Do Mirrors Scare Cats?

You’ve got cats running riot in your garden? They’re using it as their own VIP litter tray. So you want to know how to scare a cat away? If so, you might have stumbled onto various methods that some people claim are a surefire way to get a cat to leave your home alone. One of the most commonly recommended methods to stop cats pooping in your garden is to put a mirror in your garden. But does a mirror really scare cats?

How a Cat Reacts to a Mirror

If you’ve ever seen a cat react to a mirror then you will know they appear frightened, shocked or confused. They might meow, attempt to approach the intruding cat or even hiss. You may even see that their claws come out and their fur stands up.

In other cases, it’s possible that a cat, particularly a young cat, will attempt to play with the kitten they’re seeing in the mirror (themselves of course). You’ll notice them trying to socially interact for at least a few minutes. This immediately highlights an issue with using it as a deterrent. You might just get a cat that likes visiting its recently discovered friend in your garden from a couple of houses down.

So What do Cats Actually See?

Research shows that cats are not self-aware. This means that when they look in a mirror, it never crosses their mind that they are staring at their own reflection as humans do. A strange concept for humans to understand.

At first, a cat sees another feline that has managed to creep upon them. This mysterious cat has no scent and has made no sound which is why there are various videos online of a cat staring at a mirror completely baffled. To us humans, seeing a cat react this way initially can be quite an experience… It simply doesn’t make any sense to us.

Of course, if you’re looking to prevent cats encroaching on your property and using your garden as their own personal bog then this knowledge can certainly work to your advantage. Especially when you remember that cats are incredibly territorial so another cat being in its presence can throw them off.

How to Scare a Cat with Mirrors in Your Garden

So you’ve decided you want to litter your garden with mirrors… But you want to know exactly how to scare a cat so it never returns to your garden? The best solution is to work out where the offending cat is entering your garden.

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Once you’ve done that, buy a small, cheap mirror and angle it towards the entrance into the garden. The next time the cats tries to creep into your garden to do its business it’ll get a fright. Yes, you can buy fancy garden mirrors which are weather-proof, robust and elegant – but does it matter for this purpose? No! So just buy the cheapest mirror you can find to experiment with in the garden.

But Does it Work?

Even if a cat doesn’t recognize that it’s staring at itself in a mirror, eventually it will realize it’s not another cat. It might do this by pressing its nose against the mirror or recognising that it’s not acting the way a cat should. It still won’t see itself in the reflection but it will lose interest and will continue to go about its business.

That means it will still mark its territory in your garden, play with plants, make a mess and all the other things you are trying to avoid. This isn’t the only reason why a mirror won’t work.

Kittens that have played with their reflections will typically grow into cats where mirrors don’t phase them at all. While some owners also enjoy teaching their cat and training them to understand what a mirror actually is.

So, what will a mirror provide? Well, at the very least a few minutes of entertainment. While it won’t get rid of the cat, it can be quite funny watching them bounce up and down or jolt away and towards their own reflection. As mentioned though, eventually the fad will fade for both you and the intruding cat.

Ultimately, a mirror might give you a few days of respite from the intruding cat but it won’t be a long term solution. Instead, why not try growing some cat repellent plants around your garden – it’s far better long term solution when it comes to stopping cats pooping in your garden.

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