Does Peppermint Oil Deter Cats?

If you are reading this, then chances are that cats are bothering you by messing with your garden. Fortunately, there are many ways you can deter cats, and one of them is using essential oils. So, does peppermint oil deter cats effectively?

Yes, peppermint oil deters cats. One of the things cats dislike is peppermint oil due to its strong, concentrated smell.

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 to 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, as it includes 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 diarrhoea. However, for cats to suffer from poisoning from plants, they must consume a significant amount. 

How Do You Use Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint oil is a concentrated mixture; therefore, the smell of peppermint is more prevalent. However, while it is practical, direct exposure to peppermint oil can harm cats.

Consequently, 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 from it. For example, you can use one part peppermint oil and ten parts water to create a homemade deterrent.

Before using the combination 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 disperse. 

Fed Up With Cats Pooping In Your Garden?

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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. 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. 

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, knowing which essential oils are safe would be helpful. 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
  6. Tea tree 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 eliminate fleas. Along with being safe for cats, cedar essential oil deters cats which makes it a great choice. 

What Essential Oils Deter Cats


If you still have questions about using peppermint oil to deter cats then check these FAQs out:

Do Cats Hate Peppermint?

Yes, most cats hate the smell of peppermint, primarily when used in its concentrated essential oil form.

Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Cats?

No, peppermint oil is toxic to cats when ingested and can cause skin irritations when they come into contact with it.


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. 


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

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