Cats are stubborn with definite ideas of their own. Training them to avoid your antique chair or to stay off the kitchen counter can seem like a near impossibility. But, you don’t need to lock them up or remove precious items permanently.
The solution is a combination of repelling cats from unsuitable areas and attracting them to a better space. It takes dedication and time, but if you keep at it, you can succeed.
Like people, all cats are different, with their likes and dislikes. Pay close attention to undesirable behavior and try to determine the cause. Then choose the strategy that will most likely help discourage the behavior.
- Repelling Cats Indoors
- Keeping Cats Out of Your Yard
- How to Keep Cats from Digging in Your Yard
- Cat Repellent Recipes
Repelling Cats Indoors
If one technique doesn’t work immediately, keep trying, and try a different one. I hope these ideas help you solve your cat problems permanently. Here are my top tips on how to repel cats and train them to acceptable behavior.
Use Essential Oils
Like humans, cats are repelled by certain scents. To keep cats off furniture, countertops, and appliances, use cleaners with citrus, lemongrass, lavender, citronella, or vinegar.
The scent will gently encourage cats to choose other places. Try one of our natural cat repellent spray recipes or use a diffuser with these oils in the area.
Spray the Cat with Water
Keep a spray bottle of water near the area you are trying to protect. Whenever the cat goes into the forbidden zone, spray him or her with a small stream of water directed at the cat’s body. Calmly tell the cat “NO.”
Cover Surfaces with Foil
It can be a challenge sometimes to keep cats away from things in your house that they like. How to deter cats works differently with different animals.
If your cat likes to scratch on the arm of your new couch, use your favorite potted plant as his own personal litter box, likes to jump on the kitchen counter, or wants to sleep in a forbidden spot, you can cover the area with a layer of aluminum foil.
The texture of the foil and the annoying sound it makes when disturbed will usually persuade the cat to choose a different spot.
Cover Surfaces with an Undesirable Texture
A similar solution is to find fabric with an unusual texture and make an easily removable arm or seat back cover for the spot. Some cat owners use strips of masking tape in the area. By creating an undesirable texture you can encourage your cat to move.
Provide a Better Space
Your cat is going to choose a comfortable spot to lounge in, so if you don’t like the place she’s chosen, provide a better spot. Throw a soft, warm blanket in a box along with a little catnip; she may decide to make a move on her own.
Keeping Cats Out of Your Yard
Whether you are trying to train your cat, discourage a neighbor’s pet, or dealing with feral animals, try these tricks to keep stray cats away from your house naturally.
Remove Food Sources
If stray cats are finding their way into your yard, they are probably finding food nearby. To keep cats out of your backyard, make sure your pet’s bowls are indoors and cover garbage cans securely.
Use Motion Activated Sprinklers
If you are looking for an easy way to keep cats out of your yard and garden, this is the tip for you. Cats don’t like water. If you are having a problem with cats in your yard, place motion-activated water sprinklers in the areas you’d like them to avoid or where they are entering the yard.
Change the placement of the sprinklers regularly, so cats can’t simply learn where they are and avoid the sprinklers. After being sprayed with water unexpectedly a few times, the cats will usually find another yard to visit where they can remain dry while they explore.
A motion-activated sprinkler is also beneficial for repelling skunks from your yard. They don’t like being sprayed with water either.
If you are in the yard a lot, you can also keep a spray bottle filled with water at hand to spritz cats who get too close. When watering the yard with the hose, take advantage of how to get rid of stray cats by spraying them with it when they venture onto your property. They will soon get the message that it’s a better idea to go elsewhere.
Plant Cat Repellents
Some plants are natural cat repellents and are great ways to keep cats out of flower beds. The herb rue is particularly repellent and a good choice.
Plant it in the spring for cat repelling properties all summer long. In the fall, dry the leaves and sprinkle them around the yard throughout the winter. Some of these plants that repel cats are attractive for humans, so make liberal use of them in the yard or garden.
Use Cat Repellent Mulches
Add cat repellents such as citrus peels, coffee grounds, or pipe tobacco to the mulch in your landscape. These natural repellents will keep cats away while nourishing your soil. Pay extra attention to areas around bird feeders and other areas that attract cats.
Use a Sonic Device to Get Rid of Cats
If you do not have pets of your own, you can discourage strays from entering your yard using a sonic device. These devices emit high-pitched ultrasonic waves that are not detected by humans but are especially irritating to animals and pests.
