Do Mirrors Scare Cats?

Are you looking for ways to keep pesky cats out of your garden and away from your home? 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 is to put a mirror in your garden somewhere or a reflective surface. The idea is that a mirror will scare a cat or shock it enough that it won’t come back. But do mirrors scare cats?

The Cat in the 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 a kitten. 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 it’s new found friend in your garden from a couple of houses down.

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.

At first, a cat sees another feline that has managed to creep up on 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. However, again, some are not scared but rather inquisitive.

So, Do Mirrors Scare Cats or Not?

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.

It’s best then to avoid putting up a mirror in your yard. Unless of course, you want to make your garden look larger. In which case a mirror could be a fantastic choice.

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