Spices that deter cats

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Cats, although cute and cuddly, also possess a variety of unwanted traits that may cause a person to seek methods to keep them away.

Whether the reason is preventing a stray cat from using a prized garden as its litterbox or protecting songbirds from being potential prey, deterrents can be made using everyday items such as spices. These natural methods tend to be much safer and humane than store-bought chemical deterrents.


Rosemary emits an odour that cats find offensive and they will generally avoid areas where this herbal spice is found. Gardeners can sprinkle this around their gardens to keep cats out or cat owners can leave it in areas they want to keep cats away from. Dried rosemary is considered safe and can be found in the spice section of any grocery store.


Ginger can be an effective repellent against cats, because many cats can't stand its strong odour. Similar to rosemary, ginger can be sprinkled in areas to keep cats out. Both the dried powdered form found in the spice section of the grocery store or freshly cut slices should work. However, it should be noted that ginger is not effective against all cats as some actually enjoy consuming it.

Citrus Peels

Many cats are repelled by citrus scents so any substance that emits a citrus-like odour will be a deterrent. Many cooking recipes call for spices created from the peels of grapefruits, oranges, lemons or limes, and these same dried spices can fend off pesky felines. As the odour from these spices are usually rather strong, a light sprinkling of the dried peels is usually enough to keep cats away. If the dried peel spices aren't available, fresh peels can be used as well.


Cats can't handle spicy smells so cayenne pepper, black pepper and mustard are effective at warding them off. However, since these spices usually are in powder form, cats can easily inhale them or get them into their eyes which can cause great irritation or make them ill. It is best to minimise the use of such spices as deterrents for the safety and health of the cat.