what deters cats from plants

Use scent to keep the cats away

Cats dislike the smell of rue, lavender and pennyroyal, Coleus canina and lemon thyme. Plant a few of these throughout the garden. (Interplanting can attract pollinators and other beneficial insects too.) Cats steer clear of strong citrus scents.

Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)

Thymus citriodorus, scientifically known as lemon thyme, is a fragrant perennial herb that is well-known for its zesty flavor and aroma.

This delightful plant, which belongs to the mint family, is a popular choice in many herb gardens, and for good reason.

Its tiny, delicate leaves are a hit of lemon flavor that is well-liked in many gastronomic circles, and any garden would look lovely with its pretty pink or purple flowers.

Because Lemon Thyme contains a high concentration of essential oils, it smells strongly of lemons, just as its name suggests. Although cats find this citrusy scent to be quite repulsive, humans find it to be refreshing and pleasant.

Compared to humans, cats have a far more sensitive sense of smell, so strong scents—even ones that we find appealing—can overwhelm them.

Lemon Thyme can withstand some shade but grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It is a drought-tolerant hardy plant that is a simple addition to your garden to care for.

This plant is a good ground cover plant because it typically reaches heights of 10 to 12 inches and widths of about 12 inches. Water lemon thyme frequently, but make sure it doesn’t sit in wet soil as this can cause root rot.

After flowering, pruning can help keep it in shape and encourage growth. When it comes to using it in cooking, lemon thyme is a flexible herb. Its distinct flavor profile complements many different foods well, such as salads, chicken, fish, and even desserts.

The leaves can be used fresh or dried. However, fresh leaves are often preferred for their stronger flavor.

Not only does Lemon Thyme enhance the beauty and delicious aroma of your garden, but its potent lemon scent acts as a natural deterrent for cats. Because of this effective combination, Lemon Thyme is a valuable addition to any garden.

Check out my guide, How to Start a Raised Bed Herb Garden, to learn more about herb gardening.

These are the Lemon Thyme plants I recommend planting:

what deters cats from plants

Understanding Cats and Plants

In all of their playful and inquisitive beauty, cats have a complicated relationship with their surroundings.

This is especially true when it comes to plants. Although cats are naturally carnivorous, they nevertheless engage in a variety of interactions with plants. For example, cats may nibble on grass to help with digestion or to help move any fur from their stomachs.

However, their interactions arent always innocuous. Cats occasionally dig in potted plants’ soil, harming the plants’ roots and general health.

Additionally, they might use garden beds as a litter box, which can be hazardous to some plants in addition to being an annoyance.

Compared to humans, cats can have a sense of smell that is thousands of times more sensitive. They can detect their surroundings, communicate, and hunt thanks to their acute sense of smell.

Consequently, they are especially sensitive to strong odors. Cats find the oils and compounds in aromatic plants to be bothersome or unappealing.

The idea of cat repellent plants was inspired by this dislike of particular scents. Certain plants release scents that humans find pleasant or neutral but that cats find repulsive.

This makes these plants an excellent natural deterrent for cats. By carefully positioning these plants, you can create an imperceptible barrier around your house or garden that keeps cats out without endangering them.

It’s a practical method to keep your neighborhood cats at bay and maintain a lovely garden.

However, it’s crucial to remember that not all plants are suitable for cats. When consumed by cats, certain plants can be toxic and result in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or more serious health problems.

Thus, it’s critical to make sure that the plants won’t hurt cats if they do decide to take a bite, even though it’s important to select plants that can deter cats. In the following sections, I’ll go into more detail about plants that are safe for cats but, because of their potent scent profiles, can effectively deter them.

what deters cats from plants

6. Curry herb plant (Helichrysum italicum)

Cats don’t like curry. This hot plant develops into a dense bush that irritates animals with its strong scent and rough texture when they walk by. However, because of its detrimental effects on other flowers, this one is considered a weed by many, so you might want to use it sparingly.


What scent keeps cats away from plants?

Cats are more sensitive to scents than humans, so essential oils with strong odors, such as citrus and lavender, can help repel them. You can substitute lime, peppermint, and/or eucalyptus for the lemon, wild orange, and lavender if you prefer.

What is the most effective cat repellent?

Citrus or lemon scents (orange peels, lemon peels), garlic, ammonia, vinegar, coffee grinds, pipe tobacco, mustard, citronella, or eucalyptus all deter cats as well. The scents diminish over time, so re-applying is necessary. Motion-activated sprinklers: These have motion sensors that trigger a short blast of water.

What is a homemade plant repellent for cats?

Mix together lemon juice, rosemary and white vinegar – three things cats detest. Put the liquid in a spray bottle so it’s easy to use around the garden. Simply spray near where the cats spend time – on planters, the patio, or even inside.