What Smells Do Cats Hate?

What Smells Do Cats Hate

Cats are blessed with a great sense of smell. They have an odour sense which is 14 times stronger than us humans. But you can use this to your advantage if you want to get rid of cats in your garden. So, what smells do cats hate?

There are many smells that cats hate. Some of these scents include citrus scents, lavender, spicy pepper and vinegar.

You can grow plants like lavender to prevent cats from entering your garden. You can also sprinkle pepper on the ground or leave lemon peels around the garden. As cats hate strong scents, they will avoid coming into your garden if you do so.

You can also make a spray with pepper or citrus and spray it on your plants and the area most used by cats.

But what smells do cats hate the most and how can you use each of these smells to your advantage in the garden?

What Smells Do Cats Hate the Most?

While there are smells that cats can tolerate, there are some smells that cats hate! Cats cannot tolerate these smells and will prefer avoiding the area altogether:


Cats do not like the smell of certain herbs such as rue, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon thyme.

You can either choose to sprinkle these herbs in your garden, so the wind picks up the scent and cats avoid the area. Or, you can plant some of these herbs in your garden. By planting these herbs, you can make use of them and, at the same time, deter cats.

Lemon Thyme Cat Deterrent

Planting herbs in your garden comes with plenty of additional benefits, of course. Not only will you have a free supply of herbs to use in your cooking but, unlike most other smells, you won’t need to keep reapplying it to your garden as it will simply continue to grow and smell.

Citrus Scents

Cats are sensitive to scents and hence, do not like strong citrus scents. Cats do not like smelling lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit scents.

An easy way to incorporate citrus scents in deterring cats is to use peels. You can place the peels in the dirt under plants, inside flowerpots, or any place that cats like to use as their own personal litter tray.

You can also grind these peels in powder form and sprinkle them in your garden.

A benefit of using citrus peels is that it is natural and will not harm your garden. When the peels decompose, they will provide nourishment to your garden soil. However, a downside to using citrus peels is that the rain can easily wash them away, so you must keep up with it.


Cats avoid smoky and spicy scents like pepper. Pepper comes in many forms, and cats detest each of them. The most common pepper found in homes is black pepper.

To get the most scent out of black pepper, you should grind whole peppercorns. Next, you can sprinkle the ground black pepper in your garden to stop cats from pooping there.

If cats detest black pepper, they will also hate white pepper. You can use white pepper in the same manner.

Perhaps the most popular form of pepper used to deter cats is cayenne pepper. This pepper has a strong smell that cats hate. In fact, many commercially available cat repellents use cayenne pepper as the main ingredient.

You can also use cayenne pepper in your garden, so cats sniff it from afar and do not dare enter. You can either sprinkle the cayenne pepper or make a spray with it. It is best always to use a little amount of cayenne pepper to avoid causing harm to cats in case they encounter it.

Homemade Cat Repellent Spray

Essential Oils

Essential oils and cats do not get along. These oils come in different scents that are highly concentrated. The smell tends to be quite strong even to humans, so imagine how the cats must feel with their super-sensitive noses.

You can use essential oils in your garden. However, you must be careful with them. Essential oils are not a problem if cats do not ingest them but can cause harm if swallowed.

To avoid causing harm to cats and making use of the essential oil scents, you can create a homemade air freshener. For creating your air freshener, you can dip tea bags into essential oils and place them inside a plastic bottle. So the scent can escape, you should make holes in the bottle.

What Essential Oils Deter Cats


Cats also hate the smell of vinegar. Vinegar has a distinct smell that even humans find too strong. If you wish to go all the way, you can use apple cider vinegar. You can dilute the vinegar in water and create a spray for the garden.

What Smells are Toxic to Cats?

There are some smells that cats hate for good reason: They’re toxic! Unfortunately, cats can also be attracted to some of these smells.

As annoying as a cat pooping all over your garden is, it’s still not a good idea to cause harm to them and it’s not something we would condone.

You should therefore avoid essential oils such as cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree and ylang-ylang.

Avoid Toxic Essential Oils
Some essential oils may work to deter cats but they can also be highly toxic. Before using an essential oil, make sure it is safe to use as most, such as tea tree oil, are highly toxic.

What Smell Do Cats Hate to Poo On?

Cats hate to poo on any strong scents. As aforementioned, cats do not like scents such as citrus, lavender, spices, and lavender oil.

If you wish to stop cats from pooping in your garden, you can spray some mixture made from pepper, vinegar and/or essential oils or put citrus peel around your garden

Cats also hate to poo on scents that are of other animals. Cats are territorial animals and do not like sharing their space.

You can use lion manure in your garden to keep all the cats away. The manure comes in pellet form, so you do not have to worry about smelling it; only the cats do. The cats will detect another feline in the area because of the manure and avoid coming there.


One notable thing about cats is their sense of smell. Cats have a strong odour sense and rely on sniffing to help them detect objects and people. As a gardener, you can use a cat’s incredible sense of smell to your advantage.

For example, to prevent cats from coming into your garden and pooping, you can grow plants of scents that cats hate, like lavender and rue. Since cats also hate vinegar, citrus, and essential oils, you can use those too.

You can either sprinkle some deterrents like pepper in your garden or make a spray from it to deter cats. Cats are territorial, and they hate to poo on soil that other animals have used. You can use lion manure to trick cats into believing there is another feline in the area.

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