Bugs, beetles, caterpillars, you name it — plants already have enough enemies to deal with. If you happen to have a love for plants and a cat, another potential enemy adds to the list. While you can control insects through pesticides and other non-chemical means, what about your feline companion?
Thankfully, there are some cat-repellent plants that you can add to your garden. These plants have morphological traits helping them divert tiny herbivorous insects and keep pets away. If you are curious to learn about these botanical mights, please stay on this page as we discuss the top plants that keep cats away and other ways to deter them.
Are Cats Harming Your Garden or Houseplants?
In nature, felines are meat-eating predators. Hence, it's logical that its wild and agile traits still appear even after domestication. Its sharp claws harm your outdoor and indoor plants by digging soil for recreation. Some direct and indirect damage include:
- Destroyed or scratched leaves;
- Partially or fully broken branches;
- Dehydration, wilting, and lodging;
- Shattered clay pots and decors;
- Excrement and urine.
What Cats Dislike the Most?
Before you check the list of cat-deterrent plants, you must understand the cat's behavior and dislikes. It is a key to protecting your plants and preventing possible future damage:
- Water. Perhaps the most well-known and classic deterrent of domesticated cats is the aversion to cold liquid. They are scared of bodies of water, as they have originated in dry environments in the wild.
- Blind spots. Your cat is less likely to jump to a new place without exploring it first. Their hunter instincts warn them of possible danger hiding in blind spots. Tall objects, such as walls or fences, will prevent your friend from galloping to the other side.
- Smell. One of the cat traits you can manipulate to fend off your plants is to take advantage of your pet's olfactory sense. They hate the smell of predators, scented herbs, and other household substances that emit an overpowering odor.
- Texture. Pointy and textured objects sensitize cats to stay away from them. It explains their shared love for fluffy beds, pillows, and blankets. However, too much softness and smoothness cause distress, so you can use materials such as plastic or aluminum.
- Aromatic herbs. Plants with a strong smell of aromatic essential oils are an advantage against large and small foraging animals. Although it is a considerable edge against herbivores, this morphological feature can deter household cats with flesh-eating lineage.
Why Should You Use Plants That Deter Cats?
Cat-repellent plants are, perhaps, the easiest and cheapest option for keeping your pets from ruining your flower beds. They check out almost all of the cats' dislikes while creating a beautiful sight.
- Plants secrete aromatic essential oils that give off a smell strong enough to discourage cats from exploring the flower bed.
- The leaves of plants are pointy and textured, which can prevent cats from trampling or crossing over.
- Aside from their cat-deterrent properties, some fragrant plants serve the dual purpose of boosting the flavor of dishes.
- Plants are a good way to decorate your indoors and outdoors, hiding the fact that their primary purpose is to ward off your cats.
Taking advantage of plants' morphological features is an untapped resource to armor your fragile green ornaments indoors or outdoors. Additionally, it's harmless for your little friends!
List of Cat Repellent Plants to Keep Your Pet Away
Many plants possess several characteristics that can drive away pets. Continue reading as we enumerate what plants keep cats away, both indoors and outdoors, in the following points:
Here are the best selections of indoor plants that cats hate:
Botanic name: Salvia rosmarinus
Benefits: This herb releases a sweet smell that fills the room and wards off cats. You can also use it while cooking to bring a hint of freshness to your dish!
Description: Rosemary is a bushy, evergreen plant with aromatic leaves originating in the Mediterranean region. It thrives indoors and outdoors as long as it gets morning or afternoon sunshine.
Botanic name: Thymus citriodorus
Benefits: Lemon thyme is packed with antioxidants and anti-microbial properties, an indispensable attribute that can be used to preserve and enhance the taste of poultry, meat, and seafood dishes.
Description: This lemon-scented aromatic herb has tiny leaves with a sprawling habit belonging to the mint, rosemary, and lavender family. It is best grown on a sunny windowsill in the kitchen. It isn't tricky to grow as long as you keep the soil well-draining and not soggy.
Botanic name: Origanum vulgare
Benefits: It is known for various medical uses – wound healing, helping with parasite infection, and constipation. You can also add it to your Greek salads and Italian pasta for an amazing smell.
Description: Oregano belongs to the mint family. It has broad leaves and a strong smell and grows profusely from early summer to early fall. As it originates in the dry Mediterranean, it performs well in a free-draining soil mix in terracotta pots under partial or complete sunlight.
Botanic name: Plectranthus caninus
Benefits: Its striking inflorescence makes an attractive display on a balcony or a sunny window, perfect for decorative and animal-shooing purposes.
Description: A purple-flowering aromatic perennial, this plant was marketed originally for barricading cats and dogs in the garden. While others are skeptical if this would work, it works in more than 70% of tested cats due to its urine-like-smelling leaves.
