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How to Keep Cats Off Outdoor Furniture (14 Proven Methods)

Nicole Cosgrove

Cat lover or not, it’s really frustrating when you spend the big bucks on a new set of outdoor furniture only for a cat to decide the legs are a scratching post and the cushion is a bed. It’s especially frustrating when that cat isn’t even your cat. As frustrating as it may be, you still want to keep the cat safe. Finding safe and effective methods can take a lot of trial and error, depending on just how set that cat is on hanging out on your furniture. You’ll be glad to know, though, that there are multiple options available for you to try. If you’re not sure how to keep cats off your patio furniture, keep reading to find out some safe but proven methods.

divider-multiprintHow to Keep Cats Off Outdoor Furniture

1. Natural Cat Repellent Spray

There are multiple scents that cats don’t appreciate, including vinegar, peppermint, cinnamon, and lavender. Creating a spray out of some scents that cats don’t like, or even just a diluted vinegar spray, can help deter cats from your furniture without making your furniture less enjoyable for you. Remember, cats have a much stronger sense of smell than we do. Avoid using products that might attract bugs or make things sticky, like fruit juices. Be cautious using essential oils as some can be dangerous for cats to inhale, and never spray essential oils while your cat is nearby.

tabby cat jumping
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Commercial Cat Repellent Spray

If making your own spray isn’t your thing, there are commercial cat repellent sprays you can purchase. Some of these products are scents that cats don’t like, but others may include pheromones or other indicators that a larger, predatory animal is in the area. Even some products that are intended to deter scratching and marking may keep cats away from your furniture entirely. These sprays may be just enough to keep the cat in different parts of your yard and away from your patio furniture.

3. Cat Repellent Plants

If you’re hoping to avoid spraying or applying anything to your furniture, then plants that deter cats may be an effective option for your patio area. The best part about many of these plants is that they are flowering plants, so they will attract important pollinators, like butterflies, hummingbirds, and honeybees. Lavender, pennyroyal, lemon thyme, geraniums, lemongrass, rue, citronella, and scaredy cat plant are all good options to deter cats from your patio area. Some of these plants will also deter other animals and insects, like mosquitos.

outdoor cat repellant to keep cats away from plants
Image Credit: Amazon

4. Citrus

There’s a reason that cats are deterred by lemon thyme and lemongrass, and that’s because cats don’t like citrus. The addition of citrus peels on or around your furniture can help deter cats and create a pleasant scent for you. If your furniture is in a well-covered area, then you can even put out a pot of citrus-heavy potpourri. If you’re using fresh citrus peels, make sure to change them out every couple of days for them to stay effective and to prevent the yucky smell of rotting citrus.

5. Double-Sided Tape

This isn’t an ideal solution if you’re using your furniture on a very regular basis, but it is a proven solution to keeping cats off of furniture. Cats don’t like the stickiness of the tape on their feet, and they will typically give up on that space if they’ve experienced double-sided tape. Sometimes, even just one encounter with the tape is enough to deter a cat. There are double-sided tapes made specifically for this purpose, but you can also use regular household double-sided tape. Make sure whatever you use isn’t going to harm the cat, like industrial tape or sticky pads might.

duct tape
Image Credit: Pixabay

6. Aluminum Foil

Cats aren’t fans of aluminum foil. They don’t like the way it sounds, looks, or feels, so laying sheets of aluminum foil on furniture cushions can deter cats in a similar way to the double-sided tape. This is another solution that isn’t ideal if you’re using your furniture regularly, but it is a good option for colder months. You will likely need to secure the foil down to your furniture somehow to keep it from blowing away.

7. Pet Repellent Furniture Pads

You can purchase pet repellent furniture pads that are made with materials that animals find uncomfortable. These are typically some form of plastic or similar material with hard nubs that will deter cats. To use the furniture, you just move the pad out of the way and put it back when you’re finished.

8. Mothballs

Mothballs are an effective cat deterrent, but they shouldn’t be left where an animal could accidentally ingest them. For this to be effective for your patio furniture, you’ll want to put mothballs inside the cushions. Keep in mind, though, that mothballs don’t have a particularly pleasant scent, so this will deter cats, but it might make your patio experience less enjoyable.

mothballs naphthalene balls on wooden scoop
Image Credit: Faizal Ramli, Shutterstock

9. Make a Cat-Friendly Area

Creating a space that attracts your cat can help keep it off of your furniture. Fill the space with cat attractants, like catnip, rosemary, bean sprouts, and marigolds. You may even consider creating a covered area with a cozy spot for your cat to nap. Toys and textures your cat enjoys, like sand or scratching posts, are also good additions. Enclosed catios are a great option if you are interested in allowing your cat outside time without the ability to free roam. You can also consider simply adding a soft spot for your cat to spend time if your cat only gets on the furniture to spend time with you.

10. Electronic Repellents

There are two primary options for electronic cat repellents. The first is simply installing motion lights or sprinklers that will spook any neighborhood cat that wanders too close to your furniture. The other option is ultrasonic deterrent devices, which create a high-pitched sound that is generally not audible to human ears. This frequency is uncomfortable for cats, but not harmful.

11. Training

Contrary to popular belief, cats are trainable. Using positive reinforcement to encourage your cat away from your patio furniture is a wonderful way to help your cat learn what spaces are and aren’t cat appropriate. This option will likely need to be combined with other options as well. Training alone may not help your cat fully understand that you are trying to encourage them away from a specific area.

cat eating treat
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

12. Putting Away Furniture or Cushions

The easiest way to keep cats off your furniture is to make that furniture inaccessible when you aren’t using it. By keeping cushions and other cozy items put out of reach of cats, you will successfully keep your fabric items intact and clean. If your furniture isn’t too unwieldy, sticking it in a garage or shed when you aren’t using it is also an effective way to keep entire pieces of furniture safe from cats.

13. Talk to the Owner

If you’re having a problem with your own cat getting on your furniture, having a long talk with yourself isn’t going to be particularly useful. However, if you’re dealing with a neighbor’s cat, you may have success by talking to the cat’s owner about your issues. Some people are more difficult than others, so this won’t always work. You may come across people who either don’t care or don’t want to attempt to keep their cat on their own property. If your neighbors are reasonable, though, then they may be willing to implement changes on their end to keep their cat out of your space.

Woman checking out a stray cat
Image Credit: sandryriveraa, Pixabay

14. Furniture Covers

Using regular protective furniture covers isn’t going to keep cats off of your furniture. It can, however, keep your furniture safe and clean. Waterproof materials are a great option, especially if you are dealing with a cat that is spraying on your furniture.

divider-multiprintIn Conclusion

You’re likely to need a combination of these suggestions to successfully keep cats off of your outdoor furniture. Cats can be exceptionally stubborn, so you may encounter a lot of resistance. Keep in mind that without proper deterrence or training, a cat will hop right back on your furniture when you turn your back. Finding the right combination for your situation will depend on the cat or cats you’re dealing with, who the owner is, and what your concerns for your furniture are. Fourteen proven methods to keep cats off your outdoor furniture is a solid starting point regardless of your situation.


Featured Image Credit: Peter Gebhard, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.