As you probably know, cats follow a particular set of rules that often conflict with human interests. Instead of taking a nap on an outdoor chair or bench, some felines prefer to lay in your herb garden or vegetable garden.
Keeping your cat away from the garden and landscaped areas of your yard can be complicated when you’re dealing with a stubborn animal. Several repellents and deterrents are available online, but which ones are effective and safe for your pet?
We’ve compiled reviews of the ten best outdoor cat repellents to make the decision easier.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Yard Motion-Activated Sprinkler||
|Best Value||Home-Garden Cat Scat Mat||
|Premium Choice||Orbit Garden Motion Activated Sprinkler||
|Best for Kittens||Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent Spray||
|Defender Spikes Bird & Cat Repellent||
The 10 Best Outdoor Cat Repellents
1. Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler – Best Overall
Unlike sprays and granule-based repellents, the Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler does not coat your plants and landscaping with a sticky residue. Most cats dislike being sprayed with water, and this sprinkler system effectively chases felines away with a blast of water and a loud, repetitive clicking sound. The Yard Enforcer is our best overall outdoor cat repellent because of its efficiency, user-friendly design, and multiple features.
Although the sprinkler requires you to leave your water on while it’s in use, the nozzle only functions when it detects motion. The motion-activated sprinkler is powered by four AA batteries that provide over 7,500 activation cycles. Compared to its competitors, the Yard Enforcer offers more features and adjustments.
One of its best features is the day and night detection options. You can select night only, day only, or 24-hour mode. Some of the other features include smart sensing technology that learns to differentiate between plants and animals, 3,480 square feet of coverage, a range adjuster that detects felines up to 40 feet away, and two flow-through outlets. After you install the sprinkler, your cat will soon learn to stay away from your garden.
2. Home-Garden Cat Scat Mat Plastic Net G – Best Value
Another safe and easy way to keep your feline away from your plants is to install spiked plastic mats. The Home-Garden Cat Scat Mat Plastic Net won our best outdoor cat repellent for the money award. Not only is it inexpensive, but it’s also incredibly effective. The mat’s small spikes do not harm your feline, but they’re uncomfortable to walk over or climb.
You can easily cut the mat to any size with ordinary scissors, and you can fasten it around poles or tree trunks to prevent your cat from climbing. There are small loops on the sides of the mat that attach to the corresponding tabs on the other side when you wrap it around a pole. Unlike similar products, the mat can be used indoors or outdoors. In addition to protecting your garden areas, you can lay it over the roof of your car, underneath the vehicle to prevent an accident, and even on your favorite piece of furniture. It’s also safe to put in your potted plants to keep your animal away from herbs or flowers.
3. Orbit Garden Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler – Premium Choice
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line device to keep the kitties away, you can try the Orbit 62120 Garden Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler. This Orbit model topped the list of our best premium outdoor cat deterrents. Rather than the spike design of our previous sprinkler review, the Orbit uses a sturdy metal tripod to stabilize the sprinkler. The sprinkler has a 120° viewing angle that can detect cats and other critters from 40 feet away.
It has three settings that offer all-day detection, daytime only monitoring, and nighttime only monitoring. Unlike other sprinklers, you can change the height up to 54 inches and vary the detection angle by adjusting the sensor’s swivel head. This comes in handy when your plants are still growing, and you need to change the coverage area periodically. If your grass is dry and you can’t wait for your cat to set off the sensor, you can set a 30-minute watering timer to feed your lawn.
4. Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent Spray – Best for Kittens
|Size:||16 fluid ounces|
Although you can find countless spray deterrents and powders available online and in pet stores, very few products mention they’re safe for kittens. The Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent Spray won our best outdoor cat repellent for kittens prize. Its manageable 16-ounce spray bottle holds the ideal volume of liquid to protect areas from a small cat or kitten. Using the repellent is straightforward and only requires spraying the target area and waiting for it to dry.
You can spray it outside to protect your gardens or lawn furniture and use it indoors on couches, tables, and carpeting. However, the bottle includes a warning that the spray can stain some fabric types, and the manufacturer suggests testing a small section before dousing the entire surface. Also, it’s probably best not to spray valuable items even if the material isn’t listed on the manufacturer’s warning label. The spray is potent for 24 hours, but you have to reapply it sooner it rains.
