Does Citronella Repel Cats?

Cats can be a nuisance as they can knock down plants and pollute the soil with poop and pee. Therefore, it becomes essential to get rid of cats. One known deterrent for many pests is citronella. But does citronella repel cats too?

Yes, citronella repels cats because of the strong odour. Cats dislike strong, fragrant smells.

Citronella is an essential oil made from lemongrass leaves. While the essential oil is packed with benefits for humans, cats do not like its smell. The essential oil has a strong smell which keeps cats away. It is an excellent solution if cats threaten your garden. 

Does Lemon Repel Cats?

Cats have a sensitive sense of smell, and you can use powerful scents to keep them away. Cats are bound to run in the opposite direction if you have any citrus scents in your garden. You can use citrus fruits like lemon in your garden to repel cats. 

You can utilise lemon in different ways, whichever suits you best. Most of us use lemons and get rid of the peels; however, they can be useful to you. You can place the lemon peels in the soil, let the scent travel, and the cats will be repelled.

You can also put the peels in flowerpots or locations where cats visit the most. 

Using lemon peels benefits the soil as they act as a natural fertiliser. The peels will eventually decompose, and you will not have to worry about any mess. But on the downside, the peels may get washed away when it rains.

Therefore, you must keep replacing the peels whether they have decomposed or washed away.

In addition, you can also dry the citrus peels and turn them into powder. Afterwards, you can sprinkle the powder in your garden. However, rain can also wash the powder away, so you need to keep replacing it. 

Another way you can use lemon is by making a spray with it. This method is convenient, and you only need to mix some lemon juice with water. You can use the spray on plants, fences and any areas where you find that cats have been peeing a lot.

How to Use Citronella to Deter Cats

There are different ways you can use citronella to deter cats. Citronella will repel cats and other insects that come into your garden. In addition, it is nice to have this plant in your garden because of its refreshing scent. 

The first thing you can do is get citronella plants and place them around in your garden. You can put these plants in the entryway to create a boundary. Any passing cat will avoid entering because of the citronella scent. 

In addition, you can also use citronella candles in your garden. It would also be wise to add citronella oil to garden torches to keep cats away. Using these candles in your garden is safe as they will not concentrate in one area. 

Lastly, you can use citronella essential oil to make a spray. The essential oil is quite strong, and you should not use it neat. However, you can add a few drops in water to make a mix to spray in your garden.

What is great about using a spray is you can use it in different places. You can spray on plants, garden fences and any hot spots cats like to use. 

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What Other Scents Repel Cats?

If you cannot get your hands on some citronella, do not worry; we have you covered. Other than citronella, there are other scents you can use to keep cats out. You can use these scents now and then repel cats. 

The first scent cats do not like, which you can use to repel, is vinegar. Vinegar is quite acidic and has a powerful smell. Therefore, cats avoid areas sprayed with vinegar. You can make your mixture by adding a bit of vinegar to the water.

It may come as a surprise, but cats also hate the smell of bananas. Hence, many gardeners like having banana trees in their garden because they repel cats. 

You can also use different kinds of seasonings in your garden. For instance, cats do not like smell of pepper, and you can sprinkle it in your garden to keep them away. You can also create a spray with the seasonings to spray around your garden. 


If you have other questions about whether or not citronella is a cat deterrent then these might help:

Is Citronella Toxic to Cats?

Citronella is toxic and will harm cats if they consume it. This is the case for pretty much all essential oils. The only exception to this is lemongrass plants as they are not concentrated.

Do Cats Like Citronella Plants?

No, cats are not huge fans of citronella plants. However, the plants tend to be mild compared to the oil as the scent is far less concentrated. This means citronella plants are less effective at repelling cats.


A way to repel cats is using citronella, a strong essential oil made from lemongrass. You can also have plants in your garden to keep cats away. Cats are sensitive to strong smells; therefore, they do not like powerful scents like citronella, which is essentially like a citrus smell. 

Another citrus smell that cats do not like is that of lemon. You can use lemon peels to keep cats away by placing them all around the soil. In addition, you can also make a spray using lemon and water. Similarly, with citronella, you can create a border with the plants or make a mixture using water and adding a few drops of the essential oil.


Below are some of the sources of information we used to put this article together:

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