What Essential Oils Repel Cats?

Cats are strange creatures, cute when it suits them and often with stubborn characters, they seem to have a mind of their own and independence that can make them tricky to deal with – especially when you are getting a whole host of unwanted kitty visitors into your garden!

There are many great reasons that gardeners and those with families, homes and outdoor spaces would want to discourage cats from their property. Cats seem to have no issues using other peoples flower beds, sandpits and even on occasion their driveways as their personal outdoor kitty litter spots. Nobody likes dealing with poop, especially the poop of somebody else’s pet!

When it comes to finding ways to deter cats from different areas and gardens then it is natural to want to find a solution that is pleasant for you to deal with, natural and not going to harm your garden, your family, other wildlife and pets or the cats you are looking to repel.

So What Essential Oils Repel Cats Then?

Essential oils might well be the perfect answer to finding a natural solution to repel unwanted kitty visitors from your home and garden and here are some of those that are thought to work:

Citronella Oil

Citronella is made from the leaves of the lemongrass plant and as its name suggests has a really strong citrus scent that many animals and insects really dislike. Cats have particularly sensitive noses and any citrus type scent is overwhelming and unbearable to many cats. This can help to encourage them to avoid areas that have this scent. The best thing about citronella is that it is non-toxic to many creatures and will also discourage insects and wasps too. Plus the lovely orangey aroma makes any garden smell lovely.

Citrus Oil

All kinds of citrus oils smell disgusting to cats. They really don’t like strong citrusy scents and whether you choose orange, lemon or lime you will find that most cats avoid it. You can even mix all of the citrus oils together for a refreshing and invigorating scent that cats will detest.

People tend to love these fresh-smelling oils and find them refreshing and invigorating but a cat just finds it bitter and overwhelming. This might seem like the perfect solution to an unwanted cat visitor problem but oils can be toxic and citrus oil, in particular, could be a problem to many cats.

Eucalyptus Oil

The eucalyptus tree originally comes from Australia and it has become a firm favourite among all essential oil connoisseurs due to its minty, menthol type scent. This one can be tricky for us humans as menthol is a strong scent for anyone to bear and not everyone likes it. But if it smells strong to us then you can be sure it is unbearable for cats with their extra sensitive noses. Cats, in particular, dislike strong minty scents and should avoid areas that smell strongly of this type of aroma. This is another oil to be wary of as if the cat gets hold of the substance they could end up feeling unwell and having a variety of health problems.

Mint Oil

Mint is another aroma that our feline friends detest. It is a strong scent that is overwhelming to the many thousands of scent receptors in a cat’s sensitive nose and cats will often avoid areas that smell strongly of mint.

However, a word of warning with mint and mint based oils. Mint is fairly toxic to cats which might also be part of the reason they are so keen to avoid it! So use any mint scents with care so you don’t end up inadvertently hurting any animal.

How To Use Essential Oils As A Cat Repellent

There are many ways that you can use essential oils as a cat repellent and you can find a solution that works for you or choose a mixture of scents and methods and see what works.

Spray Bottle

Add some water to a spray bottle and add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to it and shake. Then you have a natural cat repellent spray ready to use! Take your spray and spray it over hot spots you want cats to avoid such as their favourite toileting area or spray the perimeter fence and any entrances and exits you notice cats using into your garden.

Some oils can even be sprayed directly onto plans and garden areas to really discourage cats but be careful not to use any oils that may be toxic. Citronella oil works well for this solution.


Take an absorbent cloth such as a microfibre cloth and add a few drops to it. Then, simply wipe over fences and pots to transfer the scent of the oil on to it. You could even add a few scented cloths to areas hidden in cracks and crevices so that the scent is given off over time. Cats will soon learn to avoid your property.

How Not To Use Essential Oils As A Cat Repellent

Essential oils should be able to be used safely as long as a lot of care is taken. With any substance, there is a risk and you should always use them sparingly. After all, you don’t want to hurt any cats or make them sick. So never spray a solution with essential oils directly at a cat. It could get into their eyes and cause all kinds of problems and even spraying their fur would end up with them ingesting the oils which could make them seriously ill.

Spraying directly onto their fur could even end up with the oil being absorbed directly into the skin which could lead to skin irritations and sickness.

You should also never encourage an animal to eat anything containing substances, including essential oils. Essential oils might seem like a great idea but ingesting them can cause any animal (or human!) to become sick and nobody wants to be responsible for hurting somebody else’s beloved pet or any creature.

Are Essential Oils Harmful To Cats?

There are mixed opinions on how harmful essential oils are to cats. Any oil when used too much can be harmful, even to us. A small amount mixed with water spread over a wide area may not cause any undue harm but if there is a danger that the cat could ingest or come into contact with undiluted oil then they can become sick.

Some of the signs of oil poisoning are not pleasant at all and can include excessive drooling, vomiting, tremors, lethargy and even difficulty breathing and seizures. If there is direct contact to skin these oils can cause rashes or even chemical burns.

So be careful with any use of essential oils as a cat repellent!

Do Essential Oils Work To Deter All Cats?

Essential oils are a fantastic option to try and repel cats from gardens and spots where you don’t want them and will work wonderfully for many cats but there is never a guarantee that a solution will work for all cats.

Cats are all different and each one has their own individual likes and dislikes and whilst most cats will react the same way to certain scents and aromas you might occasionally come across ones that surprise you and behave totally differently.

The best thing to do when trying to use essential oils to repel cats is to try a scent and a method and see if it works. If not then try a new scent! After a period of trial and error, you should find the solution to your unwanted feline visitors.

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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