Do Geraniums Deter Cats?

Trying to deter cats from your garden can be a real mission. They seem to love everything you plant! If you’re like me, you probably love growing geraniums during the summer season. But, do geraniums deter cats or attract them?

Geraniums can deter cats effectively because of their strong smell, which cats dislike. They particularly dislike the texture of cranesbill geraniums. 

Cats dislike most things with a pungent smell or rough texture. Some geraniums can meet these criteria. Bedding geraniums (or Pelargoniums) tend not to work as they have smooth leaves and aren’t fragrant. You can see this in the photo below.

It is cranesbill geraniums that you want to use.

Bedding Geraniums

How Do You Use Geraniums to Deter Cats?

You might think there is only one obvious way to use geraniums in your fight against pesky cats trespassing in your garden. But, here are some of the ways I have tried to deter cats with geraniums:

  1. Plant Geraniums Strategically: Plant geraniums around the perimeter of areas you wish to keep cats away from. They can act as a natural barrier. For example, if you have a herb garden that you (obviously) don’t want covering in poop then surround it with cranesbills.
  2. Use Potted Geraniums: If planting is not an option, get potted geraniums. Place them strategically around your garden where cats tend to venture. If you know which fence they’re hoping over, for example, then pop some pots there.
  3. Use Geranium Mulch: You can create a mulch with geranium leaves and stems and scatter it in cat-frequented areas.
  4. Make a Geranium Spray: Steep geranium leaves in hot water, then strain and cool the water. Use it as a spray around your garden to deter cats.

Remember, it’s crucial to consider the well-being of the cat. These methods may deter cats, but could also harm them if they decide to ingest or frequently contact the plant.

How Effective Are Geraniums at Deterring Cats?

While the strong scent of geraniums is often mentioned as a deterrent for cats, the actual effectiveness can vary. Some cats may indeed be deterred by the strong smell of geraniums, choosing to avoid areas where these plants are abundant.

However, others may not be as bothered by the smell and may still venture into these areas.

Ultimately, every cat is different. The one you’re dealing with might have a particular hatred towards the smell of geraniums. They may also love the stuff!

Remember that cats are curious creatures, and despite the strong scent, some cats might still interact with the plants out of curiosity.

So, while geraniums could potentially deter some cats, they are not a universally effective deterrent.

Why Do Cats Hate Geraniums?

Cats hate many things, and most of these have something in common: Everything a cat hates has either a strong smell or appearance that is foreign to them.

Cats have sensitive noses and paws, so whatever bothers them on their paws or smells pungent, they will avoid it. Cats dislike plants such as geranium because of their smell. 

To us, geraniums might smell very pleasant and soothing, but to a cat, it’s opposite as a geranium’s smell is unbearable to cats to be anywhere around.

Beware of Toxicity

The ASPCA lists geraniums as toxic to cats. If ingested, geraniums can cause symptoms including vomiting, anorexia, depression, and skin irritation. More specifically, it’s the essential oils in geraniums that are harmful

Fed Up With Cats Pooping In Your Garden?

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Do Cats Hate All Geraniums?

Unfortunately for you, every cat is different. There are several plants that deter cats, but not all of them work for every cat. The same can be said for geraniums.

However, if you want to improve the chances of deterring cats with geraniums, stick to cranesbill geraniums. These have rougher leaves, furrier stems and stronger-smelling flowers, all of which can deter cats.

Unfortunately, most cats will not avoid bedding, annual geraniums that are common in the summer.

Do Cats Like the Smell of Geraniums?

This depends on the variety! Some varieties of geraniums have a subtle lemony scent which will deter cats as most dislike anything citrus-related.

Do Cats Like the Feel of Geraniums?

Cranesbill geraniums can have rough leaves and furry stems, both of which will put cats off. Unfortunately, this will only deter cats from the plant itself.

Cranesbill Geranium

Sources

We have verified the information on this page using the following resources:

Horticulture.co.uk

Pet Poison Helpline

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