Article at a Glance…
- Good cat deterrents for training and indoor use are Pet Corrector (compressed air spray) and Claw Withdraw (spray for furniture).
- For the garden, try orange oil (concentrated), Scram (pellets)
- More high tech gadgets for outdoors include the Animal Repeller (ultrasonic) or an automated sprinkler.
I love cats, but there are some areas that I prefer to keep cat-free. For example, my wardrobe. When my cat sneaks into my wardrobe, he makes it his playground. His favorite activity is hanging by his claws from my clothes! I’m sorry to say that this has happened a few times. The little rascal also scratched an expensive handbag in the same way.
Now, I don’t blame him – it’s my responsibility as a pet owner to cat-proof our living space. The good news is that there are plenty of safe and effective products out there to keep certain areas off limits from cats. However, the right cat deterrent depends on a few factors such as size of the “kitty exclusion zone”, the amount of time you can devote to training and the cat’s unique preferences and personality. I’m going to share what I’ve learned about the best cat deterrents over the years in this post.
What are cat deterrents good for?
As I’ve mentioned above, there’s no one-size-fits all cat deterrent. Here are some different situations in which a cat deterrent could be useful:
- For cat owners, a cat deterrent spray can be a tool for training. When you see your cat being naughty, you spray some compressed air at him to make him stop. If you do it over and over again, kitty should get the message eventually . This is not so useful if you’re a homeowner looking to keep feral and other people’s cats out of your garden. Chances are, you won’t see the cat before it’s left it’s little “present” for you.
- If you want to mark certain areas off-limits to cats then you need a deterrent that will work when you’re not watching. One option is a motion-sensor spray which has the same effect as a training spray but it’s triggered when your cat gets close to the device. In my case, I put it beside my wardrobe door to stop my cat opening it.
- For deterring feral cats and other people’s cats from your yard, there are granules and liquids which can be spread on lawns or flower beds that deter cats with their smell. To repel the more persistent feline visitors, or to cover a larger area, you can try a sonic cat deterrent. These emit a sound that cats find unpleasant but humans can’t hear. Another option is a motion-activated water spray that will scare cats when they come near.
How to choose the right cat deterrent
Every cat has different preferences and tolerances. Don’t be disheartened if the first cat deterrent you use doesn’t have the desired effect. For example, my cat is not at all bothered by citrus scents such as orange peel – a well known cat deterrent. As applies to a lot of situations when training cats – if at first you don’t succeed, try something different.
An important factor to consider is the size of the area you want to keep cat-free. If you want to keep your own pet away from something in your home, a localized deterrent such as an automated spray will work. If you want to cover a larger area like your yard, an ultrasonic device covering a few meters radius is a better choice.
It should go without saying but just in case: Never ever use something toxic to get rid of cats such as mothballs or naphthalene flakes. They will cause severe illness in the best cases and organ failure and death at worst (source). If this doesn’t bother you, remember, animal cruelty is an offense in most countries and harsh penalties apply. Secondly, these substances are also extremely irritant for humans, especially children. If any children ever end up playing on your property and come into contact with these toxic substances, you could very likely send them to the hospital.
No that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the good cat deterrents for different purposes.
Cat deterrents for indoors
If you have an indoor cat, or a cat that comes indoors sometimes, you’re going to have to train it to live in harmony with you. There’s simply no getting around that fact. It takes many months of effort but it’s well worth the investment of time and a little money to curb your cat’s naughty behavior. As I mentioned earlier, my cat loves to wreak havok in my wardrobe if given the chance. Not only that, but he has smashed many of my favorite mugs by jumping up onto our dinner table and pushing them onto the floor. All of that is in the past now and our two cats are very well-behaved. How did we manage this? By using an indoor cat training spray.
The Pet Corrector by Company of Animals is a simple but very effective cat deterrent spray. The formula itself is just animal-safe compressed air. However, it’s the hissing sound that the cats don’t like. You do have to be home keeping an eye on your cat for this to work. You must catch him doing something naughty and then use the spray to scold him. If you need something for while you’re at work or in a different room there are also automated sprays.
Cat repellent for furniture
One of the biggest problems with indoor cats is that they love to scratch furniture. Ours were no exception. My husband has (had…) a gorgeous leather office chair that was torn to shreds by Saus when she was a kitten. Claw Withdraw by PetMastermind is a spray which has been designed for just this purpose. Many users have had great success and cite it as the best cat scratch deterrent for their leather furniture and other delicate items.
Cat urine deterrent
When our first cat was young, we had terrible trouble with her urinating everywhere. I know how frustrating it can be! Sometimes it felt like she was doing it on purpose, just to annoy us. But of course, that’s not the case. There are many ways in which you can signal to your cat that outside the litter box (or indoors if you have an outdoor cat) is not her toilet. We found that the best best cat urine repellent was this spray from PetSeer. It acts as both a pet-safe enzymatic cleaner and it deters your cat from peeing in the same place again. It does this by removing the urine odor completely. It’s also safe if kitty steps in it and then licks her paws clean.
Cat repellent for your gardens
There are plenty of options for keeping cats out of your garden. Orange peel is probably the most well known natural cat deterrent. However, results seem to be hit or miss. There is a stronger option. Many people who have been plagued with feral cats on their property have used orange oil (diluted) as a cat repellent spray for the yard. The smell is much stronger than simply scattering orange peel and most cats hate it (though there will always be exceptions). The only downside is that you will need to re-spray the area after rainfall or around once a week to keep the fragrance fresh.
If you are looking for the best cat repellent pellets or granules, Scram for Cats is a good choice. It may be ideal as the best cat poop repellent as you can sprinkle it heavily in areas of soil where the cats are doing their business. The smell may be too dilute over larger areas. I always recommend using a few different cat-deterring methods at once for best outcome.
If none of these techniques work, a motion-activated water sprinkler could be the solution you’re after. It won’t cover your whole garden, but it will certainly keep cats out of the area it can reach. If have a bigger yard, the ultrasonic devices might be more appropriate so read on.
Ultrasonic cat deterrent
Ultrasonic cat deterrent, eh? Sounds very high tech. Well, it is! These devices are usually powered by battery, sunlight or USB charging. They emit a high pitched (ultrasonic) noise when an animal comes within a couple of meters. This sound is too high pitched for humans to hear but is very irritating to cats. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them but simply drives them away. The Outdoor Animal Repeller from Hoont is a popular choice. It features both solar-powered and USB charging. There are three different sound frequencies to deter other uninvited animals such as pigeons, rats and raccoons.
Whatever your reasons for using a cat deterrent, patience is definitely a virtue to find one that works. Luckily most of them are not expensive so you can try out a few at once. Do you have any experience with the products I’ve mentioned, or have a better idea? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.