What Herbs Deter Cats?

As you probably already know, cats have an incredibly strong sense of smell. This is something you can use against them. By using strong scents, you can deter cats. Herbs, obviously, are used for their scent. So, what herbs deter cats?

Rosemary, lemon thyme, curry plant, lavender and many other herbs can deter cats with their strong smells that cats dislike being near. 

Rosemary, lemon thyme, lemon balm, Coleus Canina, curry plant, lavender and many other herbs can deter cats away from areas of your garden where you don’t want them roaming around.

Rosemary is one of the herbs that, due to its strong scent, can easily repel a cat from the garden; they’re also sharp, so cats avoid going near them. It won’t hurt them but rubbing against the rough leaves can be uncomfortable for a cat. You can learn more about rosemary here.

Lemon thyme is another good option as it has the smell of citrus and is a herb, both things that a cat hates, making it a very effective cat deterrent.

Sometimes even we humans can find the scent of curry plants very overpowering, now, increase the intensity to 10, and that’ll be how a cat would feel towards a curry plant; it’ll be unbearable.

Lavender not only adds a delightful purple tint to your garden look but is also useful for deterring cats. Cats have sensitive noses, and the strong smell of these herbs feels unbearable to cats. 

Are Herbs Toxic to Cats?

Some herbs will be toxic to cats, others won’t be. Oregano, tarragon, chives and bay are just some of the herbs that are toxic to cats.

What herbs Attract Cats?

Unfortunately, not all herbs will work to deter cats. There are some herbs which will have the opposite effect and will attract them. Catnip, chamomile, dill and basil are all known to attract some cats. Of course, all cats are different.

How Do You Use Herbs to Deter Cats?

Using herbs to deter cats is very straightforward; you just have to plant them in your garden if you want a cat, that often comes to your garden, to stay away.

Planting herbs is the easiest and most obvious way of using herbs as a cat deterrent. Planting herbs will also be beneficial other than using them as deterrents. They can both be aesthetically pleasing and great for cooking with.

Unfortunately, cats are all different. This does mean that a particular herb might work for one cat but another cat may just ignore it. This is why you’ll need to try a range of herbs.

The good news is that you can plant a mixed herb garden to determine which works well. If a herb doesn’t work then all is not lost as you can still use it in your cooking, unlike other deterrents.

Some herbs, such as basil, rosemary, thyme and sage, are safe for cats. Whereas sorrel, lavender, chives, bay, tarragon, borage, mint, chamomile, and lemon verbena are all herbs that are toxic to cats.

They’re only toxic to cats if it licks or eats them. A cat licking or eating a herb is very rare as they don’t like the smell of herbs, so they usually stay far away.

Fed Up With Cats Pooping In Your Garden?

Read Our Completely FREE Guide on How to Deter Cats From Your Garden, Once and For All!

Read the Guide

Do Dried Herbs Deter Cats?

Dried herbs are, of course, easier to get year-round. They’re convenient and cheaper than fresh herbs. In terms of use in the kitchen, they do tend to taste a little blander. But do dried herbs deter cats too?

Yes! Using dried herbs as a deterrent is actually easier than using fresh herbs because a fresh herb would require to be planted in the garden and kept alive whereas dried herbs can last in the cupboard for months – if not years!

How to Use Dried Herbs to Deter Cats

You can deter cats with dried herbs by sprinkling them on areas that you want cats to get away from. If it’s your garden that you want to secure, you can sprinkle dried herbs around garden borders.

If there are particular plants you want to protect, then you can try to create a mini border of dried herbs around it. Dried mustard, lavender, rosemary, and cayenne pepper (although not technically a herb) are all effective if you want to deter cats.

The only issue with dried herbs is that a gust of window or a downpour of rain will see those herbs wash away or blow away so you’ll need to keep reapplying. The good news is that dried herbs can be purchased in bulk at a fairly low price. In terms of deterrents, dried herbs are one of the cheapest options for dealing with cats.


Gardens look beautiful, and for them to stay that way, you need to care for them and deter pests, critters… And cats! They can damage plants and soil and leave their poop everywhere – which stinks!

Using herbs is the best way to protect a garden, as you get many benefits from planting herbs. Herbs can be used in cooking; they smell amazing, look beautiful and can also shoo away any cat that might cause chaos in your garden. 

Rosemary, lemon thyme, lemon balm, Coleus Canina, curry plant, lavender, and other herbs can easily deter cats from your garden. If fresh herbs are hard to get, you can get dried herbs and deter cats by sprinkling them around the garden. Both dried and fresh herbs have intense smells that cats dislike, making them effective deterrents. 

Leave a Comment

Latest Reads

Are Black Cats Bad Luck

Are Black Cats Bad Luck?

Does Cinnamon Deter Cats

Does Cinnamon Deter Cats?

Do Slugs Eat Chives

Do Slugs Eat Chives