What Smells Deter Cats From Pooping?

Categories Pets
what smells deter cats from pooping

In my previous post about how to stop your neighbor’s cat peeing on your front door, I shared the story of my three cats. Owning three moggies meant no other cats would dare enter our garden. If the neighborhood cats are using your backyard as a toilet, then this is the post for you because today I share how you can use smells to deter cats from pooping in your garden.

Now we have a dog and no cats. Sadly, I share further down how my tomcat met his demise due to Jeyes Fluid.

So now the cats are gone, the neighborhood cats are back because they know our dog can’t catch them! The squirrels love to taunt her too, but that’s another story!

Smells that deter cats from pooping include citrus, pepper and several essential oils such as lavender and citronella. Grow plants in your garden that cats hate, such as Coleus Canina, Catmint, Lavender and Rosemary.

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What smells deter cats from pooping?

cat in a garden

Adding scents to your yard is an effective way to discourage cats from using your space for their toilet. Cats tend to hate strong smells. Take your garden from their first choice to their last and send them elsewhere to do their business!

If it’s your gravel driveway that attracts cats, here are some tips for stopping cats pooping on gravel.

So, what odors will keep cats away?

Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from and many of them are very nice for humans to smell too and perfectly natural and safe.

For example, lavender. There are lots of ways to use lavender in your garden. Plant it and use it as a border to deter cats from entering your garden, or make up a spray with essential lavender oils and spray it on areas where cats like to poop.

It’s important to note that the essential oils listed here should never be used neat. Don’t be tempted to shake a bottle around your garden. Essential oils used neat are dangerous for cats, and aren’t that nice for humans either. It’s much safer to dilute them. Always add the oil drops to the water, not the other way around.

Let’s take a look at more options for smells that deter cats from pooping in your garden or yard:


Cats hate anything with a citrus smell such as lemons, lime, oranges and grapefruit. You can use the peel or the juice. Scatter peels around the toilet areas and make up a spray of juice and water and liberally spray it around.

Related reading:


Citronella oil comes from the leaves of the lemongrass plant. Make up a spray bottle of citronella and water and spray it around your backyard.


I love lavender. It grows very well here in the UK and seems very hardy. I am a terrible gardener, it would have died on me by now if it wasn’t easy to grow!

I’ve noticed front gardens in my neighborhood where a row of lavender has been used as a border. The smell is gorgeous as you walk past. I’m willing to bet that cats stay away!

You can also use lavender as an essential oil. Make up a spray bottle of lavender oil and water and spray it around your garden.

Further down this post, I take you through some plants that you can use in your yard to deter cats.


Cats hate pepper. Spread crushed pepper around your garden or add it to a spray bottle.


Eucalyptus is a natural repellent for cats. You can buy it as Eucalyptus oil. Again, make up a spray bottle and use it in your yard.

Silent Roar

Cats are repelled by anything they think is bigger than them, which includes lions. How they know the smell is from a larger animal they have never met is a mystery to me, but apparently, this works!

The pellets in Silent Roar are soaked with the essence of lion dung. It is environmentally friendly with no artificial chemicals.

Menthol / VaporRub

Menthol can be used to help you with the symptoms of a cold. If you have it to hand, it can have a second use as a cat repellent. However, some folks say that cats actually love it. So, this may or may not work for you and if it doesn’t, use it to ease a cold instead!


Cats hate the smell of cinnamon, but humans often love it, of course. Use it in small doses because it can be toxic to cats. The best option is to use it in the homemade cat repellent spray I share further down this post.


You can grow peppermint in your garden, of course, or use it as an essential oil.

Some cats don’t like the smell of peppermint. It is actually toxic to them because it contains salicylate, a chemical also found in aspirin, so no wonder they don’t like it.

Peppermint will be very toxic to cats when used as an essential oil, so make sure you dilute it very well in a spray bottle before using it.

Home remedies to stop cats pooping in the garden

cat smelling a flower

If you prefer to keep cats repelled naturally from your garden, then go for a home remedy.

It’s easy to make your own repellent spray as per the recipe below.

If you love gardening, incorporate some plants into your garden design that cats don’t like.

Plus, some naturally unfriendly terrain will help, such as prickly surfaces and sharp gravel will help keep felines away.

Homemade cat repellent spray recipe

You can buy commercial cat repellent sprays online, of course. But, why not make your own?

You'll be happy to know that there's a simple and effective way to make a cat repellent using common household items.

Not only does it smell great, but it also keeps even the most persistent cats away from your garden.

And the best part? It won't harm your plants.



To make the spray, start by bringing water to a boil. Add rosemary, cinnamon, and lavender, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Once done, turn off the heat, cover the solution and let it sit overnight.

The next day, strain the solution through cheesecloth to remove any large bits of debris. Add orange essential oil and vinegar, then fill the spray bottle.

Recipe from tipsbulletin.com.

Plants that repel cats

Choose plants with thorns and prickly bits to help deter cats. You can even use them as a fence to ward off cats.

Here are some plants to add to your garden that can repel your unwanted feline visitors.

  • Coleus Canina. This plant is marketed as ‘Pee-off’ or as the ‘Scaredy Cat Plant‘. It has a very strong smell that cats, dogs and foxes hate. It’s an attractive plant with beautiful blue flowers that would look beautiful in any flowerbed.
  • Catmint. Easy to grow and low maintenance. Best in borders.
  • Lavender. Gorgeous smelling plant. Hardy. Great for garden borders. There are lots of different species of lavender to choose from.
  • Rosemary. Lovely smell and great for use in your cooking.
  • Peppermint. Grows in a clump with dense blue flowers.
  • Pennyroyal. An upright herbaceous perennial with a sharp aroma. Great for repelling insects.
  • Marigold. Beautiful yellow aromatic double flowers.
  • Geranium. Herbaceous perennial. Grows in clumps.

Frequently asked questions

Will Jeyes Fluid deter cats?

The smell of Jeyes Fluid will deter cats from your garden, but it is also very toxic to cats. If it is absorbed into their bodies through their paws, it can cause illness or even death. I attribute the death of my tomcat to Jeyes Fluid from a neighbor’s garden. He developed kidney failure and had to be put down, sadly.

If you are going to use Jeyes Fluid in your garden, do make sure you dilute it properly so as not to cause harm to pets and wildlife.

Does pepper stop cats pooping in your garden?

Yes, pepper should deter cats from pooping in your garden because they hate the smell of pepper. Sprinkle pepper about your garden or add it to a water spray.

Does vinegar stop cats from pooping?

Cats don’t like the smell of vinegar. However, if you use it in your garden, it has the potential to kill off plants due to its acidity. The smell will dissipate quickly, and you will have to respray frequently, so it might not be a very practical solution.

What is the most effective cat repellent?

If you prefer to buy a commercial cat repellent spray rather than make your own, there are plenty to choose from online.

Here are the best of the bunch:

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Penny | SparklingPenny

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