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9 Best Cat Repellents, Sprays & Deterrents in 2021 — Reviews & Top Picks

Cat Repellent_shutterstock_Pashin GeorgiyYou love your cat, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get on your nerves sometimes. Cats are notorious for getting into or damaging all sorts of things that they shouldn’t, so it’s understandable if you’re looking for a way to keep your pet from chewing up your vegetable garden or clawing up your couch.

A repellent spray is one of the easiest and most effective ways to discourage undesirable feline behavior. These sprays can be applied directly to the area you want to protect, and they use strong odors or flavors to discourage your cat from interacting with whatever you want them to leave alone.

In the reviews below, we take a closer look at our favorite repellents on the market today. Each option below is safe and effective, so you won’t harm your cat while preventing them from harming your stuff.

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A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2021

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Four Paws Healthy Promise Four Paws Healthy Promise
  • Feature iconAlso works on dogs
  • Feature iconSafe for use on most surfaces
  • Feature iconNo harsh chemicals
  • Best Value
    Second place
    PetAg Boundary Indoor/Outdoor PetAg Boundary Indoor/Outdoor
  • Feature iconGood value for the price
  • Feature iconEffects last for 24 hours
  • Feature iconComes in large, 22-oz. bottle
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    PetSafe SSSCAT Spray PetSafe SSSCAT Spray
  • Feature iconSpray is odorless
  • Feature iconProtects at distances up to 3 feet
  • Feature iconCan protect multiple areas at once
  • Colton's Naturals Cat Repellent Outdoor Colton's Naturals Cat Repellent Outdoor
  • Feature iconLong-lasting effects
  • Feature iconGood for controlling feral cats
  • Feature iconExtremely effective
  • Safer Brand 5935 Critter Ridder Safer Brand 5935 Critter Ridder
  • Feature iconCompletely odorless
  • Feature iconstops destructive chewing
  • Feature iconWorks to some degree against a variety of pests
  • The 9 Best Cat Repellent Sprays

    1. Four Paws Healthy Promise Cat Repellent Spray — Best Overall

    Four Paws Healthy Promise Repellent

    Four Paws Healthy Promise utilizes the power of bitter limes to keep your cat at bay. The natural taste and odor are enough to deter most cats, and it even works on dogs, so you can protect your home from your entire menagerie.

    The spray uses natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals, so it’s completely safe for cats to consume (but hopefully, they’ll decide not to). It’s also safe for use on most surfaces, including wood and fabric.

    It’s even safe enough to spray on your cat, if you’re trying to get them to stop licking a sore spot, for example.

    Beware, though, this stuff is strong. Be careful about spraying it in an enclosed room, as it can quickly become overpowering. However, if nothing else has worked, it may be your best bet.

    Four Paws Healthy Promise is a seriously powerful repellent, and it’s a clear choice for the top spot of best cat repellent spray.

    Pros
    • Uses natural power of bitter limes
    • Also works on dogs
    • Safe for use on most surfaces
    • Can be sprayed directly on cats
    • No harsh chemicals
    Cons
    • Can be overpowering
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    2. PetAg Boundary Indoor/Outdoor Cat Repellent Spray — Best Value

    PetAg Boundary

    If you have multiple surfaces that you want to keep your cat away from, PetAg Boundary can be used both indoors or outside. It’s great for keeping cats out of gardens and garbage cans, as well as off of furniture.

    Despite its versatility, the spray is surprisingly inexpensive. It comes in a large, 22-oz. bottle that’s nevertheless cheaper than many other, smaller sprays. That’s why it’s our pick for best cat repellent spray for the money, and the best cat repellent spray for furniture.

    The effects of the spray last for 24 hours, so while it won’t provide permanent deterrence, it should be more than enough to curb temporary misbehavior. If you’re diligent about reapplication, you can quickly teach your cat which areas are off-limits.

    You may not want to apply it indoors, though, because it has a noxious odor. It smells like burnt plastic, which isn’t likely something that you want filling your home.