Botanic name: Geranium spp.
Benefits: Geranium is an excellent decorative object possessing a welcoming scent that pleases humans but puckers cats' faces. Placing them next to your favorite plant will surely drive felines back.
Description: Closely related to Pelargonium spp., this plant has semi-succulent to woody stems and fleshy lobed leaves. Its striking blossoms add a stylish statement to anyone's windowsill or partially sunny balconies.
Plants to Keep Cats Away From Your Yard
Suppose you have an outdoor garden with delicate herbs. If you want to protect it from your lovely cat, consider planting some of the following:
Botanic name: Lavandula spp.
Benefits: With its sweet-smelling scent, it is renowned for setting a relaxing atmosphere and reducing anxiety and stress. Studies reveal that this is a good companion for insect-susceptible crops as they can repel many bugs and pests.
Description: Lavender is a bushy, strong-scented perennial plant that grows mainly in the Mediterranean basin, adorned with lilac flowers that appear in summer.
Botanic name: Ruta graveolens
Benefits: Rue is mainly used as a landscape plant but is also grown for medical and culinary purposes.
Description: It is an ornamental plant and herb crowned with a cluster of xanthous flowers. The herb grows bluish-green leaves that exhibit drought and heat tolerance in hot climatic regions.
Botanic name: Helichrysum italicum
Benefits: Fresh leaves, when added to salads, are a rich source of many vitamins and help treat dysentery, diarrhea, and diabetes.
Description: The curry plant herb is a small, bushy evergreen plant that displays its flowers in summer. It has narrow, pointed, velvety leaves that smell like curry and thus deter cats. It thrives well in poor to moderate and well-drained soils in full sunlight.
Botanic name: Rosa spp.
Benefits: Known for their multi-layered petaled flowers in a kaleidoscope of colors, Roses are perfect decorative plants for protecting the yard from cats.
Description: Aside from the beautiful flowers, its stem is studded with spines that will keep cats at a distance. The climbing and the tall, bushy varieties are well-suited to plant along the garden border to block cats from entering.
Botanic name: Cymbopogon citratus
Benefits: This grass herb can be used to catch our olfactory sense in poultry and meat dishes which is common in many Asian countries. In addition, it also repels mosquitoes and many insects aside from cats.
Description: Lemongrass has elongated, sharp-edged leaves with a solid lemony, and minty scent. This grass is easy to grow and requires minimum maintenance in subtropical to tropical climates.
Other Ways to Deter Cats From Plants
Felines are one of the smartest in the animal kingdom. Therefore, sometimes plants are not enough to keep your cat from exploring the garden. Luckily, there are some alternatives!
- Install motion sensor sprinklers. Cats have an instinct not to touch water unless they plan on drinking it. A motion-activated watering device scares them. Some reviews of cat owners confirm that this is the most effective way to prevent the paws from laying over the grass lawn.
- Spray some deterrents. A few spritzes of vinegar or garlic will surely drive cats away from your plants. You will need to redo the treatment as the odor becomes weaker. Placing odoriferous domestic waste in your gardens, such as orange or lemon peels, coffee grounds, and used tobacco, will also do the trick.
- Sprinkle some spice. Before planting any greenery, add a few dashes of cayenne pepper, chili, curry, or cinnamon powder to the soil — strong spicy aroma wards off your garden jaywalkers.
- Lay mulch or chicken wire. Looking back to the textured surface cats hate, placing a layer of soil mulch will be less enticing for them to rest. Chicken wire, especially with spike mats, also discourages them from perching on the surface. The spikes are designed to be paw-friendly and nonirritating.
What Is the Most Effective Cat Repellent?
The most effective cat repellents are plants with textured and aromatic leaves such as Lavender, Common Rue, Rosemary, Oregano, or Rose. If you prefer a more advanced method, installing motion-activated sprinklers will prevent cats from wandering in your yard.
How to Stop Neighbors' Cats in My Garden?
You can opt for plant warfare to discourage them from barging into your garden. For example, go for plants that cats dislike. Alternatively, investing in sprinklers with motion sensors is also an excellent solution.
Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away?
Coffee grounds have a powerful smell and will put your cats away from your garden if placed on the lawn or beside the plant. You might also rely on them for their soil-amending properties.
What Smell Do Cats Hate?
As cats have a well-developed sense of smell, they hate anything smelling acidic, herby, or citrusy. Therefore, if you are looking for new cat-deterring plants for your garden, go for something with a fresh herbal smell, like Rosemary or Lavender.
Do Mint Plants Keep Cats Away?
The smell of mint disturbs cats and thus keeps them away. Anything minty contains concentrated amounts of salicylate, an organic chemical found in many fruits and vegetables. It is toxic to cats and would warn them of danger.