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How to Keep Cats Off Your Car (6 Proven Methods)

Nicole Cosgrove

Regardless if you love ‘em or hate ‘em, nobody wants a cat walking all over the top of their car. Even if you don’t actually witness a cat on your car, you’ll definitely notice the aftermath of tiny paw prints, paint scratches, or tarp tears.

Far worse, those hood ornament felines might be tempted to hunker down near your engine come wintertime. If a kitty is underneath your hood when you turn the motor on, it could seriously injure or even kill them.

Luckily, there are some simple preventative measures you can take to dissuade cats from lurking atop your vehicle. Here’s how to keep cats off your car at night.


1. Use Mothballs

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

The simplest (and cheapest) way to keep paws off your car is placing mothballs in, on, and around your vehicle. Stick the mothballs on the roof, under the hood, and behind the tires. Cats hate the scent and will avoid your ride at all costs. However, it is important to note that mothballs can be toxic to felines. They contain high concentrations of insect repellent and if consumed, can cause tummy troubles, neurological issues, and even liver damage. Thus, using mothballs to curb car-loving cats should always be your last resort.

2. Keep Things Spicy

spices in bowls on table
Image Credit: babawawa, Pixabay

A less smelly, and safer, alternative to mothballs is sprinkling cayenne pepper around your car. You don’t have to apply the pepper directly on to your vehicle, just nearby. It may take a few days to keep curious kitties at bay, but cayenne pepper has been proven to be an effective cat repellent.

3. Water Works

lawn-sprinkler spewing water
Image Credit: ariesa66, Pixabay

It’s common knowledge: most cats hate water. If your lawn is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, time it to go off during the night. Motion-controlled sprinklers are also great for deterring cats from coming too close.

If all else fails or you don’t have sprinklers, a good old fashion spray bottle will do the trick.

4. Sound the Alarm

To send pesky cats scattering, activate your car alarm. The sudden blaring noise will immediately send even the most confident cats scooting in the opposite direction. However, we don’t advise blaring the horns in the middle of the night or several times throughout the day. Loud noises can lead to annoyed neighbors.

Another great, and less noisy, option is ultrasonic pet alarms. Because their ultrasonic frequencies are too high-pitched for human ears to hear, there’s no threat of startling the neighbors. However, these animal alarms are useful for warding off intrusive critters, including cats.

5. Natural Cat Repellents

You can easily whip up your own natural kitty car repellent right at home. Cats avoid certain odors at all costs. Grab a spray bottle, water, and drop a few drops of lavender, peppermint, orange, or rosemary essential oils into the mixture. Spray the solution on every inch of your car. Reapply weekly, especially if it rains.

Related Read: 11 Humane Ways To Keep Cats Out Of Your Flower Beds

6. Have a Heart-to-Heart

If you know the owner of the kitty culprit, talk to them about the problem. Ask them to either keep their pet indoors or trim their cat’s claws to decrease the risk of surface damage on your vehicle.

Preventing Claw Marks

 If all else fails, you can protect your car from cats by:

  • Buying a generic car cover
  • Investing in protective paint film (PPF) services
  • Parking your car in the garage



It can be extremely bothersome to have your beloved car damaged by cats. Try water, pepper, or natural DIY solutions to keep cats off your vehicle. As a last result, have a chat with the owner or even try parking your car in another spot.

Featured Image Credit: PIRO4D, 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.