Let’ admit that sometimes a gardener’s worst nightmare is their own pets as they happen to break the harmony of a coziest home. What is the best solution to a dilemma where there are crops and fruit made with substantial financial investment on one side and cats, these furry self-centered creatures you would least like to hurt on the other side? There are many ideas solving this problem, and we are only interested in highly-effective ones and the ones that work for the grand majority of cats rather than for individuals. That is why we have prepared a review of the best cat repellents and our choice is entirely based on scientific studies and research.
In this article, we are going to cover granules, a cat repellent spray, as well as such technical devices as ultrasonic cat repellent and sprinkles. A cats’ anatomy will tell you: once you figure out what they like and what they are afraid of, you’ll be able to influence them. We’ll check which approaches are best used as outdoor cat repellents, and which ones are preferable indoors as a cat scratch repellent to save your furniture from damage. We will also pick the 5 best cat repellents available online. Those who are used to rely only on themselves will be interested in our twelve recipes of homemade cat repellents. We’ve also covered many natural cat repellents as any loving cat owner cares equally about their household and cat’s health.
When picking a method, keep in mind that each garden or house is unique to a certain extent, and treatments that proved helpful in one place may be entirely useless elsewhere. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and be creative to achieve success. Let’s begin, shall we?
Table of Contents:
- Natural Cat Repellents
- Recipes for Homemade Cat Repellents
- Ultrasonic Cat Repellers & Motion-Activated Sprinklers
- Comparative Table of Ways to Repel Cats
- TOP-5 Cat Repellents
- Cat Repellents Comparative Chart
- Feral Cat Repellents
Cats are overprotective of their territory; they mark it with urine and feces unambiguously signaling ownership. Moreover, they leave pheromones when they scratch their cheeks with an object. When the claws are out, the paws leave odor as well. All this signifies the importance of odor for cats, which is important for us as we can manipulate our pets with odor.
Fox and coyote urine. Jeff Schalau at Agriculture & Natural Resources Arizona Cooperative Extension lists some of them and reminds that only an integrated approach uniting several methods has a chance to succeed. Repellents cause fear, and predator odors are the best. A repellent containing fox and coyote urine is made of natural components and is safe for people and the environment. Some cat owners apply it on their cars’ roofs to prevent cats from jumping on them. There are also certain disadvantages. First, if coyotes or foxes inhabit your region, they may be attracted to your house. Second, the smell itself is quite unpleasant and your family may experience discomfort.
Oil extracts and pepper. Some repellents may contain citrus extracts, essential oil of mustard, or capsaicin (found in pepper). All of them help keep the cats away from the restricted area. Another component is 2-undecanone, also known as methyl nonyl ketone, an organic liquid that can be either synthesized or extracted from the oil of rue. Products containing this substance are recommended for use only on decorative plants. Although EPA awarded it the lowest toxicity rating, methyl nonyl ketone can cause eye and skin irritation.
Repelling plants. These treatments are available as sprays, dust or granules. These so-called liquid fences mask any odors cats leave, causing confusion and deterring cats from further using the treated area as a toilet. Such repellents can also be plants that will repel cats once planted in certain areas of your garden. The smells of lavender, rue, pennyroyal, marigold and Coleus canina, for instance, drive cats away.
By the way, a natural ingredient is not necessarily safe. For instance, some plants (for details scroll down) can harm your pets’ health and even cause death. Another crucial disadvantage of natural repellents is their short-term action. You will have to repeat applications regularly, otherwise the odor will erode and cats will return. This may cost you a fortune. On the other hand, there is a chance that during repellent use, your pet’s habits will change and you will achieve your goal.
Cat repellents can be made at home, first, in order to save money and second, because most commercial repellents contain ingredients that can be most likely found in your kitchen. Before making your own repellent, remember that treatment used indoors will not necessarily be helpful in the garden, and vice versa.
Homemade Cat Repellents for Yard
Let’s see what can be prepared to protect your garden from cats. Here are a few tips and recipes to choose from:
- Mix three parts of water with one part of peppermint oil. Pour the mixture in a sprayer and treat the area. Apply this spray regularly, as it has a short-term effect.
- Orange, lemon and grapefruit peels contain essential oils. The desired effect can be reached if you place them around the house.
