Should You Use Rosemary to Deter Cats?

If you’re an avid gardener, or you simply enjoy soaking up those rare moments of sunlight on a summer’s day, there’s nothing more frustrating than spotting a cat strutting nonchalantly across the lawn before depositing a mound of waste material in the middle of your beautifully-pruned bushes or flower beds.

Cats are officially the second most popular pet in the UK, and unless you live in the middle of nowhere, there’s every chance your garden will attract unwanted fur-covered intruders.

The good news is that there are some ways of putting them off and encouraging them to go and do their business in somebody else’s backyard. One option that may appeal to horticulturalists and those who aren’t ready to wheel out heavy-duty deterrents just yet is growing herbs like rosemary which can repel cats.

If you’ve got a phantom pooper, or you feel like you’re hosting a cat convention in your garden without giving your permission, here are some tips to help you use rosemary to deter cats.

Does Rosemary Repel Cats?

The majority of cats dislike the scent of rosemary so it, therefore, works quite well as a way to repel cats. It’s impossible to say that it will have a 100% success rate in repelling cats from your garden but it’s definitely a method worth trying out as it has worked for plenty of people.

Why does Rosemary Deter Cats?

We all know that cats display a lack of common courtesy when it comes to choosing where to go to the toilet and where to make tracks or dig holes. Even if you’re a cat lover, the sight of a feline strolling around your flower beds with wild abandon and not a modicum of respect can be infuriating.

Herbs are a popular component of garden beds, and they have a range of uses. You may have thought about growing herbs like rosemary in the past to spruce up homemade culinary masterpieces or enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden, but some herbs can also double up as natural, effective cat repellents.

Cats don’t tend to like the scent of rosemary, and they have incredibly sensitive senses, so the presence of a rosemary plant or bush can be sufficient to put a cat off.

Additionally, rosemary leaves can be quite coarse and spikey. This also acts as a great repellent. Cats are fussy creatures and the last thing they want to do is brush their delicate skin against a rough, prickly bush so are highly like to avoid it.

Is Rosemary Safe for Cats?

You probably know that there are a fair few herbs that need to be avoided in the garden if you have a cat. Chives and garlic are particularly toxic. Mint and tarragon can also have mild effects on cats. The good news, however, is that rosemary is not one of the toxic herbs that cats don’t like. This means if you’re looking to repel cats with rosemary, you don’t need to worry about it having a negative impact on their health.

Can Cats Eat Rosemary?

Eating rosemary is unlikely to do a cat severe harm, but the smell means that they’re likely to steer well clear anyway, so you don’t need to worry about endangering the health of any visiting felines.


Like most cat deterrents, rosemary isn’t a fail-safe option. There are bound to be cats that aren’t affected by the strong scene of rosemary. Having said that, it’s cheap to grow, tastes delicious and looks good so what have you go to lose in trying it to stop cats pooping in your garden?

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4 thoughts on “Should You Use Rosemary to Deter Cats?”

  1. I have big rosemary plant in my garden but it’s near my home. Cats come from the back of garden. How I can grow the cutting of rosemary plant on the back side of my garden. Birds eat food in the middle of lawn. Thanks

  2. Neighborhood cat loves to go to rosemary bushes and spray it. So I don’t see it as an effective deterrent. But my Yard Defender (triggered by motion detrction)sprays water on the cat works much better.

    • Cats are very individual so what might work for one cat, may not work for another. Unfortunately, it’s often a case of trial-and-error to see what works for the cat you’re trying to deter.


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