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Will Orange Peels Keep Cats Away? Why or Why Not?

A peeled orange on the wooden background

While cats are generally cute, fluffy, and sometimes stubborn house pets, they can also cause trouble at times. Maybe they scare a neighbor’s cat through the window or like to explore their backyard uninvited, or maybe you’ve got an uninvited cat coming into your home. Whatever the case may be, people might need help keeping cats away from their homes. If you fall into this category and are fighting a feline visitor, a great way to safely keep them away is with citrus scents.

Keep reading to learn more about this natural cat deterrent.

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Do Cats Hate Citrus Smells?

The ginger cat hunts tangerines. Cat who loves mandarins
Image Credit: Lexashka, Shutterstock

Cats have very sensitive scent receptors, so their noses will react to certain scents far more quickly than humans. Types of fruit that are high in citrus like lemons, limes, and oranges will make your cat very unhappy! You’ll notice if they catch a whiff of citrus, they will wince, scrunch up their noses and squint their eyes in disgust. In some cases, you may even notice cats trying to get as far away from the smell as possible.

It’s safe to say that leaving fresh orange peels around an area where you’re trying to keep cats away is a good first option.

What Else Do Cats Dislike?

Calico cat sniffing smelling wooden bamboo essential oil diffuser health object wellness
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

You may notice that cats don’t only respond to citrus smells negatively, but they also dislike other strong scents. For example, you might notice that your cat will turn away from you if you have just put on scented cream on your face before bed and try to give them a goodnight kiss! Or, if you’ve just put hand sanitizer on your hands and try to lean in for a pet.

Cats generally don’t enjoy any strong smells—and this includes creams, chemicals, and even some air fresheners.

Why Use Orange Peels?

The reason why most people choose orange peels (or other citrus fruit) to deter cats compared to these other options, is for a few reasons. One; you usually have spare fruit scraps around your home, so you aren’t going out to purchase something. Two; it’s a nicer way to keep unwanted cats away without causing any unnecessary harm to a cat. And three; you won’t be creating any excess garbage around your home.

Orange peels will either harden or naturally disintegrate into soil.

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Final Thoughts

Orange peels will generally work to keep cats away because they despise the smell of citrus—it’s way too strong for their noses!

Skip the expensive “feline-away” products that might keep you out of a few bucks every couple of weeks and just result in more garbage and use orange peels around your plants or in areas you want to be “cat-free.”

While this won’t work for all cats, it’s certainly worth a try before moving on to other methods.


Featured Image Credit: Ahanov Michael, Shutterstock

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