Natural Cat Deterrents

Last updated 11/9/2020 |

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If outdoor cats are getting in your garden, use one of these natural deterrents to keep them away.

Meet Tony. Isn’t he handsome? He’s a rescue kitty, and he loves being outside in the garden.

He supervises different projects and is always ready to meow about something or another. The only part I don't like about sharing the garden with him is when he uses the garden as a litterbox.

Thankfully, there are lots of natural cat deterrents. And the best part is that you can get many of them at Tractor Supply Company, along with everything else you need for your homestead!

I love making just one stop at Tractor Supply Co. to pick up my garden supplies along with Tony’s favorite food and treats from Purina®.

Which leads me to our first natural cat deterrent:


Description: Keep cats away from your garden by making a separate part of the yard that is OK for them to use as a litterbox. Plant some catnip nearby and reward kitty with a treat for visiting the area.

Tony recommends Purina® Friskies® Party Mix® Crunch Original Cat Treats. They’re made with chicken as the first ingredient, and are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.

My opinion: This is not a sure-fire method for keeping cats out of your garden beds, but it’s the easiest first step. And everybody likes treats. These low-calorie treats are the perfect anytime snack; and the jar keeps his treats fresh and crunchy.


Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

Description: Simply place the deterrent unit in your desired location, and watch as unwanted cats and animal pests are deterred from entering the 40 foot range of protection. As soon as an animal enters this area the unit emits an ultrasonic noise (only audible to the animal) and flashes ultra-bright strobe lights to effectively scare and keep pests far away.

My opinion: This ultrasonic unit only has a 40 foot range, so I’d need to buy several. At nearly $50 each, there has to be a better way.

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Orange Peels

Description: Just like it sounds, you scatter orange peels all over the surface of your garden.

My opinion: While this is a budget-friendly option, our family would have to eat a LOT of oranges to have enough peels for the entire garden. And they look tacky, too.

Essential Oil

Description: Since cats have 80 million smell receptors (people have 5 million), the concentrated scents from essential oils can keep them away from your garden. Recommended oils include Rosemary, Citronella, and Orange.

My opinion: This is one of my favorite kitty-be-gone methods. I used 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil in 1 cup of water and sprayed it all over a problem area in the front yard. It's been more than 2 weeks and there have been no “deposits” in that area yet! 

Twigs or Pine Cones

Description: Cats don’t like pokey things in their bathroom, because they need room to scratch the soil. Placing random twigs or pine cones throughout the garden doesn’t give them room to “do their business.”

My opinion: This is also easy on the wallet, but not practical if you have a large garden area to protect. It would take a LOT of pine cones to cover my three huge raised beds!

Plastic Garden Fencing

Description: this is a plastic mesh fence that lets you quickly and easily construct a trellis for climbing flowers or plants, a temporary fence for newly planted shrubs and trees, or a compost bin. You’ll never have to worry about splinters, sharp edges or rust--the fade-resistant fence will continue to look as good as the day you installed it.

My opinion: This is my favorite method for keeping kitties out of the garden. Instead of using it like a vertical fence, cut it into 1-foot square pieces and lay them in the raised beds around your plants. As the plants grow, you can remove them or rearrange them.

You can get this fencing at Tractor Supply Co., and Tony would like to point out that you can also get his favorite food there, Purina® Friskies® Classic Pate Poultry Favorites Wet Cat Food Variety Pack. It’s made with real chicken, liver, and turkey and has added vitamins and minerals.

Tractor Supply Co. has everything under the sun for me and Tony--so we get everything in one shopping trip. With Tractor Supply Co., your total cat needs are all in here, so you can have more fun out there.

Motion Activated Sprinkler

Description: Using infrared technology, the motion activated sprinkler senses an animal's heat and movement up to 35 feet away. When an animal is detected, the sprinkler releases a sudden burst of water combined with startling noise and motion that safely and effectively repels a wide range of animals. The detector works day or night, so it's always on watch. This motion sensor sprinkler will defend up to 1,900 square feet.

My opinion: If I had this, I am 100% confident that I would forget to turn it off and would get drenched when harvesting or weeding. 😉

Coleus Canina Plant

Description: This plant is also called “Scaredy Cat Coleus.” It has a distinctive skunk smell, which is worse when someone brushes up against the plant or bruises it. This attractive perennial herb is a member of the mint family.

My opinion: A plant that smells like a skunk? And it smells worse when you touch it?!?

Keep Cats out of Your Garden:

Cat/Dog Repellent Powder

Description: Protect your lawn, flowers, gardens, trees, shrubs, and other areas from unwanted animals. Go Away! Repellent is designed to train animals to stay out of the areas. Prevent cats from using your garden as a litter box. Comes in an easy to use shaker top container.

My opinion: Don't sprinkle this around if there's the tiniest bit of wind! Its main ingredient is black pepper and it made me sneeze when applying it. I won't use it again, although it did last for about a week.

Cat Deterrents to Avoid

Please don’t use these items to keep cats out of your garden:

  • Mothballs: mothballs are a pesticide and are toxic to pets, people, and wildlife. They don’t belong in your garden or your closet.
  • Scat mat: this is a plastic mat full of spikes. They look awful in the garden, and there's no space in between them to plant anything.
  • Coffee grounds: even a small amount of coffee grounds, if ingested, can kill a cat or dog. Please don’t use coffee grounds in your garden. Put them in your compost pile instead.
  • Plastic forks: you’ve probably seen a picture with an army of forks sticking up from the soil. This is bad for several reasons: plastic silverware is bad for the environment; it looks tacky as all heck; and some plastics, when heated, can leach toxins into the soil.

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!

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Hi, I'm Pam!

I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here! Learn more about me.

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