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How to Keep Cats Off Your Car – 20 Simple Methods

Though we all love our furry friends, there is one place we do not want them to hang out: on our cars. Cats can do a lot of damage to the hood and roof of a car. Not only that but if you have a soft top, they can rip it to shreds. When a car is out in the sun, however, it makes a nice warm place for your pet to relax.

What’s worse, when the weather is too hot or cold, they can take shelter under the car. Either way, whether it is your cat or a stray, keeping the felines away from your automobile is essential. It is usually easier said than done, unfortunately.

To help keep felines away from your vehicle, we have developed 20 simple ways to make them steer clear, and you can accomplish these tasks with little effort and money.

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The 20 Ways to Keep Cats Away from Your Car

Here are a few simple ways to keep felines away from your car. Some of them are easier than others, but they all have the potential to keep the furballs away.

1. Talk to the Owner

cat owner
Image credit: zavalnia, Pixabay

Though this may seem like a simple thing to do, we understand that it is not always easy depending on your neighbors. One foolproof way to keep a cat away from your car is by talking to the pet’s owner and asking them to help keep their cat away from your vehicle.

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2. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is another good way to keep little paws away from your vehicle. You do not need to put it directly on your car, but you should sprinkle it around the perimeter. This hot spice is not a feline’s favorite, but it can take a few applications before it fully works. Plus, once you see the absence of the feline in question, keep adding some so they stay away.

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3. Car Covers

car cover

This is another simple solution if you already have a car cover. If you do not, you can also use a tarp or drop cloth. This won’t necessarily keep them off but will provide a barrier between them and your paint job. However, if it is an unneutered cat, they can mark the material causing a smell that can eventually creep into your vehicle.

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4. Sound the Horn

Sound the horn
Image credit: Car horn by VIVIANE6276, Pixabay

This option is startling, but it’s an excellent way to get rid of unwanted guests. You can also set your alarm off when the cat comes near. The trick with this solution is to do it several times before the cat will no longer come close. It can require some lengthy cat stakeouts.

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5. Mothballs


The smell of mothballs is typically not a favorite of the feline population. Place a few mothballs in a sandwich bag and poke some small holes to allow the scent to escape. Then place them around your car and in the spots that the cat likes to relax, like on the hood, around the perimeter, and on the roof. The only drawback to this solution is that the mothball smell is likely to work its way into your car’s interior.

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6. Buy a Repellent Spray

keep off pet spray

A repellent spray is a good option if you can find the right one. Not all brands will be effective on all cats. It can depend on which scents your cat enjoys and which they do not. You may have to try several brands before you nail the right one. Once you do, however, you can spray it around the edges of your car and on the bumper and other non-corrosive areas. Before spraying on the paint job, spot-check to make sure it will not leave a mark or discolor your ride.

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7. Make Your Own Repellent Spray

An alternative to buying a repellent is making one. For a homemade repellent, you need essential oils, and you will be faced with the same problem of figuring out which scent is going to work. If you already have some of these oils in the house, this can be a quick fix. Unfortunately, essential oils can be expensive. Also, make sure you are diluting them in water and check to make sure the ones you are using are not poisonous to cats. Scents such as peppermint will keep them away, but it is also harmful to them if ingested in high quantities.

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8. Spray Bottle

Spray bottle
Image credit: Spray bottle on car by Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

The number one thing most cats hate is water. A handy spray bottle can do wonders for keeping a cat away. If it is not your pet, we recommend speaking with the owner before using a water sprayer on another feline.

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9. Switch Up Your Routine

Another alternative is to change where you park, if possible. Moving to a shady spot or noisy area can save you a lot of work in the long run. Also, if you can park in your garage, the cats cannot disturb it. In general, cats like to lay in warm, quiet locations. If you eliminate the warmth and quiet, they will not be as likely to skulk about.

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10. Cut Their Nails

cat getting nails trimmed
Image Credit: Vydrin, Shutterstock

Another great solution for eliminating claw marks is to cut your feline’s nails. Though we don’t recommend declawing your cat, trimming them back can improve the situation. If the pet does not belong to you but you know the owner, you can ask them to cut their nails.

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11. Dry Herbs

Dry herbs
Image credit: Dry herbs on a table by kerdkanno, Pixabay

Dry herbs sprinkled around your car, on the hood, and roof can also make a difference. Try rosemary, rue, or lavender. You can also mix several herbs together to try your own concoction. Like the spray, this can take some trial and error before you get it right. Also, be aware that the wind can blow the herbs away, so you must reapply every so often.

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12. Sprinkle Powders

bondie cat repellent powder

Repellents not only come in spray form but also in powder form, as well. Typically, powders are more effective than sprays, but they are also more expensive. However, they can be blown away in the wind or rain.

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13. Electronic Machines

cat deterrent machine

High-frequency noise machines are another good solution to a feline hang-about. When installed near your car, the noise machine will let off a high-pitched noise that is undetectable to us. Cats, on the other hand, will not enjoy the noise and move away. The only drawbacks to this option are that it can cause dogs to bark and be costly to purchase.

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14. Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems
Image credit: Sprinkler on a lawn by AxxLC, Pixabay

Like a spray bottle, a sprinkler system is another way to keep your car safe. A motion-activated sprinkler will be the most effective, but you must remember to turn it off when it’s time to go to your car. Also, you should consider that motion-activated devices cannot discern humans from animals; anyone who walks by is likely to get a surprise.

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15. Get Rid of the Junk Food Wrappers

One reason you might have a cat lurking about is the smell of food from your car. If you are in the habit of tossing your cheeseburger wrapper in the backseat or leaving a few snacks in the car for the nightly commute home, they could attract wandering felines. Getting rid of the food or keeping it in a lunch box or another enclosed area will help keep them away.

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16. Orange Peels

orange peel
Image credit: ulleo, Pixabay

Another smell cats are not fond of is oranges. Leaving a few orange peels around your car can help rid the area of unwanted guests. However, be careful about leaving them on your hood or other areas with paint. The acid from the orange can also do damage to your paint job.

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17. Lights

motion activated lights

Motion-activated lights are another excellent solution. This is especially true if you already have them installed on the side of your house. Pointing them towards your car can startle the feline and keep them away from your vehicle. If you do not have motion-activated lights, ground-posted spotlights are inexpensive and easy to set up. Before purchasing one, test your opponent by using a flashlight. Not all cats will be scared by a light.

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18. Sounds

Image credit: PDPics, Pixabay

Another common enemy of a cat is a dog. We do not recommend sending your canine to take care of this problem, but a simple cell phone app can emulate the sound of a dog barking to scare away your joyrider.

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19. Training a New Area

Training is not the easiest thing to do with cats, but it can be done. Using positive reinforcement to reward your cat every time it is sunbathing in a designated special area and a spray bottle when it comes near your car, you can teach your cat that the car is not the place to be, and there is a better option.

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20. Static Mats

static mat for pets

This is probably the most-effective and long-term solution, but also the most controversial. A static mat is a small pad that will emit a low charge when it is stepped on. It is very similar to a shock collar for a dog. Though the charge will not harm your cat, it will scare them off, and they most likely will not come back. Remember, these mats are usually expensive, plus they will need to be placed in the right spot for the cat to step on.

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We hope you have enjoyed these simple ways to keep your car safe and undamaged. Before using the deterrents on stray cats, ensure they don’t belong to one of your neighbors. Though some of these solutions are easier to do than others, they all have a shot at keeping little paws and claws from damaging your paint job and lowering your car’s value.

See also:

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Featured Image: Ruwadium, Pixabay