Does Peppermint Oil Deter Cats?

Does Peppermint Oil Deter Cats

If you are reading this, then the chances are that cats are bothering you by messing with your garden. It is essential to keep cats away as they tend to poop in the soil and contaminate it. Fortunately, there are many ways you can deter cats, and one of them is using essential oils. To be successful in your journey, it is helpful to know what cats like and dislike. 

One of the things cats dislike is peppermint oil which is why it is perfect for deterring them. 

Peppermint contains the ingredient salicylate, which is toxic to cats. Therefore, most cats hate the scent of peppermint. However, the peppermint plant will attract cats because it contains compounds similar to those found in catnip, which cats love. Nevertheless, you can use peppermint oil to deter cats. 

Are Peppermint Plants Toxic to Cats?

You may wonder why use peppermint oil when you can grow the herb in your garden! 

Unfortunately, exposing cats to peppermint plants is not a good idea because it is toxic to them. While the plant is toxic to cats, they are still attracted to it because they confuse it for catnip, including similar compounds. 

Therefore, it would be wise not to keep peppermint plants in your garden. Upon ingesting the peppermint plant, cats can suffer from severe diarrhea. However, for cats to suffer from mint poisoning from plants, they must consume a significant amount. 

How to Do You Use Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a concentrated mixture; therefore, the smell of peppermint is more prevalent. However, while it is effective, direct exposure to peppermint oil can be harmful to cats. Therefore, it is essential to dilute the peppermint oil before applying it in your garden. 

The best way to use peppermint oil to deter cats is to create a mixture of it. For example, you can use one part peppermint oil and three parts water to create a homemade deterrent. Before using the mixture on your plants, shake it well. Then, you can spray the mixture on the leaves and in places where you notice that cats poop the most. 

In addition to creating a mixture, there is another way to use peppermint oil. You can create your homemade scent diffuser to repel cats. To make your diffuser, soak tea bags in peppermint oil and then place them in a plastic bottle with holes in it. Then, you can hang the plastic bottle and let the peppermint scent travel. Hence, this way, the cats will know not to mess with your garden. 

Is the Smell of Peppermint Oil Harmful to Cats?

Cats are sensitive to smells; therefore, they dislike many strong smells. For example, our feline friends dislike the scent of peppermint oil. However, the smell of peppermint oil is not harmful to cats. In fact, you can use the strong scent to your advantage to deter cats. 

The only thing about peppermint oil that harms cats is direct exposure to it. Therefore, you must ensure not to adopt methods of repelling cats that result in ingestion or skin contact. 

Is Peppermint Oil Toxic to Cats

While peppermint oil is a great way to deter cats, unfortunately, it can be toxic. However, as long as you are safe with using the oil and ensure that you avoid ingestion or skin exposure, you are good to go. 

Peppermint oils include the ingredient salicylate, which is poisonous to cats. Moreover, cats do not have enzymes in their livers that enable them to get rid of toxins. Therefore, a cat ingesting peppermint oil is a big problem. Ingesting peppermint oil can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhoea. In addition, peppermint oil also attacks the cat’s nervous system. In the worst-case scenario, a cat that ingests peppermint oil can also die due to liver failure. 

Along with ingesting, having skin exposure to peppermint oil is also dangerous when it comes to cats. We know that cats are always keeping themselves clean by licking their fur. Therefore, if peppermint oil gets on the cat, it will be uncomfortable, and you will want to lick it off. Hence, this will lead to the cat ingesting the peppermint oil, putting its life in danger. 

Some of the symptoms that a cat is suffering from peppermint poisoning include tremors, drooling, lethargy, coughing, and fever. Therefore, it is essential to use peppermint oil safely not to harm any stray or neighbourhood cats.

Are All Essential Oils Toxic to Cats ?

To ensure that you do not mistake putting a cat’s life in danger, it would be helpful to know which essential oils are safe. While essential oils can do a great job at deterring cats, direct contact is not always safe. Some of the essential oils which are toxic to cats include:

  1. Lavender essential oil
  2. Clove essential oil
  3. Cinnamon essential oil
  4. Eucalyptus essential oil
  5. Citrus essential oil

One essential oil you can use to deter cats without the worry of harming them is cedar essential oil. Many pet parents use this oil on their cats to get rid of fleas. Along with being safe for cats, cedar essential oil deters cats which makes it a great choice. 


Cats can be loveable, but they can also mess with gardens. It can be annoying to walk between your plants to find cat poop in the soil. Apart from being an inconvenience, cat poop has dangerous parasites. A way to keep cats out of your garden is to use peppermint oil. Cats do not like the strong scent of peppermint oil, and the best way to use it is to make a spray out of it. 

It is essential to keep cats away from direct exposure to peppermint oil as it is toxic. Upon ingesting the peppermint, oil cats can suffer from upset stomach and even liver failure. Other harmful essential oils include citrus oil, lavender oil, and cinnamon oil. On the other hand, using cedarwood oil is a good choice as it is non-toxic to cats.

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