How to Keep Cats Off Your Car: 4 Methods That Work

By Phil / January 22, 2020
How to Keep Cats Off Your Car 4 Methods That Work

If you’re looking for methods on how to keep cats off your car – don’t despair.

There are quite a few different things you can do that are likely to work. I know how frustrating it is having cats using your car as somewhere to lounge, stretch out, and sleep.

And how much damage they can cause with their sharp claws.

Here are 4 methods to try that will help deter, prevent, and teach cats not to sit, lay, stand, and walk all over your car:

Repellents, Scents, and Natural Remedies

Using spices to keep cats off car

The first thing I recommend trying is the various natural remedies that are known to deter cats from going or hanging out where they’re not wanted.

This is because they are inexpensive, you might already have some of the spices or herbs I’ll be recommending, and it’s a quick and easy solution that often works.

Here are some of the scents cats hate that are effective at keeping them off cars, laws, and other areas they’re not wanted:

Spices – Try sprinkling cayenne pepper or black pepper around your car or on the trail they are using to get on top of your vehicle. These are two spices that cats hate the smell of.

It’s also not pleasant for them if it gets on their paws. They’ll think twice in future about returning to the scene where the pepper was in the future. I’ve used pepper to stop cats going into my greenhouse and it worked a treat.

Herbs – There are a few herbs that cats detest the smell of too. Lavender, in particular, makes most cats turn the other way. As well as rosemary and rue. If you have any of these growing in your garden bundle some up and place them near the cats’ favorite spot on your car.

Citrus Scents – It’s no secret that cats hate citrus scents, they’re just too strong for their sensitive noses. So, limes, oranges, and lemons are all going to be effective at keeping cats off your car if you can find a way to position these smells in the right place.

Pet Training Repellents – If you don’t have any of the natural remedies to hand I’ve mentioned, or just want a ready-made option, try a pet training repellent. Pet repellents, like this one on Amazon, are designed to keep cats away from where you spray them.

Make sure you read the label carefully, you don’t want to spray any products on your car that could potentially damage your paintwork. You might have to spray it on a cloth and place that near.

Essential Oils – I’m a big fan of essential oils. Essential oils have loads of applications, and deterring cats is one of them. Pick a scent that cats don’t like as I’ve already covered. Find a way to get that scent where they are jumping on your car and it’s likely to deter them.

Tips – Don’t be afraid to make your own cat repellent sprays. All you need is a spray bottle with some scents, essential oils, or whatever else you have that you think will deter them mixed in.

The best part is that a lot of scents cats dislike, such as citrus smells, lavender, and so on don’t smell bad to us. At least, I don’t mind all of these smells, so I’ve always been happy to spray it around to stop cats sitting on my car.

Motion and Ultrasonic Sensors

Use motion sensors to keep cats off your car

There are various alarm systems, motion sensors, and motion-activated devices that are designed to emit a high pitched noise when they detect movement.

Cats and other pets hate this noise and it’s enough to make them go elsewhere.

They are typically used to protect precious flowers, grass, and other areas around a home. If you have a convenient place to set one up near your car, it’s likely to do the job and deter cats.

This one on Amazon is the perfect example of an ultrasonic animal repeller that will detect the movement of a small animal and emit a high pitched noise. You don’t need to worry about hearing a screeching noise as it’s not detectable by the human ear. It’s a frequency that only animals can hear.

You might want to consider a motion-activated light too. These are great for general home security but are not the most effective way to deter cats. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about from a security perspective, I’d try it.

Car Covers

Car covers are an effective way to keep cats off your car. You will need to carefully consider this option, however, as there are some pros and cons to using a car cover.

The pros are that covering your car is the best way to prevent cat scratches on your car. As well as the other elements such as bad weather, bird poop, and other things that can damage your paintwork over time.

It’s also going to protect your car if you have a stubborn cat that isn’t easily deterred by other methods.

The cons are that it’s a lot of effort to put a large car cover on your car every day. Plus, you may have to also use a scent or motion sensor to deter cats from climbing on your car as the cover itself isn’t a deterrent.

Car covers, like this one on Amazon, aren’t cheap either. So, it’s a costly investment, but worth it if you have an expensive car – or just happen to love your car and want to keep it in tip-top condition.

Speak with the Owners of the Cat(s) in Question

Speak with the Owners of the Cats to Keep Them off Your Car

This isn’t going to work for everyone, but it’s worth mentioning in case you can find some success with it.

If there is one neighborhood cat, in particular, that’s the main culprit, you could speak with its owner.

They might be sympathetic and understanding, and be able to do something about it. Such as keeping their cat in at certain times, blocking their access to your property, training their cat not to go on your car, and so on.

It’s worth a shot, and at least they know about the issue and what you’re doing to try and resolve it yourself.

In Summary – Keeping Cats off of Your Vehicle

In summary, I detailed the following ways to keep cats off your car:

  • Natural repellents and home remedies
  • Motion sensors
  • Ultrasonic pet deterrents
  • Car covers
  • Talking to the owners

It’s hard to say what’s going to work best for you. All cats are different and react to different smells, deterrents, scare tactics, and so on differently.

Something from this list is going to work for you though, it’s just a matter of finding out what. I wish you good luck – if you have any questions or want to share what’s working for you please drop me a comment below. Thanks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Stop My Cat from Jumping on My Car?

It’s jumping and landing on the body of a car that does the most damage. Cats have extremely sharp claws, and they use them to grip on slippery surfaces – like shiny bodywork on a vehicle.

So, while the deterrents I’ve covered in this article are great for making a cat turn the other way, I understand you might need to stop a cat jumping on your car in the first place.

This can be difficult. You need to find out how cats are getting on to your car. For example, are they using the hood of your car to climb up? Maybe via the trunk? You might see some telltale paw prints giving this away.

Once you know where they’re getting onto your car, you can focus on using deterrents on their entry points. The key is to be smarter than them and make it as difficult as possible.

How to Keep Cats off Your Car Roof?

If cats are frequenting your car roof and you can’t seem to stop them from jumping up following the advice above, you’ll need to start leaving a surprise up there for them.

Put some strong herbs or one of the other scents I wrote about above on top of your car. They won’t enjoy sitting next to a bunch of lavender or some lemon peel trust me. Just be careful to do it in a way that doesn’t leave a mark on your car.

Will Cayenne Pepper Hurt Car Paint?

Cayenne pepper should not do any damage to your paintwork, no.

Ideally, you don’t want to apply it directly onto your car’s bodywork though. You should use it on the ground around your car to warn cats away from even jumping on your car.

I have read accounts from owners saying cats have then tracked pepper onto their cars. They said it didn’t do any damage to their paint job, but did require a trip to the car wash.

How to Keep Cats off Convertible Top?

It’s even more frustrating finding a cat on your convertible soft top as they can damage the fabric a lot easier than a metal roof.

All I can advise is that you try the same repellent methods as I covered above for any type of vehicle. The scents I listed, in particular, are very effective at keeping cats away.

How to Keep Cat off Car in Garage?

Something I didn’t talk about much in this article was how to keep your own car off your car in your garage.

Cats typically love garages, it’s a quiet space sheltered from the elements to chill out. The problem is, they’re attracted to cars as they provide a nice spot high up to keep an eye out. Especially if they are giving off some warmth after being recently used.

My best advice is to use a scent they don’t like. If it’s your cat, it’s easier to find out what smells make them go the other way. Plus, it’s easier to do in your garage as you don’t have to worry about herbs and stuff blowing away.

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