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Home > Cats > 6 Perfect Plants to Keep Cats Away: Safe & Humane Options

6 Perfect Plants to Keep Cats Away: Safe & Humane Options

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It’s no secret that cats love plants and being outdoors, but they can be a nuisance in the garden. Fortunately, there are a few plants that can keep cats away. Here are 10 that can help keep your garden cat free. These plants aren’t toxic or dangerous to cats, but they do have distinct smells that most cats hate. Read on to learn more about these pungent plants and where to put them for the best results!


The 6 Plants to Keep Cats Away Safely

1. Christmas Cactus

christmas cactus
Image By: nightowl, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera bridgesii
USDA Hardiness Zones:  10–12
Sun Exposure:  Partial shade, indirect sunlight
Soil Type:  Well-drained potting soil

The Christmas cactus is ideal for sprucing up a room while keeping felines at bay. Cats generally avoid this pungent plant and stay away.

Unlike another splendid but dangerous plant often given as a Christmas gift, the amaryllis1, the Christmas cactus is non-toxic for curious cats. You can plant this beauty in well-drained succulent soil and place it in a bright room, but be careful that it does not receive direct sunlight, or the leaves will turn yellow.

2. Chameleon Plant

chameleon plant
Image Credit: TualekPhoto, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Houttuynia cordata
USDA Hardiness Zones:  5–11
Sun Exposure:  Full sun/partial shade
Soil Type:  Moist, fertile soils

Houttuynia cordata is a low-growing shrub with attractive red, white, and green leaves. It is a spectacular addition to flowerbeds, borders, and gardens and is an excellent choice as a ground cover.

This hardy perennial thrives in fertile soils. It covers the ground beautifully and smells like a mixture of pepper, citrus, and coriander. While being non-toxic to animals, it scares cats away from the garden with its scent and dense carpet that impedes their movement.

3. Haworthia

Haworthia plant
Image Credit: MartinPhotography, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Haworthia species
USDA Hardiness Zones:  9–11
Sun Exposure:  Partial shade
Soil Type:  Sandy, well-drained

Many succulents are unattractive to cats due to their fleshy texture. The Haworthia, for example, is an ornamental succulent with long pointed leaves forming a rosette. It is unlikely that your kitties will be interested in this plant because it bears little resemblance to the plants that they are used to snacking on.

Like many succulents, Haworthia is hardy and grows easily in a poor, well-drained substrate. Just avoid overwatering it and exposing it to sunlight.

4. Curry Plant

curry leaf plant
Image Credit: Neelakandi, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Helichrysum angustifolium
USDA Hardiness Zones:  7–10
Sun Exposure:  Full sun/partial shade
Soil Type:  Sandy or loamy soils that are well-drained

The curry plant is a bushy perennial distinguished by its attractive golden-yellow blooms and evergreen silver foliage. Its leaves give off an intense curry scent that cats hate. They also find the texture of its foliage irritating when they rub against it.

You should plant the curry plant in full sun, sheltered from the wind, and in well-drained soil. That said, this rather hardy plant can tolerate a bit of drought. If you want to place it indoors, choose a sunny place near your other plants. Your kitty will have to find another spot for their afternoon snooze!

5. Rosemary

Image Credit: HansLinde, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
USDA Hardiness Zones:  7–9
Sun Exposure:  Full sun/partial shade
Soil Type:  Well-drained, loamy, slightly acidic soil

Rosemary is a beautiful shrub with evergreen aromatic foliage. It is also essential for enhancing the taste of your favorite cooked dishes! But did you know that its woodsy pungent aroma is also an effective cat repellent? Hardy and low maintenance, it is an excellent plant for dry, poor soils. Plant it in a rockery, in a small hedge, in the garden, or in a pot alongside plants that you want to protect from inquisitive felines!

6. Lemon Thyme

green lemon thyme plant
Image Credit: nnattalli, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Thymus citriodorus
USDA Hardiness Zones:  5–9
Sun Exposure:  Full sun
Soil Type:  Dry to medium, well-drained soil

Lemon thyme is a variety of thyme whose evergreen leaves give off a nice lemon aroma that repels cats. This full-sun ornamental plant can be grown on borders, in a rockery in the vegetable garden, or embellish a sunny balcony. You can even plant it in poor, drained soil to scare away unwanted furry visitors!



Now that you know which plants act as cat repellents, you can protect your garden from these adorable but sometimes sneaky creatures! However, keep in mind that while most cats are repelled by these types of plants, felines can be unpredictable. It’s not a guarantee that any of these plants will be a 100% effective solution to keeping cats away from your garden.

For best results, you should add another natural method of cat repellent, such as placing coffee grounds or citrus peels on areas where cats cause havoc.

Finally, you can redirect their attention by planting catnip nearby to create a cat-friendly area for them to venture into safely!

Featured Image Credit: Fabrizio Guarisco, Shutterstock

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