Filed Under: Cats

What Plants Do Cats Hate?


by Ryan Finch

Being someone who loves to garden does not make you hate cats, but it is essential to deter them to keep your garden looking at its best. A natural way to avoid cats from coming into your garden is to grow plants that cats hate. But what plants do cats hate?

Cats hate many plants including lavender, rue, lemon thyme, and pennyroyal.

Cats have a strong sense of smell and will hate any plant that has a powerful and unpleasant scent. Therefore, you will not have to worry about cats littering in your garden and spoiling your plants if you interplant with some of these varieties which cats dislike.

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.

What Plants Do Cats Love?

Instead, the best way to keep cats out of your garden is to ensure it doesn’t attract cats. The scent of certain plants draws cats toward them, and they enjoy sniffing these plants. That’s why it is important to also know what plants cats love so you can avoid planting them:


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 are looking to get rid of cat visitors, then 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!


It comes as a surprise to people when they find out that lemongrass attracts cats. Usually, citrus scents deter cats, but they love lemongrass. If you are wondering why cats visit you, it can be because of your lemongrass plant.

While cats love lemongrass, consuming it in large amounts can upset their stomach.


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.


Mint is one of those plants that attract cats more with its scent than any other thing. Cats love mint because the smell is like catnip, and they get confused. Therefore, it is best not to grow any kind of mint plant in your garden, or you will have uninvited feline visitors.

Out of all the plants mentioned, the most loved plants are catnip, lemongrass, mint, and cat thyme. However, if you cannot refrain from growing all the aforementioned plants, you may avoid growing these four.


There are certain plants that cats love because of their scent or a compound they contain. It is best to avoid growing these plants, or your neighbourhood cats will spoil your garden. It would help not grow plants like catnip, cat thyme, mint, and lemongrass.

Instead, choose plants that cats hate so they do not visit your garden and litter in it. Some plants that cats detest are lavender, rue, lemon thyme, and pennyroyal.

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