Though they are a popular companion animal, domesticated cats are one of the most virulent pest animals, and their outdoor presence can be devastating to local flora and fauna populations.
People with and without pets may find themselves the victims of particularly ornery populations of stray cats. There are many products on the market and lots of DIY tips for keeping cats out of your yard, which we’ll cover below. Doing so can help keep your animals and plants safe and, in the case of many people with dogs, keep stray cats safe too.
Here are the five best cat repellents for your yard on the market!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Cat Mace Cat Repellent
|Cat Scat Mat Repellent
|Bonide Go Away! Cat Repellent
|Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent
|PetAG Boundary Cat Repellent
The 5 Best Outdoor Cat Repellents
1. Cat Mace Ready-to-Use Formula Cat Repellent – Best Overall
|40 oz (Concentrate or Spray), 1 gallon (Concentrate), 1 gallon (Ready-to-use Concentrate)
|15,000 sq feet (1 gallon)
Our choice as the best outdoor cat repellent for yards is the Nature’s Mace Cat Mace Ready-to-Use Formula Cat Repellent. This repellent comes in multiple forms, can be used indoors or outdoors, and is safe for plants, animals, and children.
Cat Mace boasts all-natural ingredients that are known for keeping cats at bay. However, as with any commercially made product, there may be ingredients that did not get listed.
You can buy Cat Mace as a spray, concentrate, or a ready-to-spray concentrate with a hose nozzle that you can spray on your yard. A 1-gallon bottle of concentrate can treat a 15,000 sq ft area, so it’s very cost-effective.
As with any yard treatment, you’ll want to avoid all contact with the treated area until the spray has had time to completely dry. Many sprays recommend that you avoid the area for 24 hours and reapply the spray if it rains.
2. Cat Scat Mat Cat Repellent – Best Value
|71.5 square feet
|Varies depending on how it is used
Our choice for best outdoor cat repellent for the money is the Cat Scat Mat Cat Repellent. This is a PP material mat with small spikes that can be cut and linked together to create a barrier around an area. The tips aren’t enough to harm the animals but will gently deter them from trying to walk further into your property.
You can use the Cat Scat Mat to mark off areas that you don’t want cats to enter, or you can mount them on trees and fences to keep cats from climbing them. However, it can hurt when you step on them as well, so make sure you don’t want barefoot in the areas where the mats are placed.
3. Bonide Go Away! Cat & Dog Repellent – Premium Choice
|Varies depending on usage
Our premium choice for the best outdoor cat repellent is Bonide Go Away! Cat Dog & Rabbit Repellent. The formula comes in granule form and has a spreader cap, so you don’t need a granule spreader to use it. The instructions recommend that you spread a 4-inch-wide barrier of granules around any area you want to protect, which can be pretty costly. Still, it claims to help with behavior modification for cats, dogs, and rabbits.
The granules are made of all-natural repellents like thyme and cinnamon that help ward animals away from your yard. Since the granules are made of all-natural ingredients, they won’t cause any harm to your plants or children. While animals won’t be inclined to put them in their mouths, they’re non-toxic if ingested as well.
4. Four Paws Keep Off! Repellent for Cats and Kittens
|16 fl. oz
Four Paws Keep Off! Repellent for Cats and Kittens is a popular spray for indoor use, but it can also be used outdoors. The real downside of this spray is that it has to be applied every day or every other day to be effective. While outdoor use is possible, it seems to have been more of a manufacturing afterthought.
Pet parents looking to permanently keep strays out of their yards might want to pass on this in favor of other products. However, those looking for a spray that can be used indoors and outdoors to help with their own cat’s behavior might find this to be the perfect product since it’s safe for all indoor surfaces, including fabrics and leather.
5. PetAG Boundary Cat Repellent
|22 fl. oz
PetAG Boundary Cat Repellent is a lot like Keep Off! It’s a regular spray bottle for indoor and outdoor use that similarly requires a daily application to be helpful. The notable trait of Boundary is that it’s not safe for children.
Many customers report that the spray has an unpleasant scent and the ingredient information is pretty nebulous, which leads to whether or not this is truly safe for our pets. We know it’s not safe for our children, so it’s hard to think that it would be too different if accidentally ingested by a cat or dog.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Outdoor Cat Repellent
When choosing something to repel animals from your yard, there are always a lot of factors that go into choosing the correct method. We’ve compiled some repellent formulas from the market, but there are excellent DIY options and non-spray options for people who don’t want to use synthetic chemicals in their yards.
When choosing an animal repellent, we, of course, don’t want to harm the animals we’re repelling; we want them to stay away! Some synthetic chemicals in repellents are harmful to animals and may leave animal lovers and pet parents wary. This fear is especially true of those with their own companion animals that consider the backyard part of their homes.
Let’s take a look at the most important factors to consider when choosing the best cat repellent for gardens:
DIY Cat Repellent
There are several do-it-yourself options that pet parents can employ. These options can help humans mark off a boundary that keeps cats away from their yards without using any potentially harmful synthetic materials.