5. Defender Spikes Bird and Cat Repellent for Small Animals
The Defender Spikes Upgraded Bird and Cat Repellent for Pigeon, Cat, and Small Animals are made to keep cats out of gardens, window ledges, and other sensitive areas, and they also claim to deter pigeons, dogs, and even burglars. If you’re worried the spikes look a bit too medieval, don’t worry. The spikes are flexible, and they won’t harm your cat or any other animal. The Defender mat is composed of high-grade recycled plastic that can withstand high temperatures when it’s directly in the path of the sun.
Depending on the surface, you can install the spike strips in two ways. You can use wood screws to fasten the strips to unfinished wood or double-sided Velcro tape to bind the strips without damaging the surface. If you need a long area like the top board of a fence covered, you can fasten the strips together with zip ties.
The spikes can prevent cats from napping in the windowsill or lying in your garden, but some felines can climb over the strips without too much discomfort. They’re better for preventing nesting and napping than climbing; you can find online videos of cats casually walking over the horizontal strips. However, cats cannot scale a wall if the spikes are attached vertically.
6. Winwish Ultrasonic Animal Repellent
The Winwish Ultrasonic Animal Repellent uses a combination of flashing lights, noise, and ultrasonic waves to keep cats and other animals away. Compared to its competitors, the Winwish does not solely rely on solar power for charging. If the battery is drained and you have a long period of cloudy weather, you can use the USB charging cable to charge the device.
When a cat approaches the owl-shaped machine, it blasts the animal with high-pitched sounds, strobing lights, and an audible noise that scares them away. Some devices only use a pair of low-intensity lamps, but this model has eight bright white flashers and six red flashers.
The infrared sensor can detect cats up to 30 feet away and has a 110 ° sensor angle. The Winwish is fully waterproof and functions in harsh weather conditions. Since the device is solar-powered, you can mount it in any location without worrying about finding an outlet or extension cord. It’s backed by a one-year replacement warranty and a six-month money-back guarantee.
7. Nature’s Mace Cat Repellent 40oz Spray
|Size:||40 ounces, 1 gallon|
With Nature’s Mace Cat Repellent, you can treat up to 1,000 square feet in your yard. It effectively repels felines on shrubs, flower beds, gardens, trees, lawns, and trash cans. The spray contains a blend of natural odors and scents that cats find distasteful, and it’s safe to use around children, vegetables, and other pets.
Unlike similar spray products, Nature’s Mace works all year long and does not wash away from watering or rain. Although it’s made from 100% organic ingredients, the scent of the spray is quite powerful. However, after it dries, you don’t notice the foul smell anymore. In addition to the 40-ounce bottle, the repellent is also available in a 40-ounce concentrate, one-gallon sprayer, and one-gallon concentrate.
8. EPIC Scram for Cats Organic Natural Granular Animal Repellent
If you’re turned off by the strong scent from the sprays, you can try the EPIC Scram for Cats Outdoor All-Natural Granular Animal repellent. It has a strong citrus smell that isn’t unpleasant or as noticeable as the potent spray liquids. When you spread the granules around your yard, the scent warns cats that the area is dangerous, and they move away. The product is effective for 30 to 45 days, but it must be reapplied if it rains.
The six-pound bucket of granules can treat up to 1,200 square feet, and you can use gloves or a large scoop to distribute the repellent. Although it’s a nice alternative to the powerful sprays, the granular repellent cannot be used on fence posts, trash cans, or most furniture because the wind can blow it on the ground. It works best near wooded areas, gardens, and vineyards to repel cats. However, it’s not safe to use by children, and you should store it in a secure location away from the young ones.
9. Safer Brand 5926 Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules
The Safer Brand 5926 Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules keeps animals away by disrupting their sense of taste and smell. It works on multiple animals, including cats, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, dogs, skunks, and raccoons. The granules are a unique blend of piperine, capsaicin, and black pepper. You can use a lawn spreader or use the product’s shaker top with a pair of gloves to distribute the material, and it lasts up to 30 days.
The granules are effective against domestic and feral cats, but it’s not safe to use around children and should be locked up tight in a cabinet or closet. With its handy shaker lid, it’s much easier to apply than other brands, but it seems to have a shorter lifespan than other granules.
