What Can You Spray on Plants to Keep Cats Away?

What Can You Spray on Plants to Keep Cats Away

If your cat – or worse, someone else’s cat – is damaging your plants by peeing, digging, or chewing on them – don’t despair.

There are simple homemade remedies you can mix up to spray on plants that will keep cats away while not hurting them or the plants in any way.

The only real issue is finding the right remedy for the cat. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you with that!

There isn’t really one scent that all cats hate. Some seem to be able to tolerate certain scents more than others, so it might take a little trial and error.

Here are some tips to help you better understand why cats are damaging your plants, and what you can do to stop them:

Why Do Cats Eat, Play, and Pee on Plants?

Why Do Cats Eat Play and Pee on Plants
I had a cat that would be like a kid in a candy store looking at this.

If you’re going to make your plants out of bounds for your cat, it helps if you know why they are attracted to them.

It’s usually going to come down to one or more of these three reasons:

They’re Playing With the Leaves

Playful kittens in particular can find it almost impossible to leave some plants alone. If your plants have long strands like a Boston Fern, for example, it’s going to be hard for playful kitties to resist.

If this is the reason, you might need to combine using scents that will deter them with moving or protecting the plant, too.

They Like Peeing in the Soil

One of the worst behaviors has to be cats peeing in plant pots. It’s a fairly common problem, they just can’t resist the feeling of soil beneath their feet, it reminds them of being outdoors.

For obvious reasons, this is something you want to put a stop to asap. This is usually the easiest behavior to redirect using scented sprays as cats tend to need a few moments to set themselves up to pee.

RelatedDoes orange peels stop cats peeing on plants?

They’re Attracted by the Smell or Taste

Cats eat grass and bits of plants when they have an upset stomach or if they need help digesting food.

They do this because grass and plants contain folic acid and some other minerals that aid digestion. They may also have a nibble because they like the taste too, you can’t rule that out.

Either way, making the leaves smell and taste horrible to them is going to put a stop to their plant munching habits in a hurry.

Related Why Fiddle Leaf Figs Are Poisonous to Cats.

What Can You Spray on Plants to Keep Cats Away?

What Can You Spray on Plants to Keep Cats Away From Them
You can’t spray it if I’m always here….can you?

There are a few scents that most cats hate. So, all you need to do is bottle up this scent and spray it on your plants to keep them away.

Sounds simple, right? It actually is.

The only catch is finding the best scent for your cat.

Here is a hit list of some scents that cats are known to dislike, see which you want to try out:

  • Citrus scents such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc.
  • Pine
  • Pepper
  • Peppermint and eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary

The good part is that most, if not all of these smells are fine for us. It’s probably best if you pick a scent you like as you’re going to have to smell it yourself for a while.

How to Make a Handy Cat Repellent Spray

If you want to make your own spray, you need some of the scents in a concentrated form to mix with water. And, of course, you need a spray bottle.

I like to use essential oils. I already have a bunch as I diffuse them around my home and use them for other wellness applications, so it makes sense.

You can also use juice, like lemon or orange juice if you’re going for citrus. Peppermint oil and olbas oil come to mind too, which are basically essential oils.

The important thing is that you’re making a strong-smelling solution and that you’re using ingredients that are not toxic to cats or your plants.

Then all you have to do is spray some around your plant and lay in wait. Ok, you don’t need to lay in wait, more so just monitor the interaction between your cat and the plant.

It’ll become obvious right away if it’s working. Just keep an eye out for when your cat is brave enough or the scent is weak enough for them to get revenge on the plant.

In Summary

I have a few houseplants that I cherish and sleep soundly knowing they’re safe with my three cats, so I know you can too if you follow my tips in this article.

I mostly used lavender and eucalyptus to train my cats not use my plants as toys. It sounds like a strange combination – I didn’t use them at the same time – but they’re two of my favorite scents.

If you find out an interesting scent that works well for you or have any tips to share, please feel free to drop a comment below to help out the rest of the community. Thanks!


Image credits – Header Photo by Milada Vigerova, plants by Leonardo Iheme, and cat by plant by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash


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