Oil, Wire, or String
Placing a wire or string over the top of a wood or vinyl fence can help deter stray cats from walking along the wall or jumping onto it to get into your yard. The wire doesn’t harm the cats but makes the surface uncomfortable for them to walk on, so they’ll avoid it. This method does rely on the homeowner having the correct kind of fence.
Coffee Grounds and Citrus Peels
You can mix coffee grounds with citrus peels and spread those like mulch around plants and areas you don’t want cats to enter. The smell of the citrus peels and the feel of the coffee grounds will keep them away from the site.
Coffee grounds also contain several essential minerals that plants can use to grow big and strong. So using this cat repelling fertilizer helps both fronts!
Coffee grounds and citrus peels can be laid anywhere you don’t want cats to go. You can make a perimeter boundary or even fertilize your whole yard with it.
If you don’t want to use coffee grounds, you can use gravel to help ward cats off your plants. Gravel is better used as a perimeter barrier or around certain plants you want to keep the cats away from as it can damage smaller, softer plants like grass.
Plants That Cats Hate
There are a lot of plants that cats can’t stand. There are several plants to choose from that you can use to beautify your yard and ward away the cats. Coelus canina, rue, and lavender are all plants that cats hate. You can plant them as a perimeter barrier or weave them into your garden to help cats know what places to avoid.
DIY Cat Repellent Spray
You can also make your own cat repellent spray. By doing so, you can control what substances go into the spray but also what — if anything — the spray smells like. While most commercial cat repellent sprays claim not to have any smell, some pet parents may want to have a spray that doubles as an air freshener. Making your spray, you can have that.
While vinegar may have an unpleasant smell to humans, it’s even more unpleasant to cats. With very little diluted vinegar, you can keep cats away because the smell is repugnant to them.
To make this spray, you’ll want to mix one part white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Swirl them together, then add gentle dish soap or Castille soap to the mixture and shake well.
The soap will mask the smell of the vinegar for humans but not for cats. So, they’ll be able to smell the vinegar, but you’ll smell whatever lovely soap you put in the mixture!
This recipe calls for citrus peels. Cats hate the smell of citrus, and any citrus peel will work. Take one cup of your citrus peels, 2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and lemon-scented dish soap.
Start by bringing your water to a boil. Add your cup of citrus peels and simmer them over low heat for 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes, and then add the mixture to a spray bottle. Remove any large pieces of peel that won’t fit in the bottle, then add two squirts of lemon-scented dish soap and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Shake well, and you’re ready to apply!
Diluted orange juice also makes a great cat deterrent. Mix one part orange juice and one part water, then spray on the area you’d like to treat. Be careful where you apply orange juice, as it will bleach any fabrics that it touches, even if it’s diluted.
Other Kinds of Barriers
If making your own barrier isn’t your speed, there are other non-chemical methods to ward cats out of your yard. Non-chemical deterrents rely on using safe, natural stimuli that cats hate. These deterrents can also be great for keeping other pest animals out of your yard. So, if you’re also looking to keep away other pest animals that are turning your garden into a snack, these could work well for you.
Motion-activated sprinklers are another great way to keep cats out of your yard. Cats hate water and will flee when the sprinklers activate and blast them with a spray of cold water. There are a lot of different kinds of motion activations, including infrared sensors that have a higher threshold for movement and don’t trigger on leaves blowing by. You can even get timed sensors that won’t go off during certain times of the day so your family can enjoy the yard without worry.
Ultrasonic barriers emit sounds that are inaudible to humans but highly uncomfortable to certain animals. By employing one, the animals will avoid the area because it’s uncomfortable to remain in it. Ultrasonic barriers are usually effective against more than just cats since the sounds they emit cause discomfort for more than one pest animal.
Ultrasonic barriers designed explicitly for animals other than cats may have questionable efficacy on cats. However, the ones specifically designed for cats have been shown to reduce the frequency of stray cat visits by 46%.
Ultrasonic barriers can present an effective and safe mechanism to ward off offending cats away from the yard. Many of the ones on the market are solar-powered and will require minimal maintenance once set up.
Keeping pest animals out of our yards and helping our pets understand what places they can and can’t go to are essential factors of homeownership. Though it may be hard to think of cats as pest animals, there’s no doubt that a stray cat can do immense damage to a yard. Our choice for the best overall cat repellent is Cat Mace. Cat Mace will get the job done and has great value. Our choice for the best cat repellent for the money was the Cat Scat Mat for pet parents on a budget. Pet parents looking to spend a little more can rely on Bonide’s Go Away! to repel not only cats but also rabbits and dogs. No matter your situation, there are options out there to help you protect your home and pets.
- Next on your reading list: 10 Best Cat Repellents and Deterrents in the UK – Reviews & Top Picks
Fetured Image Credit: OCEANPAX, Amazon