Does Cinnamon Deter Cats?

Let’s discuss cinnamon and cats. If you’ve been struggling with feline visitors treating your well-tended garden as their litter box, you’re not alone. So have you considered does cinnamon deter cats?

Yes, cinnamon can deter cats. This might come as a surprise, given how inviting the smell of cinnamon is to humans, but our feline foes don’t share the same fondness for this particular spice.

You may have noticed that I used the word can and not does when determining whether cinnamon repels cats or not. And that’s because a number of factors come into play:

  1. Potency of the Cinnamon
    Cinnamon’s deterrent power comes from its strong, distinctive smell, which is off-putting to cats’ sensitive noses. However, not all cinnamon is created equal. The freshness and quality of the cinnamon you use will directly influence its effectiveness.
  2. Weather Conditions
    Another factor to consider is the weather. Cinnamon, being a dry powder, can easily be washed away or diluted by rain, or blown away by strong winds. This means that its deterrent effect can be reduced or eliminated in adverse weather conditions.
  3. Placement of the Cinnamon
    Lastly, the effectiveness of cinnamon as a cat deterrent also depends on where you place it. Cats won’t be deterred if they don’t come into contact with the cinnamon or its scent.

By paying attention to these three factors, you can enhance the effectiveness of cinnamon as a cat deterrent in your garden.

Remember, every garden and every cat is unique, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a bit of trial and error to find the strategy that works best for you.

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Why Does Cinnamon Deter Cats?

So, if cinnamon does deter cats, why is this the case?

  1. Strong Aroma
    Cinnamon has a strong and distinct aroma that is largely unappealing to cats. Feline noses are much more sensitive than ours, so what might seem like a pleasant or mild smell to us can be overwhelming for them. This isn’t a universal truth, as some cats might not be bothered by it.
  2. Unpleasant Sensation
    Cinnamon powder doesn’t just smell bad to cats; it can also cause an unpleasant sensation if they walk on it. The tiny particles of the powder can stick to their paws, which they then have to groom off. This not only means they have to taste the cinnamon, but it also gives them a good whiff of it up close.
  3. Creating a Barrier
    Cats are creatures of habit, and they often enter gardens via the same routes. Applying cinnamon in these areas creates an aromatic barrier that cats are reluctant to cross. I’ve found that laying down a broad band of cinnamon, about 2 to 3 inches wide, works better than a thin line.

With cinnamon, you can turn your garden into a no-go zone for cats. It’s important to note that every cat is different, so results may vary.

However, with persistence and maybe a little tweaking, you’re likely to see a significant reduction in feline intrusions.

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How to Use Cinnamon to Deter Cats

So you’ve got a jar of cinnamon to hand, you’re ready to use it against trespassing cats. Well, here’s what you need to do:

The Sprinkle Technique

The most straightforward way to use cinnamon as a deterrent is by simply sprinkling it around your garden.

Target key areas where you’ve noticed the cats entering or lingering. Be generous with the cinnamon, creating visible lines or patches.

I’d advise doing this on a dry day as wet weather will dilute the cinnamon and lessen its deterrent effect.

As an added tip, consider mixing cinnamon with other cat-deterring spices like pepper or mustard powder to create an even stronger barrier.

Cinnamon-Infused Garden Ornaments

This can be anything from pine cones, to decorative rocks, to fabric pouches filled with cinnamon.

I particularly like using small burlap sacks filled with a cinnamon stick or two. Hang these from tree branches, place them on garden beds, or scatter them near entry points. They serve a dual purpose of decorating your garden and releasing the strong scent of cinnamon that deters cats.

Remember to replace or refresh the cinnamon in these ornaments regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Cinnamon Essential Oil Spray

My final method is a cinnamon essential oil spray. For this, you’ll need a small spray bottle, water, and cinnamon essential oil (make sure it’s 100% pure and not a synthetic fragrance).

The ratio I use is about 10 drops of oil for every cup of water. Shake it up and spray it in those high-traffic cat areas.

The scent is intense and it lasts longer than using ground cinnamon, especially in damp or windy conditions. Plus, spraying the oil solution on taller surfaces like fences and plant bases can deter cats that are more audacious climbers or jumpers.

Just be cautious not to spray it directly on plants as it can be a bit strong for them.

Should You Use Cinnamon to Deter Cats

Finally, before you head out on your mission you do need to consider the safety side of things:

Is Cinnamon Safe for Cats?

While cinnamon isn’t toxic to cats, it can cause some discomfort if they come into contact with it. Cinnamon can cause an unpleasant sensation on their paws and, if ingested in large quantities, it could cause mild gastrointestinal upset.

Is Cinnamon Toxic to Cats?

In normal garden use, cinnamon isn’t toxic to cats. That said, essential oils derived from cinnamon could potentially cause problems if a cat ingests a large amount or gets it on their skin, as cats can be sensitive to essential oils.

Is Cinnamon Bad for Plants?

Cinnamon isn’t generally harmful to plants. In fact, it can actually be beneficial, helping to prevent the growth of fungus and mould. However, you should avoid using large amounts of cinnamon essential oil on plants.

Is Cinnamon Bad for Wildlife?

Cinnamon doesn’t pose a significant threat to wildlife. Like cats, many animals may be deterred by the strong smell. However, they won’t be harmed if they come into contact with or ingest the cinnamon.


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