- Squeeze lemon or orange juice, add some water and spray. Note that the effect will not be sufficient, so buy some citrus oil, add a few drops of it in a glass of water and spray this mixture in the garden. Soak cotton balls and place them in the most problematic areas.
- Place red chili pepper flakes in the most problematic areas and make a circle with them around specific plants that your cats are most fond of. Pepper flakes cause irritation and sneezing, so your pet is likely to leave the said plant alone. However, the experts warn that chili pepper can do harm to your cat, so you might want to reconsider using it.
- Mix two tablespoons of cinnamon, rosemary and lavender in a 500 ml pint of boiling water and leave overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture through gauze and add half a cup of vinegar and ten drops of tangerine essential oil. Pour the mixture in a sprayer and shake well before use. Note that the scientists recommend being careful with rosemary as this plant is toxic for cats.
- Squeeze a lemon in a one-liter container with water and add a dozen eucalyptus oil drops. Shake well afterwards. Eucalyptus is a repellent for many animals, including cats.
- Citronella oil is a well-known mosquito repellent, but cats detest it as well. Mix one part of citronella oil with four parts of water and spray any problematic areas.
- Pull a string over your fence; it will create an obstacle for your cat.
- Attach an aluminum pan to any pillar in the yard. Once the wind blows, this structure will make muffled sounds that will make any animals nearby extremely uncomfortable.
Homemade Cat Repellents for the Home
Which repellents are most suitable for indoor use? What can be used as a cat scratch repellent?
- Mix apple cider vinegar and water in proportion 1:1. As an alternative, such essential oils as citronella, lavender, peppermint or lemongrass can be used in proportion 1:3. Pour it in a sprayer and spray where necessary. Make sure you test the mixture on a piece of cloth in advance to make sure it will not leave stains on the furniture.
- Use aluminum foil to protect furniture and carpets as cats don’t like walking over this material.
- Cats dislike being wet. So, if you don’t want to smell anything at home, simply fill a sprayer with some water and spray these capricious animals once they enter any forbidden areas. Although this method can’t be considered a powerful repelling strategy, it works well as a part of systemic training.
Certain ultrasonic devices make unpleasant noises that only cats can hear. As Andrew Bishop, The Rochester Institute of Technology indicates, cats and dogs react differently to behavior correction due to the fact that dogs do perceive the hierarchy in their relations with humans while cats feel independent.
That is why correcting cats’ behavior must be done immediately upon their committing a wrongful act. Moreover, correction must be repeated frequently until your pet loses interest and stops the said action. Remember, that if you let your cat commit a wrongful act at least once, all of your efforts will go down the drain. Pain is another important aspect. As studies show and experienced vets confirm, physical pain causes fear in cats rather than corrects their behavior. There are two main types of technical behavior correction for cats. The first one is static impulsion, such as a fence system, allowing your cat to freely walk within a predetermined perimeter. Once the animal approaches the Warning Zone, its collar makes a signal, and if the cat is persistent, static correction comes in place. Although this system is effective and it irritates cats, it cannot be considered entirely safe as it teaches the animal right actions from wrong ones by causing physical pain.
As for ultrasonic systems, cats hear a wider range of frequencies than humans. With that in mind, a system emitting an ultrasound that will force cats to avoid forbidden territory has been invented. However, Andrew Bishop doubts the effectiveness of such a device as he fears that it only causes dissatisfaction in cats. Drawing a conclusion, this scientist recommends setting the device in such a way so as not to physically hurt your pet. However, a problem of your own comfort will arise. It can be avoided by using a system that works within the range of frequencies slightly above 23 kHz.
If you aim to protect your garden, not only from your own pets, but also from neighbors’ pets and even feral cats, use motion-activated sprinklers. These devices exploit cats’ natural fear of water and, just like ultrasonic systems; do not require direct human interference. The University of Nebraska’s experts consider sprinklers that sprinkle cats with water once they approach the sensor to be the most effective means of repelling them. “Feral Cats and Their Management” article says that “Other methods of frightening, such as tennis balls, garden hose, clapping, and yelling, require constant human presence to be effective.” However, motion-activated sprinklers have certain drawbacks. First, they must be placed somewhere unreachable for kids and bystanders. Second, you risk overspending on water leading to enormous utility bills.
