How to keep cats away from plants?

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Cats can be wonderful pets, but they can also be a nuisance when it comes to your beloved plants. If you’re a plant lover and a cat owner, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of discovering your cat has damaged or even destroyed one of your favorite plants.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep cats away from plants without causing them to harm or resorting to harsh discipline.

In this article, we’ll explore some effective and safe methods for keeping cats away from your plants, so you can enjoy your indoor or outdoor garden without worrying about your feline companion.

Understanding Why Cats Damage Plants

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and plants can pique their interest with their textures, smells, and movements. Some cats may even view plants as toys to play with or hunt. However, this can often lead to damage to your plants, such as digging, chewing, or knocking them over. Additionally, some cats may use potted plants as litter boxes, which can cause both damage to the plant and a smelly mess for you to clean up. Understanding why cats damage plants can help you find effective ways to keep them away without harming them.

Non-Toxic Methods for Keeping Cats Away from Plants

If you’re looking for a safe and non-toxic way to keep cats away from your plants, there are several methods you can try:

  1. Physical barriers: You can use chicken wire, mesh netting, or even upside-down planters to create a barrier between your cat and your plants. This can help keep cats from digging, chewing, or knocking over your plants.
  2. Deterrent sprays: There are a variety of deterrent sprays available that are safe for plants and pets but have a scent that cats find unpleasant. You can spray these around your plants to discourage your cat from getting too close.
  3. Create a designated play area: Cats often damage plants out of boredom or a lack of stimulation. By creating a designated play area with toys and scratching posts, you can redirect your cat’s attention away from your plants.
  4. Repellent noise or motion-activated devices: Some cats are sensitive to loud noises or sudden movements. You can use devices that emit high-pitched noise or sudden motion to deter your cat from getting too close to your plants.

It’s important to note that not all methods will work for all cats, and it may take some trial and error to find the right solution for your specific cat and plants. Additionally, some cats may be persistent despite your best efforts, so it’s important to monitor your plants and your cat’s behavior closely.

Using Safe Plant Deterrents

In addition to physical barriers and other non-toxic methods, there are several plant-based deterrents that can help keep cats away from your plants. Here are some safe and natural options:

  1. Citrus peels: Cats dislike the scent of citrus, so you can place citrus peels around your plants to deter them. You can also mix lemon juice with water and spray it around the plants.
  2. Coffee grounds: Used coffee grounds have a strong scent that cats find unpleasant, so you can sprinkle them around your plants to deter your cat.
  3. Essential oils: Certain essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus, have strong scents that cats dislike. You can mix a few drops of these oils with water and spray them around your plants.
  4. Vinegar: Vinegar has a strong smell that cats find unpleasant. You can mix equal parts vinegar and water and spray it around your plants to deter your cat.

It’s important to note that while these plant-based deterrents are generally safe, some cats may still be sensitive to them or have an adverse reaction. Be sure to monitor your cat closely and discontinue use if you notice any negative effects. Additionally, be careful not to use too much of any one deterrent, as it can harm your plants or affect their growth.

Using Cat-Repelling Plants

Another safe and natural method to keep cats away from your plants is by using cat-repelling plants. These plants contain natural compounds that are unpleasant to cats and can deter them from coming too close. Here are some examples:

  1. Coleus canina (Scaredy Cat Plant): This plant has a strong odor that cats dislike, and its leaves are prickly, which can discourage them from touching it.
  2. Rosemary: This fragrant herb has a strong scent that cats find unpleasant.
  3. Lavender: The strong scent of lavender can repel cats, and its leaves are also prickly, which can deter them from touching it.
  4. Pennyroyal: This herb has a minty scent that cats find unpleasant, and it can also repel other pests like mosquitoes.

It’s important to note that while these plants can be effective, they should still be used in conjunction with other methods like physical barriers or deterrent sprays for the best results. Additionally, be sure to research each plant carefully to ensure it is safe for your specific environment and not toxic to other pets or children in the area.


Keeping cats away from plants can be a challenge, but with the right methods, it is possible to protect your plants without harming your furry friends. Non-toxic methods like physical barriers, deterrent sprays, creating a designated play area, and using repellent noise or motion-activated devices can be effective. Additionally, using safe plant deterrents like citrus peels, coffee grounds, essential oils, and vinegar can help, as well as incorporating cat-repelling plants like Coleus canina, rosemary, lavender, and pennyroyal.

Remember to monitor your cat’s behavior closely and adjust your methods as needed to find the best solution for your specific situation. With a little effort and patience, you can enjoy a beautiful garden or indoor plants without worrying about your cat causing damage.

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