Cats have a tendency to poke around places they shouldn’t go, and get into trouble around the house. If your pesky feline won’t leave your potted plants alone, or stay off the book shelves, or out of your flower garden, here are some repellents you can use indoors and outdoors.

Indoor Cat Repellents

  • Surface barriers: There are many ways to keep your kitty paws at bay. Though some owners recommend using crates or child-proof gates, these only work on occasion since cats can jump, and would likely have little difficulty escaping. For surfaces the cat treads on, try covering areas with foil, sandpaper, or thin lines of sticky double-sided tape. They do not like walking on scratchy, shiny or sticky surfaces and will learn their lesson once a space is covered with one of those unpleasant textures.
  • Scent deterrents: Felines have sensitive noses that are especially put off by strong citrus smells. Several kinds of essential oils are repugnant to them, and may send kitties skipping in the opposite direction. Rubbing a few drops of an essential oil on a damp wash cloth, and then lightly rub it over a surface, or spritz it over a couch, blanket, pillow, etc. to chase the cat away. Some of the most effective oils to be used are lemon oil, citronella/lime, lavender, peppermint, orange peel oil, and lemongrass all seem unbearable to cats, while we humans find them refreshing fragrances for the home.
  • Corrective sprays: A classic splash of water in the face will help train a cat to stay out of certain rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. The only trouble with this method is that it requires consistency with training. You and all members of your home must remember the rules, and keep the spray bottle nearby to squirt the mist at the cat’s face every time he crosses a line. Cats don’t like to get wet, and the spray will douse and shock them, which when repeated, will teach the cat that going into a certain place is NOT worth risking the spray. Some owners mix lemon oil or vinegar in the water to give a sour scent and light burn to help get the point across.

Outdoor Repellents

While many of the same indoor sprays and scent deterrents would be perfectly fine to use outdoors, there are also other protective measures you can take to protect specific areas. For example, if you have a chicken coop you’d like the cat to stay out of, or a fresh bed of tulips you don’t want Mr. Pretty Paws tramping through, then put some of these discouragements in his path.

  • Texture/Scent Barriers: The same principle of the surface barrier applies outside, but instead of using tape or sandpaper, sprinkle mini pine cones or rough pebbles and gravel wherever you don’t want your cat to roam. Get a new bottle of strong organic peppermint oil soap and leave a few streams of it surrounding the guarded area. This will not only keep cats out, but any rodents as well, since the peppermint oil stings the eyes and burns the paws. (Note that oil-based products will need to be reapplied after rainfall, since they will wash away.)
  • Natural Deterrents: If you prefer a more subtle approach, surround your garden with coleus canina, lavender springs, or rue since cats dislike those plants and will stay away from them. If none of these work, visit a gardening store and buy some repellent granules (that have the urine of foxes, coyotes and other predators) and toss these around the yard so that your feline will smell them and be warned away! Pet product supply stores also offer a variety of strong repellent sprays that will do the trick if the natural methods are in effective for your curious cat!

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