|Coyote / Fox Urine||Odor Repellent||Is an effective treatment based on predator fear; is safe and natural.||Can attract coyotes and foxes, has an unpleasant odor for humans, requires repeat application, and has a short-term effect.||9|
|Methyl Nonyl Ketone||Odor Repellent||Is natural, repels cats.||Is suitable only for decorative plants, requires repeat application, has a short-term effect, can cause eye and skin irritation.||7|
|Repellent Plants||Odor Repellent||Are natural, repel cats, can decorate the garden, and unlike sprays, act all the time.||Some plants can do harm to cats, require investment.||9|
|Citrus Essential Oils||Odor Repellent||Can be homemade, are natural, repel cats.||Does not affect all cats.||6|
|Red Chili Pepper Flakes||Odor Repellent||Can be homemade; repel cats, a useful method.||Can do harm to cats.||8|
|Vinegar||Odor Repellent||an be homemade; repels cats, a useful method.||Cannot be applied on leaves to avoid damage.||8|
|Aluminum Foil||Physical Barrier||Is inexpensive, repels cats.||Spoils interior design.||7|
|Water||Touch Repellent||Does not require investment, is harmless and useful for training.||Human presence is always required.||9|
|Static Impulsion System||Technical Device||Is effective, human presence is not required.||Causes physical pain to an animal, is costly.||9|
|Ultrasonic Device||Technical Device||Human presence is not required.||Questionable effectiveness.||8|
|Motion-Activated Sprinklers||Technical Device||Is effective, human presence is not required.||Water overspending is likely; the device can spray not only its repelling targets.||10|
To learn about all methods to keep cats away, refer to another article.
We’ve picked the five most popular repellents on Amazon.com. They contain coyote urine and cause cats’ fear; they have rosemary, peppermint, mint, thyme and orange oil odors. We reviewed granules, a ready-to-use spray and a concentrate. If you don’t trust odors, check out a popular ultrasonic device and a cat mat that can become an effective barrier.
Cat Repellent with Coyote/Fox Urine - Shake Away 9002020
This repellent’s action is based on the cats’ natural fear of predators, namely coyotes and foxes. Once cats smell these animals’ urine that the granules contain, they consider the territory as marked by these predators and leave. The manufacturer promises immediate effect upon use that will last for several weeks. This is an entirely safe and natural product, for trees and plants as well. A 20 oz pack covers 600 linear feet provided proper use as per the manual. The product provides a long-term effect and the substance is rain-proof. It is significant that granules are longer-lasting in general as they emit a stronger odor that does not evaporate as fast as liquid does.
However, Amazon.com ratings are not very optimistic: 48% of customers rated Shake Away with only one star, and 23% only gave it a five-star rating. Judging by the reviews, the customers have controversial experience as some have been able to completely eliminate feral cats marking people’s houses while others had no results whatsoever. One of the reviewers gave the following tip: “Highly recommend but do use sparingly and tactically. My pattern was small spots of granule (about the size of a teacup plate in diameter) randomly on my property”.
Price: ~$16.06 Check the current price
Cat Repellent Spray with 4 Herbal Scents
For nearly the same price you can obtain a ready-to-use spray with four odors: rosemary, peppermint, mint, and thyme. Above, we’ve mentioned that cats dislike these natural ingredients. The animals think that the sprayed plants and objects are actually those loathed herbs, and avoid them. This products’ coverage area is substantially larger than that of the previous product and is 1000 square feet.
Another competitive advantage of this spray is that it is suitable both for indoor (in basements and attics) and outdoor use (in gardens, on trees, lawns, fruit, vegetable, in garages and hangars). It can also be applied on furniture. In other words, this is a safe organic universal product that does not contain any chemicals. If you spray edible plants with it, you will do no harm. Another advantage is that it does not have an unpleasant odor for humans: on the contrary, it exudes herbal scents.
However, Amazon.com users’ ratings of this product’s effectiveness are not unanimous. 45% have awarded it with a five-star rating while 32% believe that it does not deserve more than a single star. Although this rating is better than that of the previous product, certain users have a negative experience. Other than repelling cats, some users made progress in getting rid of raccoons, squirrels and skunks.
Price: ~$17.95 Check the current price
Nature's Wisdom Orange Oil Concentrate
This product has earned 4 Amazon.com users’ stars out of 5 as 60% of the customers gave it the best rating. As mentioned before, cats dislike citrus smells, but a freshly squeezed juice with water can be ineffective. Orange oil concentrate, on the other hand, is a helpful product and adding a few drops to a spray will be enough for your cat to be deterred from treated objects.
