Best Cat Repellents: How To Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture & Invading the Garden
A great cat repellent safely keeps cats under control.
“Cat repellent” is a broad term referring to a variety of sprays, powders, natural substances, devices, and other tools that, generally speaking, safely make an area unappealing to cats by either scaring them away or making the location uncomfortable.
In order to help you find a great repellent that’s relevant to your unique set of needs, we’ll address the different ways that cat repellents can be used and which types are best for specific situations. Whether you’re trying to keep away strays or simply want your indoor cat to respect your furniture there is a good solution for your situation.
Once we’ve broken down the search into categories and types, take a look at our list of the top 5 best cat repellents to get an in-depth review of the products we think quite highly of.
What is the Best Cat Reppellent?
Ways to Use Cat Repellent
As a Training Aid Indoors
Cat repellents can work as a hands-off training solution, making it easy to train your cat to stay away from certain areas without constant supervision. You could spray a cat repellent on a sofa your cat’s been scratching or use another deterrent to keep your cat from jumping on the counter.
For some, what’s more important than keeping their cat from engaging in certain behaviors is keeping them out of designated areas. If you don’t want your cat to enter the kitchen for hygienic reasons, for example, a cat repellent can help to discourage them from entering that room.
There are a variety of different cat repellents designed to work as training aids indoors. You can find repellent tape, noisemakers, motion detecting deterrents, and sprays.
Keeping Cats Out of the Yard or Garden
Cat repellents are also perfect for those who want to deter outdoor cats from entering their gardens or yards. Cats are notorious for using garden soil as a toilet – a frustrating and destructive habit. For gardeners plagued by four-footed intruders, an effective cat repellent effectively and harmlessly keeps the garden safe.
Just like indoor repellents, these are available in multiple forms – you’ll find motion-activated repellents, ultrasonic repellents, powders, and sprays.
In the next section, we’ll go over the applications and effectiveness of each different cat repellent type.
Types of Cat Repellents
1. Spray Repellent
There are different types of spray repellents that work for indoor or outdoor applications. These products are formulated with a combination of ingredients that are irritating or unpleasant to cats. Apply spray repellents directly on the area you want to keep your cat away from. These can have a hit-or-miss effect, since not all formulations are irritating to every cat.
2. Powder Repellent
These repellents are for outdoor use only and, if the target cat is sensitive to the repellent, effectively keeps them from returning to the area. The powders contain irritants that cause eye and nose discomfort while not hurting the cat. They are easy to apply and convenient to use. They’re best for those looking to deter cats from a smaller area, such as a small garden. One drawback of powdered repellents is that they may blow away in the wind and can be washed away by rain. Like spray repellents, they’re usually hit-or-miss and are typically not consistently effective solutions.
3. Motion-Activated Repellent
Depending on which type you buy, these repellents may be used indoors or outdoors. They are designed to keep cats out of specified areas, like a countertop or garden plot. As the name suggests, these repellents do their job by detecting motion and automatically emitting a deterrent. There are multiple types of motion-activated cat repellents. They may emit water, air, a noise, or both. For those looking to keep their cat out of a specified area, whether indoors or outdoors, a motion-activated repellent is an effective choice.
4. Ultrasonic Repellent
These repellents are also for outdoor use and are ideal for those looking to protect a larger area from cat invasion. If you want to keep cats out of your yard or large garden, these devices are highly reliable and effective. Ultrasonic repellents emit a very high-pitched noise that’s usually only audible to cats and other animals. Some young people may be able to detect this high-frequency noise, as well.
5. Training Mats
Training mats can effectively keep cats out of certain areas. These mats may give a mild electric shock or be covered in uncomfortable spikes that discourage your cat from jumping on or touching the area that they cover. One of the drawbacks of these tools is that they can be aesthetically unattractive and make the protected areas unappealing for humans to use as well. Depending on the type that you choose, these mats can be suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
What makes a cat repellent great?
Motion-detecting units and ultrasonic devices are the most reliable type of cat deterrent, but these pieces are not for everyone. For those looking for a product that discourages their cat from engaging in a specific behavior, it can be a challenge to find a repellent that works consistently. Most cat repellents, especially those that rely on irritants or odors, have noticeably mixed reviews. This is largely because all cats are different – a repellent that is anathema to one is barely noticeable to another.
That said, there are some repellents that stand out from the rest.
In choosing the following list of the top 5 best cat repellents, the following criteria for excellence was used.
A great cat repellent must be completely safe, not only for cats, but for humans and other pets. A repellent that could cause harm is completely unacceptable.
You shouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant price for a mediocre product. While sitting at various price points, all of the products on the following list deliver a quality product for a reasonable price.
A history of satisfied customers
Customer reviews tell us a lot about a product – and they’ve played a huge role in finding the best cat repellents available. A great cat repellent has a history of working effectively and making customers happy.
