Does Coleus Canina Repel Cats?

There are many ways to keep cats out, but most of them cause harm to them. While looking to repel cats, we do not want them to suffer. One of the purported ways to stop cats from pooping in your garden is to use Coleus Canina. But does Coleus Canina repel cats effectively or not?

Yes, Coleus Canina repels cats. You can place the plant at the entrance of your garden or add it in spots where cats visit the most. 

What is Coleus Canina?

Many people are unaware of what Coleus Canina is. The real name of this plant is Plectranthus Caninus, and it belongs to the mint family. In appearance, this plant looks similar to mint combined with lavender.

The plant Coleus Canina has a lengthy history; therefore, not much is known about its origin. There are other names that the plant goes by, like The Scaredy Cat. Many people believe that the plant comes from Southern Asia or Eastern Africa. 

This plant repels cats and sends them a message to stay away. When cats brush against the plant, the leaves and stems release a smell that is like skunk spray, which repels cats.

Why Does Coleus Canina Repel Cats?

The plant has earned its name scaredy-cat plant for a reason. Many gardeners like to have this plant because of its pungent smell.

However, cats differ from one to another, and while some may avoid the plant completely, others may not be affected by the plant. 

Cats do not like this plant because of its strong smell. The scent is like dog urine or skunk-like. As animals brush against the plant, the smell is released, which makes the plant more unlikeable. 

In addition to repelling cats, you can have this plant for its beautiful flowers, which add a wonderful touch to your garden. You can plant this in pots and create a border with the plants or add them in places where cats poop or pee the most.

There are many methods of deterring cats, Coleus Canina being one of them, and hence, you must test and try the methods to see what works for you. If you are lucky, the cats that enter your garden may dislike the plant and avoid coming. 

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Is Coleus Canina Safe for Cats?

Unfortunately, Coleus Canina can be poisonous to cats. The plant contains essential oil toxins, leading to skin irritations and burns. Moreover, if cats ingest the plant, it could cause stomach problems.

The oils can cause enter the respiratory system of the cat, which causes slow breathing. 

Cats will mostly turn away from the plant. But in some cases, they can be curious and try the plant out if they are bored or curious. 

Is Coleus Canina Toxic to Cats?

Yes, if a cat ingests Coleus Canina then there is a chance it could poison them. They would have to ingest quite a large quantity of it, however. Usually, the smell puts them off going near it.

How Do You Plant Coleus Canina to Deter Cats?

If you are a new gardener or have not grown this plant, you may have questions about how to plant Coleus Canina.

The good news is that it is quite easy to grow this plant. You can buy however many plants you need and plant them two feet apart. Or you can grow your plant from scratch and direct sow the seeds in your garden. 

What is great about growing Coleus Canina is that it is a resilient and hardy plant. These plants have a high chance of doing well in your garden and surviving independently.

It is fairly hardy and will survive most frosts but is unlikely to do much deterring during the colder months.

It is during the warmer summer months when it comes into its own, looking beautiful with purple spiked flowers whilst deterring cats with its strong smell.

If you need more help then this guide from Gardening Know How is great.

Is Coleus Canina Hardy?

Unfortunately, Coleus Canina is not fully-hardy. It will survive the winter, but as soon as a frost comes, it will struggle to survive, especially in colder parts of the country. Wrapping a Coleus Canina plant in a fleece sheet should keep it somewhat protected but that’s not a guarantee it will survive the cold.


One of the ways you can discourage cats from entering your garden is by adding plants they hate. For instance, you can use Coleus Canina, also known as the scaredy-cat plant, to keep them out. Not only cats but this plant is also known to keep out other animals. 

Animals do not like Coleus Canina because of the strong, pungent smell. When animals brush against the plant, it gives out stronger scents. Hence, you can have this plant in your garden to discourage cats.

The plant is hardy and able to withstand rough environments. During extreme frosts, it will need protecting with fleece so bear this in mind. It will also die back during the winter months so will therefore not do much deterring of cats.

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