Does Coffee Deter Cats?

Like more deterrents to cats, it’s all about creating strong, unpleasant smells. You probably know that coffee is quite a strong smell – even if you do like it yourself. That’s why coffee can deter cats. But it does come down to the particular cat. We’ve discussed in length how each cat is different. One cat might hate coffee, another might love it but hate mint and so on…

Unfortunately, the answer to the question does coffee deter cats is maybe.

How to Use Coffee to Repel Cats

If you want to give coffee as a deterrent a go then first you need to get hold of some used coffee grounds. If you’re an avid coffee-drinker then chances are you’ll have them free at home. If not, then a lot of coffee shops give them out for free.

Next, sprinkle a layer over the soil in your flower beds. You only need a thin sprinkling of the stuff. It’s worth remembering that the smell won’t last forever so you’ll need to reapply a layer of coffee every week or so.

Coffee isn’t going to be a quick fix. You’ll need to give it a month or so to see if it has had any real impact on deterring your neighbour’s cats from pooping in your garden.

Should You Use Coffee to Deter Cats?

There are two elements to consider when using coffee in the garden. Will it harm the cats and other wildlife you have in the garden? And will it have a negative impact on your garden and plants? So let’s answer both of those:

Will Coffee Harm Cats?

Like a lot of substances, it seems that coffee could harm cats if they ingest large quantities of it. A slurp of coffee or a lick of a coffee bean certainly won’t kill them but were they to ingest a large amount of ground coffee then there could be an impact.

Ultimately, cats have a far more extreme reaction to caffeine. You probably know that caffeine isn’t good if you have a heart condition. Well, in cats, it can affect even the healthiest of hearts. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning can include hyperactivity, vomiting and seizures.

Will Coffee Damage Plants?

Absolutely not! In fact, it’s the complete opposite in most cases.

You may or may not know that coffee grounds can actually fertilise the soil and release nitrogen. It’s easy to do. You just need to sprinkle the coffee grounds across the surface of the soil and then scratch the surface so it mixes with the top inch or so.

You’ll want used coffee grounds (ones you’ve made coffee with) as opposed to freshly ground coffee beans. Fresh ground coffee tends to be acidic so can have an impact on your garden, the soil’s PH level and can impact plants which aren’t fans of acidic conditions. Used coffee grounds, however, tend to have a far more balanced PH level.

The benefits don’t stop there. A lot of gardeners also claim that sprinkled coffee grounds keep slugs and snails away.

Coffee Grounds Slugs

Even if you don’t drink coffee or grind your own coffee, plenty of coffee chains give their coffee grounds away for free for the sole purpose of using them in the garden. Starbucks are famous for doing so. If you have a local, independent coffee shop then it’s worth dropping in to find out if you can have their waste coffee grounds.


Like a lot of cat repellents (such as herbs), coffee grounds come with more than one benefit. They may work to repel cats. They might do the opposite. But what they will certainly do is add organic mature to your soil and will slowly release their nitrogen.

As a natural, safe and (in most cases) free repellent, you really can’t go wrong with using coffee grounds in the garden to try to deter cats.

Stop Cats Pooping in Your Garden

Read the Cats Banned Definitive Guide to Stopping Cats Using Your Garden as Their Personal Litter Tray

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