What Plants Do Cats Hate?

Did you know that you can combine your love for garden and hatred for trespassing cats by planting plants that could deter cats? So, what plants do cats hate?

Cats hate many plants including lavender, rue, lemon thyme, and pennyroyal. Cats hate plants either for having a strong smell or for having a rough texture.

Cats have a strong sense of smell and will hate any plant that has a powerful and unpleasant scent – unpleasant to them anyways!

Unfortunately, although there are plants that a lot of cats hate, these are not 100% effective, and you may find that the particular cat you’re dealing with actually loves the smell of lavender or lemon thyme.

Which Plants Do Cats Hate?

Fortunately, there are various plants that cats hate. They might hate them because of their fragrance, texture or a combination of the two. I’ve put together a table below to show you which plants are effective at deterring cats:

Here’s a table showing some plants that cats commonly dislike:

LavenderCats are repelled by its strong scent.
RosemaryEmits an odour that cats find unpleasant.
Coleus CaninaHas been developed solely to deter cats with a urine-like smell.
GeraniumThe strong fragrance repels cats but this is only the case for cranesbill gernaniums.
MarigoldCats are deterred by their scent.
LemongrassThe lemony fragrance repels cats.
CitronellaCats dislike the strong citrus scent.

Please note that while these plants are generally disliked by cats, individual preferences may vary. It’s always a good idea to observe a cat’s behaviour to see how they react.

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How Do You Use These Hated Plants?

Ultimately, the best way to use these plants is to put them in your garden. However, you can use plants close to where a cat enters your garden.

For example, if there is a gap in the fence that they often enter through, block it with a large rosemary bush which will be rough to push past and then border this with a row of lavender to add a scent they also dislike.

What Plants Do Cats Love?

Although you can plant things that cats hate, you also need to ensure you’re not attracting them accidentally by plantings things they love!


The first plant on this list is an obvious one.

Almost all cats love catnip, and they all react differently to it. The herb leaves cats in a trance, and they spend a lot of time sniffing it, laying in it and becoming lost in it.

Many gardeners plant catnip in their garden because it attracts bees which aid in pollination. Unfortunately, a downside to growing catnip in your garden is attracting cats. If you want to get rid of cat visitors, you should avoid growing catnip.

Cats Love Catnip


The valerian root is also known as the garden heliotrope and has a beautiful vanilla scent. The scent of valerian root is what attracts cats. The scent is not the only thing that drives cats insane, but the plant has a compound known as actinidine which stimulates cats.

If you grow valerian roots, you are bound to be visited by cats in your garden.

The flowers clustered together in this plant attract bees into the garden, which is why many people are tempted to grow it. While the flowers look beautiful and smell amazing, it is best to refrain from growing valerian roots if you have a cat problem.

Cat Thyme

The name cat thyme suggests that this plant is made for cats. However, cat thyme is not related to thyme but a form of germander. It has thyme like leaves which is where it gets its name from.

The other, colloquial name for cat thyme is kitty crack… I think that probably tells you all you need to know about cat thyme and its attractiveness to cats!


All cats are different. Just because one cat likes a certain plant does not mean that all cats will. Therefore, you must be prepared for any cat that may enter your garden.

For example, honeysuckle is not as famous as catnip because very few cats feel drawn towards it. However, some cats love honeysuckle like they would love catnip.

Liquorice root

Liquorice root is another plant that attracts cats. This plant serves the purpose of providing medicinal relief. However, many people avoid keeping this plant in their garden despite its benefits because it brings cats in.

Should You Use Plants to Deter Cats?

When it comes to deterring cats, there’s a moral question over whether you should use spices or sprays or ultrasonic repellers. But, with plants, there’s not a lot people can do to stop you from planting plants in YOUR garden.

What Plant Do Cats Hate the Most?

Cats are known to despise the strong aroma of the Coleus canina plant, also known as “Scaredy Cat Plant”. They also tend to avoid anything in the citrus family due to their strong, acidic scent.

What Herbs Do Cats Hate?

Cats typically dislike the smell of several herbs such as rosemary, rue, and lavender. The strong scent of mint and its varieties, especially peppermint, can also be unappealing to them.


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