What Smells Repel Cats?

What Smells Repel Cats

Cats can be a tough one to repel, especially if you find them adorable. However, as someone with gardening experience, you know the mess you deal with when cats choose to trespass your garden. So, the smart way to repel cats and stop them from causing trouble is to use their most hated scents. Cats have a strong sense of smell. Therefore, any powerful scent annoys them and drives them nuts. 

A few smells which repel cats include lavender, citrus, cinnamon, garlic, and vinegar. 

Many people like to incorporate scents and make sprays for their gardens. Others may like to use them directly, for example, putting garlic in the garden near plants. In addition, you can also use essential oils of scents that cats hate. For instance, cats hate the scent of citronella, which has a strong citrus smell as it is made from lemongrass leaves. 

What Smell Do Cats Hate the Most?

Getting rid of cats from your garden can seem like quite the task. Fortunately, you can use one of the cat’s strongest senses to your advantage. As cats have powerful noses, they find certain smells unbearable. By using those smells in your garden, you will ensure that they stay away from it. Here are some smells that cats hate the most: 


One of the most famous smells hated by cats is garlic. We may enjoy using garlic in our foods, and the smell can delight us, but not cats. Garlic has a powerful smell, and it can annoy cats. You can smash some garlic cloves, get the juices out, and put them near your plants. In addition, you can also create a garlic spray by boiling some in water. There are other ways to use garlic, like sprinkling garlic powder or using garlic oil. 


Cinnamon reminds us of fall and delicious treats. But for cats, cinnamon can be their worst nightmare. Upon encountering cinnamon, cats can feel irritated. Therefore a good way to deal with your situation is to sprinkle some cinnamon in your garden. However, cinnamon powder is susceptible to getting blown by the wind. Hence, you can use some cinnamon oil instead, which works just as fine and is non-toxic. 


Many gardeners have sworn by using pepper in their garden to repel cats. But, turns out, felines are not big fans of pepper due to their smoky smell. In addition, coming into contact with pepper awakes the cat’s sinuses and irritates it. 

There are different kinds of pepper you can use, like black pepper or cayenne pepper. But, perhaps the most effective pepper is cayenne pepper. You can either make a spray using the peppers or sprinkle some ground ones in your garden. The good news is if you want things convenient, you can get a cayenne pepper spray that you can spritz in your garden among plants and reply when you need to. 


Cats do not like anything which smells like citrus as it is quite overpowering. Hence, fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, or oranges are good at deterring cats. You can use these fruits to create a spray for your garden. Another way to incorporate citrus is to use lemon peels which you may usually throw out. 

In addition, any citrus essential oil will also work when it comes to repelling cats. Essential oils like citronella have a strong scent which does wonders. A great thing about citronella is that it is non-toxic and will not harm any cats. 

What Smells Do Cats Love?

Often cats can come to your garden because they are attracted to certain smells. It can be helpful to know which smells cats love, so you avoid having them in your garden. By eliminating any attractions, you will also be keeping the neighbourhood cats out and keeping your plants safe. 

A lot of different scents found in gardens attract cats. For instance, cats love the smell of roses, and they are also edible. So it can come as a surprise, see cats inclined towards flowers. Other flowers which cats love include sunflowers, daisies, and dandelions. 

In addition to flowers, cats are also attracted to scents of different herbs. Of course, we all like having herbs in our garden, but it would be best to eliminate the ones that attract cats. Some favourite cat herbs include oregano, rosemary, and parsley. 

While some essential oils can appear strong to cats, there are some which they love. For example, any essential oil which has a fruity scent to it will attract cats. In addition, essential oils like chamomile will also attract cats because of their relaxing properties. 

Some of the cat favourites also include valerian root. This herb can cause cats to go insane, but after a while, they become relaxed. Similarly, catnip is also famous for attracting cats. The smell of these herbs attracts cats, and sniffing them can make cats act funny like they are on drugs. Olives also attract cats as they contain oleuropein like catnip. In addition, cats enjoy chewing on olive leaves as it helps them relax. 

These are some of the scents which you should avoid having in your garden. It can be easy for plants that attract cats to go unnoticed, but it becomes easier if you have a checklist!


Smells are your way to go when it comes to repelling cats. With their strong sense of smell, cats hate anything which smells powerful. Some smells which cats hate include garlic, cinnamon, pepper, and citrus. You can either make a spray using some of these ingredients, or you can use essential oils. For instance, citronella is a citrus-based essential oil that deters cats. 

In addition to knowing about smells that cats hate, it is important to know about those they love to avoid them in your garden. Some of the smells which cats love are catnip, valerian root, and olives. Cats are also attracted to roses and herbs like oregano, rosemary, and parsley. Some essential oils with fruity scents or chamomile also attract cats. 

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