Deterring Cats

Posted on: April 8th, 2018 by Stone Cross Garden Centre No Comments
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Cats are great pets but can be a nuisance in the garden. There are preventions.

Cats can be a problem by:

  • Digging holes
  • Laying on plants crushing them
  • Defecating
  • Urinating to mark their territory
  • Scratching their claws on the bark of trees and large shrubs
  • Eating leaves of plants
  • Killing birds and other small animals


Just like humans not all cats behave in the same way. This means that whilst some prevention methods will deter some cats none are entirely successful. The key to success is to trial a few prevention methods and see which works with the visiting cats causing a nuisance.


There are many options for deterring cats available. Some are evidentially supported by research and others fall into the category of being an “old wives tales.” Here are some which have proved successful for gardeners. We sell a number of animal repellent products:

Off the Shelf Repellents – These deter cats by smell or sound

  • Aluminium Ammonium Sulphate – Vitax Stay Off, Bayer Cat-a-Pult
  • Pepper Dust – Bayer Pepper Dust
  • Plant Oils – Vitax Scent Off
    • These repellents impact and effectiveness is lessened by rain and require lots of re-application
  • Electronic Ultrasonic Sound deterrents deter cats by emitting a sound not heard by humans. This sound is triggered by a motion sensor. Whilst rain does not reduce the effectiveness of the device it is reduced by fences, structures, trees and shrubs

Plant Repellents – These deter cats by smell

  • Scaredy-Cat Plant. The foliage of the plant has a very strong smell when touched or brushed up against that cats are said to dislike. The plant is not hardy and needs winter protection
  • Herb plants are said to be effective – particularly Lavender, Rosemary, Chives and Garlic
  • Citrus scented plants – particularly Geraniums Fragrans and Orange Fizz
  • Attract cats to other areas of the garden by planting Catnip
  • Plant prickly plants where the cats enter the garden. Training a thorny Pyracantha can be effective

Household or Homemade Repellents – These deter cats by smell

  • Leaving out orange and lemon peel
  • Making a marinade of chillies and water and pouring this on soil and fencing where cats enter gardens is said to be effective
  • Placing green plastic drink bottles half filled with water is said to deter cats by light and reflection

Physical Repellents

  • Netting areas – successful in small areas but not cost effective on a larger scale. Also cats climb and this can cause damage to the netting
  • Densely planting flower borders so there is not bare soil suitable for a cat to use as its lavatory
  • Cats are not overly keen on wet ground. So keeping your soil moist will deter them


As said before, no deterrent is effective with all cats so keep trying methods until you hit upon the solution for you. Good luck!