With over 200 million odor sensors, cats are 9-16 times better at capturing scents of things than humans. Perhaps, this particular possession is the reason most cat repellents are created to tickle their sense of smell.
Yesterday, Benjamin, one of my neighbors living in the next block, said, “Hey Omar, I tried three different items labelled as ‘cat repellent’, but I couldn’t see the difference. What’s the matter?” Later, he told me that he was wants to know what cat repellents work and which ones do not.
My reply goes like this. Cat repellents work, but the results one may see usually vary. This variability provokes the question in the first place. To feed Ben’s curiosity and help others having the same confusion, I’ve put all my knowledge and ideas together in this article.
What Cat Repellents Work?
Manufacturers of repellents might claim that the particular product or device (they sell) can repel cats without failing, but experts haven’t established any such theory.
The species of cats we pet and the surroundings we allow them to thrive are the primary determiners of the performance of any repellent. The following types of repellents are what our options are.
- Fluids/Sprays (Commercial and Homemade)
- Powders and Granules
- Electronic/Mechanical Devices
Liquid/Spray Cat Repellents That Really Work
There are several cat repellents for gardens available in liquid or spray forms. These products are mixtures of specifically formulated chemicals containing both organic and inorganic matters.
One of the key chemicals is aluminum sulfate which in combination with other ingredients makes a strong smell to keep our feline creatures away from the places of our choosing.
Manufactured to be safe for plants, trees, and vegetation, a small container of such spray comes with enough fluid to keep awful smell all over a common home garden throughout the year.
Once you apply the liquid directly on the place you intend to keep from cats; it should stay effective for at least 3-4 days before requiring a reapplication.
I should remind you one thing here. None of these solutions can be a replacement for the standard safety arrangement for the place you’re trying to protect.
In addition, don’t expect them to be effective for all breeds except the domesticated ones. Some repellent agents are more unpleasing to humans than creatures like feral cats which may very well be immune to the odor they produce.
Citrus Oil Cat Repellent
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), citrus fruits smell in a particularly displeasing way for cats. It means you can sprinkle lemon or orange peels around the plants.
Another non-toxic solution is 2-undecanone which is actually a colorless organic liquid known as methyl nonyl ketone. The organic compound can be extracted from a wide variety of plant sources, including from the essential oil of rue.
Its low toxicity rating and eco-friendly properties may be so appealing that you might want to use the oil on all types of plants. But I would say decorative plants are the only good candidates. Be careful while applying because methyl nonyl ketone is associated with skin and eye irritation.
Essential Oil Cat Repellent Spray
You’ll have more than just 2-3 choices if you choose this method. Not only are these oils safe, they can keep a curious cat away as long as the smell stays.
Speaking of a cat repellent for indoor use, I can name a few such as eucalyptus, lemongrass, mustard, peppermint and so on. Not all of these essential oil extracts can be equally beneficial, but you can always experiment on your pet.
Undo the top of the bottle containing the oil and allow the creature to smell it. A cat that doesn’t like any particular smell usually flinches or moves its head away from the container.
You can purchase these products, but preparing your own repellent is a smart idea too. Mix four parts of plain water with one part of the oil and shake the mixture up in a small spray bottle.
The ratio of dilution can be experimented, though. You can try mixing 10-15 drops of an essential oil with ¾ parts of water. The spray is safe for use on both plants and other household articles.
Cayenne Pepper Cat Repellent
Cayenne pepper is a very popular repellent. Capsaicin is the chemical in this pepper that keeps cats away. Many commercial cat repellents use cayenne pepper as one of the key ingredients.
Here is a quick recipe. Mix 16 parts of plain water with 1 part of cayenne base hot sauce or ground flakes. Water and capsaicin should create the right scent to drive cats off the intended place.
Powders and Granules
These repellents come in more powerful and concentrated formulations and are known for their longer lasting efficiency on outdoor areas. You can apply them directly on the soil.
Being resistant to most weather elements, powdered repellents and granules may continue to deter both domestic and feral breeds for over a month without hurting them.
Strong currents of water or wind may blow the powder away leaving your garden unprotected. So, you may not always be able to use them once to forget using them again until a few weeks.
Feces and Predator Urine Cat Repellent
Predator odors are proven to work wonders when it comes to using a repellent. Urine of coyote and fox in the form of a powder scares cats away as they get the notion that a predator is nearby.
Such a repellent contains natural components which are not detrimental to us and the environment. Rumor has it that coyote urine burns plants, but these products are safe for them.
It is usable on many things including your cars’ roof. But don’t overuse because you won’t find the smell acceptable if it inhabits the region you’re living in.
Lion dung can be an amazing in the sense that cats may catch the territorial scent of a predator, a larger feline actually. Buy pebbles of fertilizer with lion essence from a pet store and use them.
Electronic Cat Repellent Devices
Some people are more invested in technological solutions to any problem than other methods. Well, I don’t see anything wrong as long as technology does more good than harm.