Try a Commercial Cat Repellent Spray
Commercial cat repellent sprays are made from the urine or waste of natural predators. Cats detect the presence of a predator, sense danger, and avoid the area. An occasional spray around the perimeter of the yard keeps cats away naturally.
Remove Cat Scent from Your Yard
Cats are territorial and will continue to visit your yard as long as their scent remains. To be effective, your cat repellent plan should include removing their scent from the yard.
Remove all feces from the yard and the top layer of soil. This will also help to get rid of cat urine smell that encourages cats to come back.
It can be challenging to remove that odor outdoors as well as inside. Add some baking soda to the soil to neutralize odors. Baking soda can also be beneficial for your plants so don’t be afraid to sprinkle it throughout the garden. Spray the area with a cat repellent.
How to Keep Cats from Digging in Your Yard
The idea is to make your yard unappealing to felines. They are pretty picky about where they go, as the soft pads on their feet are sensitive. If your landscape is uncomfortable to walk on, they will be more likely to go elsewhere.
A homemade cat repellent made with wire, stone, or other prickly substances will work wonders to keep cats away.
Lay Down Chicken Wire
If you have cats scratching and digging in your garden soil, you can lay chicken wire on top of the ground. The cat will not be able to scratch or dig.
Mulch the area with stones or pebbles to discourage cats. They won’t enjoy digging in the rocks and will likely look for a more convenient litter box.
Mulch with Prickly Materials
Pinecones and other thorny materials deter cats from scratching and digging. A thin layer on top of your regular mulch is enough to do the job. These are uncomfortable to walk on and dig in, so cats are encouraged to move to another location.
Use Cayenne Pepper
Sprinkle the perimeter of the yard, around trash cans, and other attractive areas with cayenne pepper or chili powder. Cats will be able to smell the pepper and avoid the area. Be careful when applying the pepper to prevent it from blowing into your eyes or the cat’s eyes.
Provide a More Attractive Area
Consider dedicating a small section of your yard as a cat-friendly area. Provide a small area of dirt or sand for cats to scratch and clean it regularly. Attract cats away from other areas by planting plants that cats love, either for their smell or taste.
Remove Potential Shelter
Discourage feral cats from living in your yard by removing potential places of shelter. Securely close your shed and any crawl spaces under the house or porch.
Keep Cats off Your Car
Cats love to lounge on the car hood or roof, but you can discourage this behavior by making it less comfortable. Try draping a textured doormat or a plastic runner with the spiky side up over your hood when you park. They’ll quickly find a new spot to lounge
How to Keep Cats from Eating Your Plants
Cats have different tastes and will sometimes nibble on or even eat houseplants or garden plants. For how to keep cats out of plants in the garden or yard, you can mix in rue or other plants that repel cats.
Or, you could try planting catnip in a remote area to attract the cats away from your garden or other areas where you don’t want them to dig. Indoors, the best approach is to train the cat to avoid the plant by spraying it with water when it approaches the plant. You could also add some pebbles to the top of the soil or spray the plant with an essential oil spray (recipe below).
The ASPCA is promoting Trap-Neuter-Return to control feral cat populations. If the cats in your yard are feral cats, consider helping control the feral cat population by trapping the cats, neutering them, and releasing them. This may not keep them out of your yard, but it will help control the numbers over the long term.
Cat Repellent Recipes
These natural repellents have strong scents that repel cats. A regular spritz with one of these sprays encourages cats to move on. Please do a small test spray in a hidden spot on fabrics or indoor surfaces to make sure they won’t stain.
Mix in a two-ounce spray bottle and shake well before every use.
Grind the citrus peels in a food processor or blender and mix ingredients thoroughly. Sprinkle in yard or garden to repel cats.
Mix thoroughly and spray.
Shake before use.
Shake contents and apply as needed.
Whirl fresh rosemary and water in a blender to release the oils or shake vigorously.
I hope you found these twenty-one tips helpful. Learn how to keep stray cats away and how to repel cats outdoors or inside and change the cat’s behavior.
Half the battle is in knowing the cat and their likes and dislikes. The suggestions listed here, or a variation, should work for all cats.
What is your favorite way to keep cats out of your yard? Let us know in the comments. If you try these tips, please let us know how they worked for you. We can all learn from each other. Please help us by telling others about these tips on social media or pin it to share later.