    If you want an affordable, effective solution, PetAg Boundary is one of the most cost-effective options on the market.

    Pros
    • Good value for the price
    • Can be used indoors or outdoors
    • Effects last for 24 hours
    • Comes in large, 22-oz. bottle
    Cons
    • Not a permanent deterrent
    • Has a noxious odor
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    3. PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Repellent — Premium Choice

    PetSafe SSSCAT

    The hard part about using a deterrent is catching your cat in the act. PetSafe SSSCAT solves that problem by acting as a remote guard dog on your behalf.

    It has to be paired with the SSSCAT Spray System, which is a motion-activated device that sprays an odorless stream at your cat when they venture into areas that they should avoid. That makes it extremely effective and completely harmless.

    Of course, if you don’t have that system, then all you have is a spray can (which can still be effective). Each can only contains enough for about 80-100 sprays, which isn’t much, given the price.

    It works at distances up to 3 feet, so you can protect multiple areas with one device. It will also work on just about any animal, not just cats.

    If you are truly serious about keeping your cat away from certain areas (and are willing to spend money to do so), then PetSafe SSSCAT and the SSSCAT Spray System represent an extremely effective, high-tech solution.

    To conclude, this is our premium pick for best cat deterrent spray this year.

    Pros
    • Works with a motion-activated system
    • Spray is odorless
    • Protects at distances up to 3 feet
    • Can protect multiple areas at once
    Cons
    • Can needs separately sold system to be effective
    • Not much spray for the price
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    4. Colton’s Naturals Outdoor Cat Repellent Spray

    Colton's Naturals Cat Repellent Outdoor

    Colton’s Naturals is designed solely for outdoor use, as its peppermint and citronella oil odor is extremely strong. That limits its versatility, but if you just want to control the neighborhood cats, it’s a fantastic choice.

    The spray is long-lasting, as each application will linger for 2-4 weeks. You may have to reapply it after a rain, but it should give you plenty of protection in the meantime. Of course, that also means that you’ll have to deal with the odor during that period as well.

    The ingredients are completely organic, and they’re safe for animals and kids, allowing you to spray it liberally around your home.

    This stuff is expensive, so it’s a good thing that it’s effective. That said, the bottle is prone to leaking.

    If you have a feral cat problem on your hands, Colton’s Naturals is an excellent way to get things under control, even though it’s a bit overpriced.

    Pros
    • Good for controlling feral cats
    • Long-lasting effects
    • Ingredients are safe and organic
    • Extremely effective
    Cons
    • Can’t be used indoors
    • On the pricey side
    • Bottle is prone to leaking
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    5. Safer Brand 5935 Critter Ridder Animal Repellent

    Safer Brand 5935

    Safer Brand Critter Ridder definitely has the best name on this list, but the actual formula isn’t quite up to the same standard as our top picks.

    It claims to repel a variety of pests, including squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, and raccoons in addition to cats. This stuff does work, just not against every animal and not all the time. It only seems to last for 48 hours or so (less if it rains), and cats can quickly become accustomed to it if you don’t reapply it liberally.

    It isn’t overpowering to human noses; in fact, it’s doubtful you’ll even be able to smell it. It seems to rely on taste more than odor, as the formula includes ingredients like black pepper and capsaicin.

    As a result, Safer Brand Critter Ridder is best suited for anything that cats munch on rather than things that they scratch up or roll in. That makes it a great choice for veggie gardens, but it won’t do much for a couch that they sharpen their claws on.

    Pros
    • Great at stopping destructive chewing
    • Completely odorless to humans
    • Works to some degree against a variety of pests
    Cons
    • Washes off in the rain
    • Only lasts 48 hours or so
    • Cats can grow accustomed to it
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    6. Harbors Cat Repellent

    Harbors Cat Repellent

    Most cats dislike the smell of citrus, which is why Harbors Cat Repellent uses it as its primary deterrent. Even better, many people do like the smell, so it seems like a win/win.

