9 Ways To Keep Cats Away From Your Home

Our cute furry friends are not welcomed everywhere.

There are some simple tricks to keep cats away from your property, but they are not the necessarily the most efficient.

Animal welfare charity Mayhew told Newsweek that "what would work for one cat probably wouldn't necessary work for the other ten cats coming into your garden."

For the National Feline Research Council, the most common way of managing feral cat communities is through the trap-neuter-return (TNR) method. This involves cats being trapped, taken to a vet to be neutered and then returned to their habitat.

It says: "TNR can be an effective method for both reducing feral cat populations and reducing the number of cats and kittens entering local animal shelters."

If help to professionally manage the cat colony in your garden is not available, here are some tips that may help keep cats away from your home.


wild cat stock getty
Researchers believe that populations of feral animals including cats should be culled to save endangered species.

Most cats don't like water—there are exceptions, Turkish Van enjoy swimming for example—so installing motion activated sprinklers in your yard will deter them.

If you live in areas where there is a shortage of water due to drought, it may be best to add some running water features to avoid wasting water.

Citrus Scents

Citrus Oil
Cats have a natural aversion to strong, citrusy smells. Anna-Ok/Getty Images

Cats have a highly developed sense of smell, and citrus is one smell they truly dislike. Adding citrus peels of lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits around the house will deter them temporarily. Citrus smell doesn't last too long, so you will need to reapply regularly.

You can also rub the citrus fruits over garden fences or precious plant pots, but do not leave the fruit as the acidity of citrus can make cats sick.

Ultrasonic Devices

The sound produced by an ultrasonic device is beyond the range of human hearing but cats with their large, perky ears and advanced sense of hearing, can hear it and it may encourage them to leave.

Electronic cat repellent devices tend to use a high frequency sound wave, a spray of water, or both and they are widely available. Ideally, place the device near those places where you see the cats entering your property.


A lemon balm plant in pot.
A close-up view of a lemon balm plant in pot. iStock/Getty Images Plus

Plants can provide a natural cat repellent.

Cats abhor most strong scented plants such as lavender, geranium, eucalyptus, lemon balm, rosemary, or thyme. You can plant or buy plants with these strong scents to strategically put around your garden and their scent will surely deter cats.

Commercial Repellents

If you don't have the time to create a natural cat repellent, you can apply a commercial one; always choose one that is free of toxic chemicals.

There are many plant-based commercial repellents suitable for indoors, outdoors or both to keep felines away from your yard, or that precious new couch your precious cat loves scratching.

Natural Repellent Sprays

Lavender on a pillow.
Lavender essential oil and fresh lavender will keep the cats away as they dislike the smell. iStock / Getty Images Plus

For those who are not keen on using commercial cat repellents, you can make your own homemade one which will be just as effective.

Make a DIY spray bottle using lavender, citronella,or any citrus scent. Alternatively, use vinegar, it contains acetic acid and it has a distinctive odor cats hate, or spray your property with cayenne pepper.

Use Texture

Gardens are a prime target for cats as they like the bare soil for their toilet necessities, so to keep them away, add texture to entry points such as sandpaper or tape.

If you have a cat, you already know how much they dislike it when you touch their paws. They contain large concentrations of nerve receptors that make them extremely sensitive so cats will avoid any rough or sticky surface.

Plastic Bottles Filled With Water

In some areas of Japan you can see water bottles everywhere to deter cats.

Some swear by it, others say it doesn't work. In any case, this is a harmless and free method to keep cats away from your property, so you can always try and check for yourself if it is effective or just a myth.

Fill empty plastic bottles with water and leave them outside, the bottles will shimmer when sunny and rumour has it that cats dislike anything sparkly so your garden will no longer be their preferred outdoor little box.


Coffee is a natural cat repellent. They generally find coffee grounds' smell repulsive, so just sprinkle ground coffee around the garden to keep cats away. The plus side of using coffee to deter cats is that is it totally safe and the grounds are biodegradable.

Whether wild or domestic, all cats deserve a safe community, they should be protected and they should be able to roam freely without being hurt. Whatever is it you use to deter cats from entering your home, ensure that your method is just acting as a deterrent but will, in no way whatsoever, harm a cat or any other animal.