10. Thanos Solar Animal Repellent
With the Thanos Solar Animal Repellent, you can send the cat running with a blast of ultrasonic sound and flashing lights. Compared to some of the other ultrasonic models that resemble animals, the Thanos repellent is less child-like and looks more like a security device than a garden ornament. It’s designed to repel cats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, birds, and mice.
In addition to a detachable plastic spike for ground placement, the device also has two hanging tabs in the rear for fence or post installations. It can monitor 1,600 square feet of area and has a 120° detection angle that can detect animals 40 feet away. The device is waterproof and will continue to function even in extreme weather. The strobing white and red lights are considerably bright and effective, but if you’re near the device, the audile noise it makes is irritating.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Outdoor Cat Repellent
We’ve discussed the best cat repellents available this year, but you may still have questions about which products would work best on your property. Before choosing a repellant, consider the reasons you need one on your property. Are cats disturbing your gardens, or do you have issues with crying felines on your windowsill? The reason for the deterrent can help you determine which product will be most effective.
Types of Outdoor Cat Deterrents
Of all the repellent types reviewed, the sprinkler was our favorite tool. The premium sprinklers are expensive, but your only cost after the initial purchase is the small amount of water released when it’s triggered. A blast of cold water can convince any cat to run in the opposite direction unless you’re visited by rare, water-loving feral cats.
Compared to other repellents, sprinklers do not produce foul odors or a sticky residue. They’re easy to assemble, and you can adjust the spray pattern and detection angle without studying an instruction manual. As long as there is a water source nearby, the sprinkler is the ultimate cat repellent device.
We reviewed two different mat types, but both products are more effective in preventing nesting behaviors than keeping a cat from climbing a ledge or windowsill. The harmless spikes are uncomfortable if the creature lays down, but some cats and other animals can walk over the mats without discomfort.
Sprays are effective deterrents and can be used on multiple surfaces, but you have to reapply the spray after it loses potency. Some sprays are smellier than others, but the products we reviewed claim to be safe for plants, animals, and children.
Granules work best in gardens and landscaped areas, and their odor is not as offensive as the sprays. Since they can easily be blown away by the wind, they’re not practical for furniture or vertical surfaces. The most significant disadvantage of the granules is the danger they pose to young children. Granule-based repellents were the only products we reviewed that had ominous warnings about exposing the substance to kids.
You can find several ultrasonic repellants available online that range in price from $30 to $200, but we’re not convinced that the high-end models are more effective than the cheaper ones. Most ultrasonic units include a noise and light deterrent to chase off cats, but it’s unclear whether the audible noise, ultrasonic noise, or strobing lights irritate felines the most. If it keeps cats away, the reason may be unimportant, but until high-pitched sounds are proven to repel cats in a non-laboratory environment, we suggest buying one of the less expensive products we reviewed rather than an expensive one.
Another Option to Consider
In addition to the countless products available to deter felines, you can also erect physical barriers around your property to keep the cats away. Fencing doesn’t work for every situation, but it’s effective in areas like vegetable gardens if the walls are high enough to keep cats out.
You’ve probably seen recipes for natural repellents online, but it’s best to avoid them unless you’ve consulted a veterinarian. Cayenne pepper concoctions and other potent natural repellents may repel cats, but until they’re scientifically proven to be harmless, it’s safer to use the repellents we discussed.
After examining our reviews, we hope you have an idea about which repellent will work on your property. Our top pick was the Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated sprinkler. It impressed us with its customizable features and simple design, and it seemed more effective than other products. The Home-Garden Cat Scat Mat Plastic Net won the best value award, and we liked how easy it is to cut and position in smaller areas like potted plants. Cats are inventive and persistent when they’re navigating your yard, but their journeys are limited when you use one of our recommended repellents.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
- The 10 Best Outdoor Cat Repellents
- 1. Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler – Best Overall
- 2. Home-Garden Cat Scat Mat Plastic Net G – Best Value
- 3. Orbit Garden Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler – Premium Choice
- 4. Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent Spray – Best for Kittens
- 5. Defender Spikes Bird and Cat Repellent for Small Animals
- 6. Winwish Ultrasonic Animal Repellent
- 7. Nature’s Mace Cat Repellent 40oz Spray
- 8. EPIC Scram for Cats Organic Natural Granular Animal Repellent
- 9. Safer Brand 5926 Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules
- 10. Thanos Solar Animal Repellent
- Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Outdoor Cat Repellent