Will Mothballs Repel Cats?

If you face a cat problem in your garden, you may have heard countless ways to repel them. As cats have a strong sense of smell, it is important to use it against them. Anything which smells powerful is likely to deter cats. So, will mothballs repel cats or not?

Yes, mothballs will repel cats, but they can also be harmful so it’s not something we would advise using.

Mothballs are often used in gardens to keep cats away. It is the strong smell of mothballs that irritates cats. However, not all cats will walk away. Cats are curious creatures, and some will sniff, and play around with the mothballs.

Upon ingesting a mothball (or the chemicals they are soaked in), a cat will face serious health issues, including kidney and liver damage. Using mothballs to repel cats is dangerous and should be avoided. 

Does the Smell of Mothballs Bother Cats?

Mothballs are essentially pesticides that are used to kill insects. However, many people have resorted to using mothballs to deter cats because of their smell. 

While the smell is strong and it does bother cats, some will only become more curious. Not all cats respond to one scent the same way. Therefore, some cats may walk away upon only smelling the mothball others may play with it or try to eat it. 

Consuming the mothball for cats is dangerous and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver damage. The symptoms of mothball consumption in a cat do not show immediately; rather, it takes a day.

While repelling cats is important, using humane methods should be your top priority. There are plenty of humane methods to deter cats. 

In addition, mothball fumes will be toxic to your pets and yourself. Therefore, using it in your garden is dangerous as it harms more than just cats. 

Are Mothballs Bad for Cats?

Yes, if a cat were to lick or ingest a mothball, it can cause serious harm. When using mothballs, they mustn’t be easily accessible.

What Smells Will Repel Cats?

If you are considering using mothballs to repel cats, it is best to look at an alternative solution. Not only will you be saving countless feline lives, but you will also be protecting other animals and yourself from dangerous fumes.

There are plenty of smells that repel cats which you can use instead: 


Vinegar, as we all know, has a strong acidic smell. Cats find the smell of vinegar quite overpowering, which is why using it as a deterrent can be effective.

You can mix some vinegar in water and spray it in your plants or pots and areas where you find cat poop most often. 

One thing to remember is that you need to be careful about spraying too much vinegar on leaves. Vinegar can cause damage to leaves as it can burn them. Therefore, doing a test patch first is vital to see how your plants react.

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When we think about garlic, we imagine a delicious smell and some great food. On the contrary, cats imagine walking as far away from garlic as possible. Garlic is famous for its strong smell, so it is not quite popular in the feline community. 

What is great about garlic is that it is accessible, and you can use it however way you like. You can smash some garlic, releasing its juice and scent, and put it in your garden, pots, and popular spots.

You can also boil some garlic in water, get the juices flowing, and add some other ingredients you think can make the mixture stronger.

Next, simply spray the mixture on the leaves and in your garden. It is important to keep up with the application as the scent can wear off. 

Essential Oils 

Essential oils are known for their powerful smells and are widely used. The overpowering scent can irritate cats, discouraging them from entering your garden.

The most popular cat repellant essential oils include lavender, eucalyptus, and citronella

You can mix a few drops of essential oils in water to create a mixture and spray it in your garden.

You can also adopt other methods like your very own scent diffuser. You can dip some tea bags in essential oils, place them inside a bottle with holes and let the scent linger.

This is a good method to adopt as essential oils can harm cats if they ingest them. 


We relate citrus with the feeling of freshness, but cats do not think so highly of it. Citrus, like vinegar, is a strong acidic scent that keeps cats away.

This means you can use citrus scents like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits to your advantage. 

You can either squeeze some citrus juice in water and make a spray or use the peels. Usually, we throw the peels out, but you can grind them in a powder or use them as they are, placing them in your soil. 

The citrus smell will keep the cats away, and the peels can decompose and act as a fertilizer for your soil. However, the wind can blow the citrus powder, and you must reapply it. 

Do Cats Hate the Smell of Citrus


Spices like pepper, chilli flakes, and cinnamon strongly smell that repel cats. You can sprinkle your choice of spice in your garden, staying wary of the wind. Or you can make a spray too.

The spices trigger the cat’s sinuses and irritate the paws, discouraging it from entering the garden. 

Are Moth Balls Bad for the Environment?

Yes, they are. Moth balls are often soaked in chemicals that are bad for the planet. This is why moth balls have been banned in a number of countries.


Many people resort to using mothballs to repel cats. However, while mothballs have a strong scent, you must avoid using them as they are toxic.

Cats are curious creatures, and some of them may end up playing with the mothball or ingesting it. If a cat ingests a mothball, it can suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney, and liver damage. 

You can resort to using other humane methods of repelling cats. For instance, you can create a mix using strong scents like pepper, garlic, or vinegar. In addition, you can also create a diffuser by dipping tea bags in essential oils, placing them in bottles with holes, and letting the scent linger. 

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