    However, the fact is that cats generally have a mild aversion to the smell more than anything (and some cats actually like it). They can definitely overcome it if they’re motivated enough, so this stuff likely isn’t strong enough to repel a determined cat.

    It’s also fairly complicated to use. You have to apply it at least three times per day for the first week, which is needlessly difficult. The idea is to train the cat to leave the surface alone even when it doesn’t have the oil on it, however.

    The good news is that it’s safe for both you and your cat. It’s also made with cruelty-free methods and eco-friendly packaging.

    Harbors Cat Repellent is a great choice if you want to feel good about your purchase, but it’s simply not powerful enough to warrant a higher ranking here.

    Pros
    • Sweet citrus smell
    • Uses cruelty-free production methods
    • Eco-friendly packaging
    Cons
    • Not that powerful
    • Difficult to use
    • Requires frequent reapplication
    • Some cats enjoy the smell
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    7. Nature’s Mace CATGRN991003 Cat MACE

    Nature's Mace CATGRN991003

    Nature’s Mace certainly sounds intimidating, although you may be a bit leery about the idea of macing your cat. Fortunately — or not, depending on your point of view — it’s not nearly as powerful as actual mace.

    Each 40-oz. bottle has enough liquid to protect 1,000 sq. ft. of yard, so there’s plenty to go around. However, you’ll likely need to really soak any area that you want to keep your kitty away from, so you might not get that much distance out of it.

    It can be used indoors or out, although you won’t want to spray it on your grass, as it has a tendency to kill plants. This also limits its utility in gardens, so you’re better off going with something else if you’re trying to protect your tomatoes.

    The smell is also atrocious, so you may not want to spray it all over your house. You’d think that cinnamon would be a pleasant scent, but this is far too pungent. Your cat likely won’t mind it as much as you do, though. It also tends to leave a residue.

    The name might seem foreboding, but Nature’s Mace isn’t powerful enough to discourage your cat for long. However, it may keep you out of the area that you spray, so that’s something.

    Pros
    • Tons of spray inside the bottle
    • Can be used indoors or out
    Cons
    • Takes a large amount to be effective
    • Smell is overpowering
    • Can kill plants
    • Leaves a residue
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    8. Lambert Kay 61117 Boundary Cat Repellent

    Lambert Kay 61117

    You won’t have a hard time figuring out where you’ve applied Lambert Kay Boundary, as the smell will hit you right in the face once you get close. It’s not a pleasant smell either, so you may not want to use it indoors.

    Each application lasts for about a day, so you’ll have to smell it for quite some time. Also, it completely loses its efficacy after that, so you’ll have to choose between saving your nose or your furniture at that point.

    If you’re consistent with the application, you may be able to eventually train your cat to leave the desired area alone. If you miss a day, though, all your progress will be lost, so it takes dedication on your part.

    You’ll go through a great deal of this stuff if you plan on training your cat properly, but fortunately, it’s fairly cheap.

    Lambert Kay Boundary can prove effective if used properly, but it will take work — and a high tolerance for odor — from you.

    Pros
    • Can be used to train cats
    • Fairly inexpensive
    Cons
    • Extremely pungent odor
    • Loses effectiveness after a day
    • Need to use a large amount to see results
    • Not ideal for indoor use
    • Requires disciplined application
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    9. Cat Guard Pro Pet Cat Repellent Spray

    Cat Guard Pro Pet Cat Repellent

    Cat Guard Pro is available in four different scents, so you should be able to find one that you can tolerate. Most of the odors are fairly faint, though, so neither you nor your cat is likely to notice them much.

    It’s only designed to stop unwanted scratching, and even then, the manufacturer recommends trimming their claws and providing a scratching post rather than relying on the spray alone. It’s simply not that powerful.

    It’s expensive given how much you get, as it only comes in a tiny 4-oz. bottle. If you’re looking to keep your cat away from a large area, this stuff won’t get it done.

    You’re also not going to get much use of it outside. The odor is simply too faint to be effective in an outdoor setting.

