How to Keep Cats Out of Plants? Explained with Tips & Tricks

How to Keep Cats Out of Plants

How to Keep Cats Out of Plants: Best Tips & Tricks in 2023: As cute as cats are, the fun stops with cat droppings in the garden bed or even in the sandbox, flattened plants, or dead birds in the garden. And most of the time, it’s not even your cats. You can’t ban animals from making rounds through the neighborhood garden. The owner can’t leash them either. Then how to keep cats out of plants? Or how to stop cats from eating plants? There are some ways. You can use some plants in the garden against cats, thus driving them away. Also, you can use some tricks. Cats are said to have delicate noses. You can take advantage of this in the garden and use certain plants against cats.

Which Plants can be Used to Keep Cats Away?

Now we will show you the first way to keep cats away from the garden. Cats can be kept away and driven away with scents, thorns, and dense growth. Whether cats or dogs, everyone has probably heard of the so-called “piss off” plant when it comes to driving animals out of the garden. These plants are to be planted because of their particular smell to ward off cats. Since cats can smell very well, they react offended to certain smells that are unpleasant for them and then avoid the scent sources.

These can be unique scents for cat defense from the trade or home remedies such as spices – or just plants with intense odor. These keep cats at a distance, while humans either hardly notice them or do not find the smell at all repulsive, such as that of lavender. However, they are a horror to the sensitive noses of cats. This applies to cats and martens, dogs, and rabbits.

Tips: Another method of repelling cats is to use plants with thorns or very dense growth, which act as a natural barrier to protect the entire garden or can be used to keep cats away from certain areas of the garden.

In addition, particularly dense-growing ground covers can drive cats away from garden beds. This is because animals love open ground as a place to lie and, unfortunately, as a litter box. You no longer have to worry about cat droppings in the absence of such places.

What is there to Consider about Plants for Cat Repellent?

Scented plants such as the piss-off plant keep cats away within a radius of two to five meters. However, cats react differently to the scents of the respective plant. Where one cat immediately takes flight, the next cat is entirely unimpressed. So, try out different plants against cats. However, like the other plants, the Piss Off plant does not always have the same scent. Therefore, depending on the weather may have no effect at all. Especially when there is no wind and the sun is high. The essential oils of the plants can develop and linger as a haze over the bed. When it rains, the plants do not have much of a deterrent effect, or only in the immediate vicinity, and are only of limited use as a cat repellent or to make a garden cat-proof.

Read more about What are Copperheads and How to Get Rid of Them?

On the other hand, cats love valerian and catnip. Among the many tips for cat repellent also appear these cat magnets, with which one should lure the animals to certain places in the garden so that other areas are spared. However, this only works to a limited extent, as the animals naturally roam the other garden areas anyway.

How to Keep Cats Out of Plants? Best Tips & Tricks


How to Keep Cats Out of Plants? Best Tips & Tricks

Which plants smell unpleasant to cats?

Of course, the best-known cat-proof plant is the harp shrub (Plectranthus ornatus). It was made the rounds as the piss-off plant years ago. The plant, which grows up to 80 centimeters high, is not hardy and is sometimes available in garden supply stores under the name Coleus canin.

You can also use the following plants to repel cats:

  • Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Curry herb (Helichrysum italicum)
  • Balkan cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum)

Dense hedges as a cat deterrent


Dense hedges as a cat deterrent


If you ask how to keep cats out of plants, this is probably a natural way to do so. No one likes to prick themselves on thorns, not even cats. A hedge of particularly dense or thorny plants can certainly be used as a cat deterrent and, incidentally, also keeps dogs out of the garden. As a hedge, a height between 150 and 200 centimeters is sufficient, no cat will jump first on the top of the hedge and from there into the garden. More important than the height is that the hedge is also dense at the bottom.

Among the prickly woody plants are:

  • Barberry (Berberis) – and especially Berberis thunbergii and Julianes barberry (Berberis julianae).
  • Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  • Potato rose (Rosa rugosa)
  • Holly (Ilex aquipernyi and aquifolium)

Other Effective Ways

  • Sprinkle pepper/coffee grounds

As a time-tested home remedy against strange cats in the garden, the scattering of pepper is still recommended. Simply in good weather (little wind, no rain) scatter as hot pepper as possible, alternatively other hot spices, in the beds. This is because most cats sniff the soil extensively before making a scent mark. Pepper scares them off and they quickly seek the distance.

Tips: Alternatively, you can also spread coffee grounds in the beds. Cats don’t like this smell very much either. Another advantage: in this way, you also fertilize your beds.

  • Water jet


Water jet


Furthermore, you can ambush the cats with a strong water jet from the garden hose. If an unfamiliar cat strays through your garden, turn the garden hose on full and direct the water jet towards the cat, but do not point it directly at a cat! If you use it several times, the cat will certainly avoid this area in the future; after all, we all know: cats are quite water-shy.

Final Thoughts: How to Keep Cats Out of Plants? 

A roll-out thorn grille can also be a good solution when you are searching for keeping cats out of plants. Cats do not like uncomfortable and sharp edges on their paws. They try to avoid such walking paths. This roll-out thorn grid has sharp prongs that cats may step on once but then avoid the area. The thorn grid can be cut to any size and stuck together. So, you can use it anywhere. Alternatively, you can also layout freshly chopped onions or garlic cloves in the garden.

Learn more about How to keep dogs out of your garden?

Frequently Answered Questions

Is there a spray to keep cats away from plants?

There are several options for sprays that keep cats away from plants—for example, PetSafe SSSCAT Spray, Cat Scratch Deterrent Spray, Petsvv Cat Spray, etc.

Can I spray vinegar on plants to keep cats away?

Yes, you can apply both undiluted and diluted vinegar on your plants to keep cats away from them.

How to keep cats out of houseplants?

One of the easiest methods is sprinkling with cayenne pepper around your plant and on its leaves.

What is the best cat repellent for the garden?

Cats can’t take strong smells; therefore, scent deterrents effectively repel cats from plants. For instance, lemon peel or orange. Learn more about How to keep animals out of the garden without a fence.

Elysha Murphy

I'm Elysha Murphy, the creator of Easier Gardening. I am very passionate about gardening, and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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