Cats make extraordinary pets, but they can also make a nuisance of themselves at times. For example, if outdoor cats are turning your flower beds into a nightly toilet site, you may have heard that cinnamon can discourage them from coming around. Unfortunately, while cats usually dislike the smell of cinnamon, it is not generally an effective way to keep cats away.
Keep reading to learn why cinnamon isn’t the best kitty deterrent. We’ll also share some more effective options to help prevent cats from ruining your garden.
The Trouble With Cinnamon
A cat’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than ours. Because cinnamon smells pungent to us, imagine how much more potent it is for a cat. It makes sense that we expect the presence of cinnamon to keep cats away from the flower beds.
However, cats don’t display a consistent response to the smell of cinnamon. Some might stay away, while others could care less.
Another issue, particularly using cinnamon outside, is that rain can easily wash away the scent. Even if you find that the spice is an effective kitty deterrent, you’ll constantly need to re-apply it. Pure cinnamon is not inexpensive, and you’re better off using more affordable, practical barriers.
Finally, although cinnamon is technically non-toxic according to the ASPCA, it could still cause irritation if ingested by a cat1. Ideally, you want to keep cats out of your garden without hurting them.
Top 4 Options to Keep Cats Away
Instead of using cinnamon or other strong scents, which may or may not be effective, try these other options to keep cats away.
1. Ground Cover
If wandering cats cannot dig into the soil to do their business, they’re likely to look for another toilet spot. Discourage them from using your garden or flower beds by placing ground cover in their way. This could be anything from decorative rocks or pebbles to mulch to chicken wire laid flat along the ground.
2. Motion Detectors
Another option to keep cats away is to install motion-detecting automatic sprinklers or lights. This is an excellent option if you have a larger space to protect than just a single flower bed or garden. The downside is that the products can be expensive.
Most cats dislike water, and triggering a sprinkler to drench them as they enter your yard can quickly encourage them to find another place to poop. Lights are primarily meant to startle the cats, but some soon learn to ignore them.
Creating a physical barrier around your garden or flower beds is another option to keep cats away. Because cats are talented climbers and jumpers, you may need to enclose the garden, including the top. This is not accost-effective, especially if you have a large yard or numerous flower beds to protect.
However, you can use commercial cat deterrents like scat mats to keep cats out of the garden or patio areas. If you lay the feline-safe mats on top of the soil and the non-landscaped sites, the cats will find another spot that’s more forgiving.
4. Provide an Alternative Location
If all else fails, you might need to give the visiting cats what they’re looking for: a spot to poop. Create a designated elimination area away from your actual garden. Try planting catnip or cat grass nearby to help lure the cats to your preferred location.
You could also try placing a litter box in a convenient spot outside. Just make sure to keep it scooped.
If you need to keep cats away from your yard or garden, cinnamon is not the best choice, even if most cats dislike the smell. Try one of our alternative suggestions instead. If your neighbor’s cats are the culprits, try talking with their owners and asking if they can keep their pets contained, especially at night.
Featured Image Credit: ulleo, Pixabay