Cat repellent for plants

Updated February 21, 2017

While cats can be companion animals, they can also become pests when they damage plants. Cats often spray urine in the garden to declare their dominance and mark their territory, especially in the case of non-neutered male cats. When cats defecate in the garden, they often dig holes in the soil, destroying seed beds and vegetables. Certain repellents on the market can help you keep cats away from your garden.

Predator Urine

Some commercial products use the urine of animals that are predators to cats to keep cats away from an area. The urine of coyotes, bobcats and foxes comes in powder form. Get rid of cat faeces in your garden and wash down the areas where you smell cat urine. Spread the predator urine product in a band around your garden; it keeps cats about five feet away from where you apply it. Reapply the product periodically, especially after rainfall. This product is safe for children, plants and pets.

Plant Oils

Some commercial products contain plant oils with smells that cats find unattractive. Among these plant oils are d-limonene from citrus, lemon, lemon grass, citronella, orange, geraniol, bergamot, capsaicin from chilli peppers, eugenol, garlic and cinnamon. They are available as liquids in spray bottles, or in the form of granules or pellets. Simply apply the product to the area that you don't want cats to enter, closely following the manufacturer's instructions.


Some plants such as rue, lavender, coleus canina and pennyroyal emit smells that cats avoid. Grow these plants between other plants in your garden to keep cats away. Coleus canina also keeps rabbits and dogs away. Take care when handling rue because skin contact can cause blistering reactions, and ingestion can cause stomach pain, vomiting, confusion, convulsions, exhaustion and even death. Don't plant rue if children might wander into your garden.

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About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.