravel and sand. Gardens with gravelly areas are often the places that cats love the most. This is usually because gardeners have chosen the perfect size gravel for cats to scratch and dig about in.

The good news is that gravel doesn’t have to be an attraction to a cat. It can be used as a deterrent. Avoid smaller sizes of gravel or gravel with smooth edges and this is the perfect type that cats love. If you choose larger pieces of gravel that have been cut in a way that leaves sharp edges instead you have the perfect cat deterrent.

Nobody enjoys walking over sharp gravel in bare feet and cats are the same. Most felines will avoid areas that are uncomfortable for them to walk on so adding the right type of gravel in the right places or replacing any gravel you already have can work wonders as natural cat deterrents for your garden.

Let us know if you try any of these twelve natural cat deterrents and let everyone know how you get on with them in the comments section below:

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