Whether they are personal pets, strays or the neighbour's wandering mischief-makers, cats can do serious damage in a garden and spread harmful diseases through their faeces. Even the cutest indoor cats also manage to cause trouble inside. Cat repellents can keep cats away from forbidden areas. However, many people are wary of using chemicals, and traditional homemade repellents use cayenne pepper and mothballs, both of which can hurt cats. To concoct a gentle but effective cat repellent, keep these ideas in mind.
Cats can't stand the smell of citrus, so a mix of citrus peels and slices can help keep them out. Cut up lemons, oranges and grapefruits, then spread the pieces around the garden if you're having trouble in the plants. Or sew peels into simple cloth sachets to place in off-limits areas inside. The peels will continue to emit odour and the cat won't want to come near.
Citrus oils are also very effective. Citronella oil in the garden repels insects and cats at the same time. To make an indoor spray, combine a few drops of lemon oil, a few drops of eucalyptus oil, and 1 litre (1 quart) of water. Shake the mixture well and then use a spray bottle to lightly mist around areas you want the cat to stay away from.
Vinegar and washing-up liquid
Another all-purpose recipe can be concocted with vinegar and washing-up liquid. Combine 250 ml (1 cup) of vinegar and 250 ml (1 cup) of washing-up liquid with 250 ml (1 cup) of water. You can use other amounts, but the proportions should always be equal. The soap helps retain the smell of the vinegar and keeps it in place so that the repellent continues to work.
Blood meal is a common fertiliser for the garden, but it can serve in a second capacity as a homemade cat repellent. Just sprinkle the blood meal around plants and areas that are forbidden. Used coffee grounds will also help. When used in the garden at the base of plants, they will not only keep cats away but also garden pests such as slugs. Furthermore, they help fertilise some garden plants.