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Does Black Pepper Keep Cats Away? Facts & FAQ

While cats are adorable animals, if you’re not a cat lover, you don’t want the smell of urine and feces from the neighborhood cats in your well-kept yard. There are many choices when it comes to keeping cats out of your yard; black pepper is said to be one of them.

Yes, black pepper can be used as a repellent, but is it a safe choice? Will it harm the cats? We’ll answer these questions and more in the article below.

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How Effective Is Black Pepper at Keeping Cats Away?

There are many scents that cats shy away from, and black pepper is one they dislike. Like humans, smelling the black pepper makes the cat sneeze and irritates its eyes and nasal passages. Since it’s unpleasant and irritating to the cat, a whiff of black pepper sprayed into your yard will repel the cats and send them to someone else’s yard instead.

Is It a Safe Choice?

While black pepper isn’t harmful to cats, finding an alternative to keep them away from your yard is better. The strong smell of the pepper burns their nose and eyes, and although it may not do permanent harm, it’s not a humane detterent.

Since it’s not recommended to use black pepper to keep cats out of your yard, we’ll give you a few safe alternatives.

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Credit: Ciprian Gherghias, Shutterstock

Alternatives to Black Pepper

There are many natural home remedies that you can use instead of black pepper to keep cats away from your yard.


Rosemary isn’t toxic to cats, and they hate the pungent smell of the herb. They also hate the texture of the leaves. It’s a natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free way to keep cats out of your yard. It’s also very mild, easy to grow, and can be used for cooking.


As you might already know, lavender has many different uses. From essential oils to bath bombs and calming sprays, lavender is used in several ways. It’s also effective for keeping cats out of your yard since they don’t like the smell. It isn’t toxic to cats and is cruelty-free as well.

Here are a few other natural remedies you can use other than black pepper.

  • Cinnamon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemons
  • Citrus fruits

Some herbs are toxic to cats, and you shouldn’t use them to run cats out of your yard

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Image Credit: Katarzyna Kosianok, Pixabay

Herbs That Are Unsafe for Cats

Although these herbs range in toxicity, we suggest avoiding them when developing deterrents for cats.

  • Epazote
  • Cocoa
  • Chamomile
  • Bay leaf
  • Chives
  • Mint

3 cat face divider Final Thoughts

Yes, black pepper keeps cats away. However, it also burns their eyes and irritates their noses, and it’s best to go with another alternative if you can. We’ve given you plenty of options that are cruelty-free, non-toxic, and work well to keep the felines out of your yard without hurting them.

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