Motion Sensor Sprinklers
Using one of the sprinklers means you don’t have to rely on chemicals anymore. These devices detect a motion from the approaching pet, sprinkle a quick and moderately violent burst of water to startle and scare it away.
While the majority of such products are designed as cat repellents for yards, you can get some for indoor purposes too. Some models emit air instead of water.
Do Ultrasonic Cat Repellents Work?
If you want something exclusively for large outdoor areas like yards or gardens, a battery or solar powered ultrasonic device is your best bet because they don’t need much manual intervention.
These devices use infrared sensors to sense the presence of the invading animals and then emit very high-pitched sound which is audible to cats and inaudible to us in most cases.
Some ultrasonic devices include strobe-lights to send visual warnings which make cats feel endangered. Most of the devices made for this purpose don’t have indicators to let you know when it gets out of order. So, you may need to monitor them manually.
A Natural Way: Cat Repellent House Plants
I think few people can always keep an eye on their cats to prevent them from messing with household belongings. Since most of the technical solutions work better outside than inside, keeping some indoor plants can be a wonderful way to manage cats’ behavior.
- Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary)
- Coleus Canina (Scaredy Cat Plant)
The above species provide all the benefits of plants, and cats don’t get along with them nicely. So, they’ll stay away from them and anything that surrounds them.
Some plants can also be considered for outdoor areas. Besides enhancing the beauty of your garden, these plants will also help protect other pet-friendly members from cats’ aggression.
- Pelargonium (Geraniums)
- Mentha Pulegium (Pennyroyal)
- Ruta Graveolens (Rue)
- Helichrysum Augustfolium (Curry Plant)
- Pelargonium Graveolens Citrosa (Citronella)
- Cymbopogon (Lemongrass)
Nowadays, training mats have become a favorite cat repellent to many cat owners who don’t mind seeing their kitties having a very mild electric shock or getting covered in spikes. Place the mat on your carpet and see how the cat reacts upon touching it.
Mats with prickle strips present prickling surfaces which make it hard and troublesome for cats to step on. You can place one of those mats around the indoor/outdoor tree or wall you want to protect. However, buying those mats may not be wise for you’ll need lots of them to cover a large surface.
Small items including aluminum foil, adhesive tape, and sandpaper can cause discomfort to the cat. So, you can choose any of them as a cat repellent for furniture.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Repellents
Now, I would like you to pay attention to a few questions which people often ask as they attempt to choose a repellent with great usability.
What Is the Most Effective Cat Repellent?
Answer: All cat repellents can be useful upon the condition that you use them appropriately. For example, powder repellents work really well if they don’t get blown/washed away. Some natural cat repellent plants can give the animals a hard time, but feral cats are very tough, and you need to devise special techniques to repel them.
Repellent sprays are known for their effectiveness with the mixtures containing ingredients in the right ratio. Electronic devices are fine too, but you cannot expect them to keep working for years without having active or working batteries/power supply systems in place.
Homemade cat repellents are, in my opinion, the most affordable options because the required ingredients are easy to get. Again, there are concerns for the appropriate mixture.
Do Cat Repellents Really Work?
Answer: Every single method that I’ve talked about is commonly used by cat keepers, but nobody will guarantee that any particular measure is 100% okay under all circumstances.
If the job of a repellent is to safely deter a cat from causing any harm to anything that you want unharmed, the aforementioned methods are okay. So, cat repellents work as long as you are willing to accept the unavailability of scientific and substantiated evidences for each of them.
Is Vinegar a Good Cat Repellent?
Answer: As much as vinegar is affordable, it is a great natural repellent. The scent that comes from distilled vinegar doesn’t do much to the body of the cat, but it certainly disturbs their nose. So, it is not surprising to see a cat trying to get away as far as possible from the source of vinegar.
You should keep the strength level of vinegar just as much as required by the cat to dislike it. If it is sprayed while it is too strong, it may be harmful to the plants you’re spraying on. Dilute vinegar with water keeping it in the least possible amount.
What Smell Will Repel Cats?
Answer: Sliced/Peeled citrus fruits, specific plants as mentioned above, pepper, curry, cinnamon, banana, cedar, pine, and dirty litter box don’t give cats any pleasant feeling. These smells are known to have repellent effects on them.
People who want to look beyond the above methods can adopt alternative preventive measures which include training cats not to go into certain places and removing what attract cats.
Foods that contain fat and protein in plenty and smell a lot draw cats closer. So, try to keep those food items covered in a way that your cat’s nose cannot catch the smell.
Finally, use proper precautions while applying any powder or spray because some of those deterrents can cause skin irritations or other physical harms to you and the cat.
Are you still wondering what cat repellents work best and looking for more natural repellents? Feel free to write to me, so I can offer some homemade indoor cat repellent recipes.
You Can Also Read About Cats
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