The oil was extracted from citrus fruits’ peels. The manufacturer recommends mixing 2 ounces of this concentrate with a gallon of water for treating plants and increasing concentration twice for treating the soil.
Nevertheless, there is no univocal judgment of this product’s effectiveness. Each cat perceives citrus fruits individually, and as follows from Amazon.com users’ comments, some cats even liked the smell, while others found it repelling. It is all individual, so give it a shot. Since this product is not cut-rate, test your cat with an orange peel. From its reaction, you will be able to decide whether to buy this product.
Price: ~$34.97 Check the current price
Animal Repeller Ultrasonic Repellent
Of all the above-mentioned products, Animal Repeller Ultrasonic Repellent has earned the most positive feedback as 85% of Amazon.com users gave it a five-star rating. As we’ve also pointed out, the scientists recommend you not to rely too much on such devices. This device can be set to simultaneously repel cats, dogs, skunks, deer and rabbits. How versatile it is!
The claimed coverage area of 5000 square feet exceeds that of the previous products. The device emits ultrasound that repels animals and sonic alarm and strobe lights go off as well. At the same time, people can’t hear these sounds and in general, the device is safe and environmentally-friendly. It is supposed to be used in the gardens, in the backyard, attic, and garage and in other places. Remember that the ultrasound cannot penetrate glass so do not leave it indoors if the targeted animals remain outside.
One of the satisfied users commented: “Love this device. Ended up ordering three more for whole yard coverage, front, sides and back. Seems to be very effective and is able to handle hot Arizona sun plus monsoon rains.”
Price: ~$29.99 Check the current price
Daiso Japan's Cat Repellent Mat
Two mats 19.3x5.6x1.1 inches each are supplied. It is recommended to place this Cat Repellent Mat in the most problematic areas of cats’ activity, e.g. on windowsills, under cornices and in the garden. It is made of plastic, so the spikes won’t do any real harm to cats. The mat is convenient to use as its size can be adjusted.
Amazon.com users are not unanimous about this mat as 38% of them gave it a five-star rating while a total share of 46% of customers gave it two or three stars. What didn’t meet their expectations? Some say that the mat covers too small of an area. Indeed, you will require a few Cat Repellent Mats for your garden, and this will reflect on your budget.
In general, there are many positive reviews. The customers yield results after placing the mat both in their gardens and indoors. One of the customers wrote: “I like it. We plan to keep it at the front door to keep the cats away. I am currently pregnant and need to kick the cats out of the room. I also stepped on this thing and it hurts, lol. So it will be perfect.”
Price: ~$19.30 Check the current price
|Product||Type of Repellent||Price|
Repellent Spray for Rodents & Animals
Nature's Wisdom Orange Oil Concentrate
Animal Repeller Ultrasonic Repellent
Daiso Japan's Cat Repellent Mat
|Mat physical barrier|
Cats’ predating essence is genetic and can be removed neither by training nor by adjusting conditions. While domestic cats hunt birds and lizards occasionally, feral cats hunt all the time and hunting constitutes an essential part of their life. Feral cats are a threat to human-inhabited territories as first and foremost, they can be disease carriers. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System experts, these animals can transmit a wide range of diseases including feline leukemia, distemper, feline Immunodeficiency virus, rabies, and cat scratch fever to pet cats. Another harm done by feral cats is that they consume birds and other small animals, fight with pets, damage gardens and farms. How to repel feral cats? Special devices, causing cats’ fear exist. However, the scientists from the University of Nebraska are skeptical of this method. They believe that “Most commercially available frightening devices have been ineffective at consistently keeping cats away.” The only two repelling methods considered effective by them are motion-activated sprinklers and dogs.
Repellents, containing such EPA-registered compounds as anise oil, methyl nonyl ketone, thymol and BMAS can be used. The first three are applied on the soil and repel cats with an unpleasant odor. BMAS should be applied on garbage bags and other objects as it deters feral cats with taste. Remember that the latter ingredient can be neither used indoors nor applied on edibles. Nevertheless, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System specialists assure that repellents have practically zero effect on feral cats. If nothing is helpful, you might want to consider an emotionally difficult solution: shooting or euthanasia is recommended to be performed by pros. Remember that you can accidentally poison someone’s pet cat.