How To Stop Cats Pooping On Gravel

We have a dog now but we used to have three cats including a very big ginger tom. I found that a major benefit of having cats was that other felines in the neighbourhood tended not to come near our house. This was great for us because it meant we didn’t have cats pooping on our gravel driveway and lawn.

Now we have a dog the cats are back. All the local moggies know that my dog is incapable of catching them! So we have a cat poop problem. It’s smelly and it means we always have to look where we tread.

A lot of us have gravel driveways. Unfortunately, gravel can be a magnet for cats because they think it is one huge litter tray. They love to dig into it and bury their gifts ready for you to step on. The smell of cat poo is disgusting too. Who wants that wafting through their windows?

As you will read in this post, we have tried a few things to stop the poop, some of which have not worked and some we will be trying next.

How you tackle the problem of cats pooping on your gravel depends on your budget. At the high end, simply replace your gravel with pointy large stones and cats will hate to walk on it. Cats are repelled by water. A motion-sensitive water soaker is a perfect deterrent. For a simple but budget-friendly solution, sprinkle some cayenne pepper or put down some smelly citrous or lavender oil. You could also try cat silhouettes with scary eyes.

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How to stop cats pooping on a gravel driveway

There are lots of things you can try to prevent cats from pooing on your gravel driveway. Some are more subtle than others. It depends on how bad your problem is. If you only have the odd poop try using plants to make your garden less appealing and accessible. If your problem is quite bad you might need a stronger deterrent such as a water spray or even changing the type of gravel.

Let’s have a look at what will stop cats pooping on gravel.


Lavender. There are several types of plants that cats don’t like. Lavender is one. I’ve noticed a lot of driveways in our neighbourhood lined with lavender bushes. They look very attractive and smell gorgeous as you walk past.

You can make your garden less accessible to cats by surrounding your gravelled area with thorny bushes. If a cat has to make too much effort to get in they will go elsewhere to relieve themselves.

Catnip. Cats are attracted rather than repelled by catnip, but the effect can make them go elsewhere to poop.

Related reading:

Cat scarers

Some folks have said that these simple and decorative cat silhouettes work brilliantly. I’ve seen these in other people’s gardens and they certainly fool our dog. Hopefully, they scare cats away too!

We are going to try these next. Halloween is coming up, they will be the perfect garden ornament.

BUOMDIA Garden Cat Scarers - Set of 3 Silhouette Cats with Reflective Eyes - Used to Scare Animals or Birds Away from The Garden - Complete with Reflective Tape

Get a cat

When we had three cats living with us, other cats wouldn’t come anywhere near us. Cats of course are very territorial. They will defend your garden as if it were theirs (which really it is of course).

I also find that my cats much preferred to poo elsewhere. I don’t know if that is normal, but when we had cats we didn’t have a poop issue.

Get a dog (doesn’t work)

Some folks advise that getting a dog is the answer. I can say with confidence that this does not work. Our dog gets very wound up when cats arrive in our garden and they know that our dog can’t catch them!

Install a motion-sensitive sprinkler

Cats hate water. They are guaranteed to stay away from your driveway when they realise water is involved!

This motion-sensitive sprinkler has an infrared sensor that triggers a water spray should any animal venture near.

Depending on the size of the area, you might need to purchase more than one.

Havahart 5277 Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler, 1 Pack, Green

A cheaper alternative could be a device that emits a high-frequency sound that only animals can hear. We tried one and sadly it was a waste of money because we still have cats pooing in front of it! We found that it could be heard by our teenage boys and they kept complaining about the high-pitched sound.

If it works for your local cats then this animal pest deterrent is an easy option to install because it is solar-powered.

ZOVENCHI Ultrasonic Animal Pest Repellent, Outdoor Solar Powered Pest and Animal Repeller, Waterproof Deterrent Scarer - Motion Sensor, Repel Cat, Dog, Rabbits, Fox, Raccoons, Skunk, Rats

Add in some sharper gravel

You could change your gravel completely to something less inviting for cats, but if you don’t want to do that try adding in some extra sharp stones. The local felines won’t want to walk on anything pointy so will most likely go elsewhere for the toilet.

Install chicken wire or spikes

Covering your gravelled area with chicken wire or something spiky will ensure that cats can’t dig into it to bury their faeces.

Cats like their comfort and have sensitive paws. They won’t want to go anywhere near your gravel driveway if there is something prickly in their path.

The downside of course is that it won’t be nice for humans to walk on either, so you can only do this if the area is not in use.

Toopify 13ft Garden Cat Scat Spike Mat, Anti-Cats Network Digging Stopper Prickle Strip Home Spike Deterrent (6.5ft2 Pack)
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Cat deterrents

how to stop cats from pooping in the dirt

Essential oils

There are several essential oils that some cats don’t like. Those include citrus-based oils such as lemon, orange and citronella. They also often don’t like lavender.

To use essential oils make up a spray bottle of water mixed with the oil.

Never use the essential oils neat because it is poisonous to cats and not safe for humans either.

Cats also tend to hate the smell of certain peppers such as cayenne and chilli powders. Sprinkle some on your driveway and the strong odor should send cats elsewhere to poop.

Natural repellent spray

This natural repellent spray has a peppermint scent so it won’t make your driveway stink. There are no harsh chemicals which makes it kind to wildlife. Simply spray the areas you want cats to avoid.

Natural Armor Animal & Rodent Repellent Spray. Repels Skunks, Raccoons, Rats, Mice, Deer Rodents & Critters. Repeller & Deterrent in Powerful Peppermint Formula – 128 Fl Oz Gallon Ready to Use

If you prefer to make your own cat repellent. Make up a spray bottle with the following ingredients:

  • Water
  • Mustard powder
  • Crushed garlic
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Black pepper

Vinegar spray

Cats hate the strong smell of vinegar. Take a bottle of vinegar spray and spray it around your gravel. Vinegar is acidic so will have the added bonus of killing your weeds too. Don’t spray the vinegar on any vegetation you want to keep.

Replace the gravel

If whatever you try, you just can’t stop cats from pooping on your gravel driveway, a last-ditch attempt would be to replace the driveway with a different type of gravel, or even a different surface altogether.

If you’re thinking of replacing your gravel with artificial grass, think again because cats like to poo on that just as much.

Is there such a thing as anti-cat gravel?

To deter cats from pooing on your gravel choose large stones of 20mm and above. If you will be walking on your gravel don’t go higher than 20mm. The shape of the stones is important too. Go for sharp stones rather than rounded so that cats find them uncomfortable to walk on them.

Related reading:

Frequently asked questions

Will gravel stop cats pooping?

Gravel will not stop cats pooping because they see it as one big litter tray! If you want to stop cats pooping on your gravel choose sharp stones or large stones of at least 20mm in diameter. This will make the gravel uncomfortable for cats to walk on and will make it difficult for them to dig up.

Photo by Robin Jonathan Deutsch on Unsplash

This article and its contents are owned by and was first published on 19 October 2021.
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Penny | SparklingPenny

Hi, I'm Penny. A busy mum of two boys, with the aim to enjoy life to the full.