Top 5 Best Cat Repellents
Quick Look : Top Recommended Cat Repellents
PetSafe Ssscat Pet Deterrent Training Aid Review
A motion-activated indoor training aid
This training aid and repellent uses compressed air and motion detection to startle your cat when they attempt to enter a restricted area. This battery-operated repellent tool can detect motion from up to 3 feet away, allowing you to effectively train your cat to stay out of certain areas without having to constantly oversee their actions. Place it by a trash can, potted plant, on a countertop, or as a barrier to any other area. This safe, simple product emits up to 200 sprays before the can needs to be replaced. – Buy It
- The spray is odorless and harmless
- Effectively deters cats from entering specific areas
- Makes hands-off training possible, managing your cat’s behavior when you’re not at home
- It’s easy to replace the spray can
- The nozzle will rust if exposed to the elements outdoors
- Some reviewers reported that their product had a defective sensor
Sentry Stop That! Noise & Pheromone Cat Spray Review
A noisemaking pheromone spray that redirects your cat’s attention
This training aid emits a combination of noise and synthetic pheromones that makes it easy to both stop unwanted behavior and calm your cat. Cats naturally emit pheromones to communicate with other cats, and the synthetic version has been used for years as a calming aid. The repellent redirects their attention and reduces the likelihood of recurrent behaviors. While this repellent is an effective training aid, it demands that you see your cat engaging in the behavior. It’s not an automatic deterrent for hands-off training. – Buy It
- Effectively stops unwanted behavior and then uses a pheromone spray to refocus and calm your cat
- Has a chamomile lavender scent
- Completely safe for pets and humans
- Not a hands-off training solution
Claw Withdraw Cat Scratch Spray Deterrent Review
An indoor repellent spray
This repellent uses a safe and natural astragalus-rosemary herbal blend to keep cats from engaging in unwanted behaviors. In many cases, cats dislike the smell of this spray so much that a spritz of it on the furniture is enough to keep them from scratching. While this product is an exceptionally effective cat repellent spray, it doesn’t please everyone: some reviewers stated that its smell was too strong and filled their home. – Buy It
- Natural herbal blend safely deters cats
- Spray on furniture to discourage scratching
- Safe to spray on multiple surfaces like plants, countertops, and other areas you want to repel your cat from
- Easy-to-use spray
- Comes with an 180 day satisfaction guarantee
- Has a strong smell that some people find offensive
- Doesn’t work for every cat
VOLADOR Outdoor Solar Powered Animal Repeller Review
An ultrasonic outdoor cat repellent
For repelling cats from a larger area like the entirety of your yard, this solar powered ultrasonic repeller does an exceptional job. This tool works by emitting a high-pitched noise that only animals – and some young people – can hear. It has five different modes to emit three unique frequencies, alternating frequencies and a flashing light, or only a bright flashing light. The multiple frequencies allow users to deter multiple types of animals. Depending on the surroundings and the size of the animal, the sound has a range of up to about 26 feet. It uses solar power to recharge the 3xAA batteries and comes with a USB cable as an alternative charging method. – Buy It
- Far more reliable than sprays and powders for repelling outdoor cats
- Covers a large range, meaning that you can keep a large area free from cats
- The ultrasonic noise is inaudible to most humans
- Has multiple charging methods to ensure that it doesn’t suddenly stop working
- Weather-resistant so that you can use it outdoors in the rain
- Some people can hear the ultrasonic noise
- May repel animals that you do want in your yard – so it’s not great for people with cats who only want to keep their pet out of a specific area or to discourage a certain behavior
Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler Review
A motion activated sprinkler for outdoor use
This sprinkler emits a surprising spray of water when cats enter its up to 40-foot adjustable detection range. This water spray is a harmless shock that sends cats running in the opposite direction. According to Orbit, the Yard Enforcer has the most features of any product of its type on the market. Its standout features include an adjustable line of sight to ensure that the infrared sensor detects the right animals, intelligent sensing that learns the difference between animals and tree limbs blowing in the wind, day and night detection modes for longer battery life, and the ability to double as a normal sprinkler. – Buy It
- With a 40-foot spray and 120° arc motion sensor, this sprinkler enables you to deter cats from large outdoor areas
- Completely safe for cats, other animals, and humans
- Delivers over 7500 activation cycles on 4xAA batteries
- Sturdy, heavy-duty construction
- Intelligent sensing and adjustable line of sight helps the sprinkler to only spray the right animals
- A solid record of effectively deterring cats
- Several reviewers complained that the day/night settings didn’t work on their sprinklers
Natural Cat Repellent
There are several commonly recommended natural solutions that don’t require the use of a product specifically marketed as a repellent.
Some natural repellents include:
- Orange peel
- Cayenne pepper
- Cinnamon oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Orange oil
In my experience, these alternative repellents aren’t consistently effective. While some cats may be deterred by an application of these oils and other natural ingredients, others are completely unaffected by them. My cat, for example, loves to eat citrus fruits – so in his case, the popular idea that cats are repelled by citrus is obviously untrue.
Before trying a commercial product, however, these alternative repellents are worth a try. Experiment with a few different options to find out which ones work for you.
When using essential oils, combine one part oil and three parts water in a spray bottle and spritz on the area. These repellents are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, but it’s recommended that you test them on a small, discreet area before applying a larger amount.
It should go without saying that you should never use toxic substances to deter cats. Mothballs and naphthalene flakes are poisonous to cats and using them as a repellent could result in death. Anything that isn’t safe for your cat to ingest shouldn’t be used as a repellent.
Keeping Cats Out of the Garden
In addition to deterring cats using the above solutions, here are some other steps you can take to deter cats from invading and damaging your garden areas.
Cover the soil.
If cats have been damaging your garden, there are several ways that you can make that area less attractive as a litter box.
- Lay down chicken wire or other fencing material over exposed soil, turning any sharp ends under the soil.
- Place rocks over exposed soil. This has the added benefit of adding distinctive appeal to your flowerbeds while preventing weed growth.
- Embed chopsticks deep in the soil, leaving the ends exposed. Placing these throughout the soil makes it an uncomfortable place for cats to explore.
- Arrange branches in a lattice pattern around the flowerbed or garden.
Add cat-deterrent plants to the garden.
Some plants have a reputation for being unpopular with cats. These plants include rue, lavender, and pennyroyal. Again, not all cats are deterred by these plants and some will waltz right through them without flinching.
Deter through distraction.
Give your feline invaders a distraction from your prized garden areas by providing them with something better: create a designated sandbox for them to use as a litter box, preferably accompanied by a patch of fresh catnip – an herb that cats naturally love.