Eeeuuu… Scents That Cats Hate

By Category: Cat Deterrents, Scents That Cats Hate
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Come around me with a peeled orange, and I’ll take off as fast as I can. There are some scents that cats hate, and citrus is one of them!

Scents cats hate can be used as a training tool.

Scents cats hate can be used as a training tool.

Are there any scents that cats hate, Thomasina? I’m trying to keep the neighborhood cats away from my flowerbeds. 
— Curious Gardner

Hi Curious…

Wow. I’m sorry the cats are using your flowerbeds. I’m sure you think that’s not very nice! Yes, there are some scents cats hate, and although it makes me feel very guilty, I’ll make a list for you in a minute.

But before we talk about scents that cats hate, I’d like to tell you how we see the world.

For Cats, It’s All About Time sharing 

We don’t see property the way people do. Most of us believe in time sharing. If you’re not using that chair or flowerbed, we figure it’s okay for us to use it for a little while.
Sometimes, we even come up with an informal schedule. At our house, Sizzle sleeps on the same chair on the balcony every afternoon when he’s inside. No one else uses it because we know it’s his. But when he wakes up from his afternoon nap, the chair is up for grabs. Then it becomes Belle’s chair for a few hours because she likes to sleep on it at night.

Cats don’t really understand the concept of “all yours” and “completely mine” because most of us don’t live that way. So the neighborhood cats are probably wondering why you don’t like sharing that flowerbed with them!

Using Scents Cats Hate As A Training Tool

Coleus canina plants can repel cats.

Coleus canina plants can repel cats.

Okay, so I guess I can understand why you don’t want to share your flowerbeds with the cats, especially if they’re using them as a litter box. Ugh…

Here are some scents most cats hate, and you can try using them to keep the neighborhood cats away from your stuff. Our human wrote a whole article about this, but I’ll list some of them here.

  • Coleus canina plants. Take it from me, these things are disgusting. Plant a neat little row around your flower beds, and the cats won’t go near them.
  • Anything citrus
  • Bananas
  • Used coffee grounds
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Absinthe
  • Lemon-thyme
  • Citronella
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic chives
  • Never, ever use mothballs or mothball flakes. Not only are they toxic to cats, they’re toxic to birds and wildlife and damaging to the environment.

Keep in mind that anything you sprinkle in your flowerbeds has to be reapplied every few days until the cats decide they really do want to stay away. And scents that cats hate can be different from cat to cat. So you might have to experiment until you find something that works. I happen to love the scent of lavender.

With deep apologies to your neighborhood cats, I have another suggestion for you. Electronic deterrents that make a high-pitched noise that can only cats can hear are much more efficient and really do work.

Why do cats get up on counters? We have lots…