    Cat Guard Pro isn’t going to bother you or your family too much, but unfortunately, it won’t deter your cat all that much either.

    Pros
    • Available in four different scents
    Cons
    • Odors are too faint to be effective
    • Not suitable for outdoor use
    • Fairly pricey
    • Bottle is tiny
    • Only designed to stop unwanted scratching
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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Repellent

    Most cat owners have no experience with buying a repellent, so it’s only natural if you have a ton of different questions. In the guide below, we’ll walk you through common queries so you have a better idea of what to look for in a cat repellent.

    How Do Cat Repellents Work?

    There are a variety of options that all work in different ways.

    The most common ones use undesirable odors to keep your cat away. Cats have much stronger senses of smell than we do, so a rank odor can be unbearable to them. The downside to this is that many of these repellents will also repel you, so you may not want to spray them inside.

    Others use foul tastes to deter cats. These are used when biting, rather than scratching, is the behavior that you want to discourage. This limits their overall utility, and you run the risk of your cat actually developing a taste for the deterrent.

    Others use blasts of compressed air or jets of water to make cats scram. These can be effective, but they’re also expensive and prone to malfunctioning. Plus, if your cat learns that the machine isn’t really a threat, they may just ignore it.

    Ultimately, the best cat deterrent for you will depend on what behavior you’re trying to discourage and what your cat is most likely to be repelled by.

    Are Cat Repellents Safe for My Cat?

    Most are, yes. They use humane methods to change your cat’s behavior over time.

    The vast majority use natural ingredients that cats simply don’t like, such as citrus or cinnamon. These aren’t toxic to cats, but they’ll go out of their way to avoid them all the same.

    Exposure to foul tastes or odors won’t harm your cat, although you’d never know it from the faces they’ll make. Still, you should be careful about applying any of these products directly to your pet unless the directions say that it’s okay.

    Some repellents, such as the ones that blast your cat with compressed air, can cause anxiety in some kitties. This can lead to further misbehavior, such as aggression, as your cat begins to be skittish all the time.

    This type of reaction is quite rare, however, and most cats will simply learn to leave the protected area alone.

    Are These Products Safe to Use Around My Family?

    If they’re safe for your cat, they’ll most likely be safe for your other family members as well. That doesn’t mean that your family will necessarily enjoy them, though.

    Many of the scent-based options are extremely strong; they have to be in order to keep your cat away. However, that means that you’ll have to put up with a foul odor as well, so these may not be ideal for indoor use.

    If you do use something inside the house, it will have to be something that everyone in your family (except the cat, of course) can tolerate. Otherwise, you’ll make yourself miserable in the process.

    Repellent_shutterstock_ThamKC
    Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

    Do I Have to Keep Using These Products to See Results?

    Each product has a different lifespan. Some last for a few hours, while others can repel cats for weeks.

    Ultimately, the goal is to wean yourself off of a repellent altogether. The idea is to continually discourage your cat from going to a certain area or interacting with a certain object until they just stop trying.

    Once you get to the point where your cat avoids the area on their own, you can stop using a deterrent. Until then, though, it’s essential to use them religiously, or else you run the risk of undoing all your progress.

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    Conclusion

    Four Paws Healthy Promise is one of the most versatile options we’ve found, which is why it earned our top marks here. Not only will it protect every surface in your house, but you can also use it on your cat as well, making it a good choice for stopping unwanted licking or biting.

    PetAg Boundary is a good option for use both indoors and out, and it has the bonus of being extremely affordable. If you’re trying to keep every cat in the neighborhood at bay, it deserves a close look.

    Keeping your cat away from certain places is difficult to do, but with the help of the deterrents on our list, you should finally be able to earn some peace of mind. We hope that our cat repellent reviews have made it easier for you to pick a product that will work for you.

    Related Read: How to Keep Cats Away from Certain Areas (18 Proven Methods)

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    Featured Image Credit: Pashin Georgiy, Shutterstock