15 Expert Tips on How to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard

Many gardeners turn to be afraid when cats begin to show up and damage their garden. They want to get rid of them in the most friendly and natural ways.

We asked experts about keeping cats out of the yard. Some exciting ideas include:

  1. Planting cat deterrent plants
  2. Removing bird-encouraging plants
  3. Scattering eggshells or coffee grounds

Abby Hau from WellPCB

Cats can be a nuisance in the garden, let alone that their dung may contain harmful pathogens, spreading to the foods planted. Here are a few natural ways to keep these feline friends off the yard.

Use twigs

Since cats love walking on soft ground but avoid the prickly areas, placing twigs over the soft soil will definitely keep cats away.


These work in the same manner as twigs. The cones should be buried in the ground, leaving a small part exposed.

Your cat might still try to walk around the yard, but she’ll eventually choose her soft footpads over walking around the yard.


Eggshells make the ground prickly. Break the shells into smaller bits and scatter them over the garden. The cat will avoid that area like the plague.


The smell of lavender isn’t welcome for cats. Planting lavender or rue and lemon thyme will keep cats at bay and give the yard a lovely scent.

Citrus fruit peeling

Cats are intolerant to citrus scents. The quick fix to keeping cats off the yard this way would be scattering some citrus peels over the garden.

Coffee grounds

The smell of brewed coffee grounds seems unfriendly to cats. In case you didn’t know how to dispose of the grounds, you could scatter them over the garden soil to discourage cats’ presence.

Jordan Collins from Two Lions 11

Rosemary essential oils

Cats are very sensitive to smells and can detect them from afar. Rosemary is used as a repellant for cats as they’re not fond of the scents emitted.

Use a few drops of the oil and mix it in with water. Spray around the yard or the garden to keep the little furry friends away.

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If you have motion-activated sprinklers, you can enjoy peace of mind that once a cat makes its way to the garden, it’ll be surprised and scared by the sprinklers, and chances are, and it’ll run away.

Coleus Canina plant

This plant emits a specific smell that resembles that of a skunk. The scent will undoubtedly make the cats go away, which is why the plant is also called the Scaredy Cat Coleus.

Heather Hill from Cat Care Reviews

First, you should remove plants that cats find particularly appealing from your yard entirely.

Second, while the smell is essential to a cat when it comes to choosing a place to take care of business, it can see somewhere safe to escape if the need arises.

This is why it`s a good idea to add more security or privacy to your property by installing fencing.

Jane Clarke from Fantastic Gardeners Melbourne

Plant scents cats hate

As you know, cats have a powerful sense of smell. So, all you need to do is find the things they hate and surround your garden with them.

The odours cats hate include those of lavender, rue, lemon thyme, pennyroyal, mint, and other strong-scented plants.

Citruses are also quite repelling for them, and you can dilute some orange essential oil in water and spray it around the garden; it should keep stray cats away. Some cat owners also use an all-purpose citrus cleaner to keep the cat away from the kitchen counter.

If you’re willing to try chemical solutions as well, home improvement stores sell powdered or granulated deterrents, which smell like the predators cats hate – bobcats, foxes, coyotes, etc.

Make sure there is no food for them in your garden

Avoid feeding your pets outside in the garden, as this attracts all kinds of feral animals, not only cats.

Also, keep in mind that cats love to snack on mice, groundhogs, and various insects. So, if you have these pests in your garden, this is probably why cats also visit you often.

If you get rid of them, cats will move on to other grounds.

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Put up sound and water barriers

Cats dislike water, so they are unlikely to visit a yard where the sprinklers are always going off. If they come while you’re working in the garden, you can get a squirt gun and spray them when you see them, and this will teach them to stay away.

Sound barriers are also sold in home improvement stores. They produce a high pitch sound that keeps away basically everything – insects, cats, dogs, you name it.

However, some people can also hear them, so they are not suitable for everybody.

Make sure your yard is not dig-friendly

Cats love to chill and relieve themselves on soft soil, and this is why they dig up your precious plants.

To discourage them from doing it, I would recommend covering your garden soil accordingly. You can use landscaping fabric, gravel, small stones and rocks, mulch, and other similar materials.

Jay E. Moyes from High Octane Heart Media and PR

Having a dog

It doesn’t end the situation, but cats gravitated to my yard to get away from the neighbour’s dogs, and they still do. Even house cats that live with dogs like to come to our yard to get away for a good nap.

Remove all bird feeders and bird-encouraging plants

Sorry bird lovers, if you attract birds, you’re going to attract cats. Almost any time, any place I’ve put up bird bells, cats are there.

Avoid planting things cats love. Our current house cat was a kitten when first attracted to my catnip plants in the front and back yard. Think less Japanese sand sculptures and more rock gardens, cactus, and aloe.

Have a cat

As odd as that sounds, having a designated indoor-outdoor cat who’s been fixed does help. I only let ours out on layoffs, but she seriously patrols the garden and kept out tomcats. Cats can be very territorial.

Nicholas Martin from Pest Control Hacks

Nuisance wildlife and insect control are my specialities, and I had dozens of cases with stray cats invading the client’s yards.

These are some of the most efficient natural methods that will keep cats out of the garden:

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  • Plant Coleus Canina around the yard – plant it every 1-2 yards around the perimeter to create a powerful scent barrier. It’s scary for cats but indistinguishable for us;
  • Put a few drops or EPA-permitted oils around the area. They include lavender, lemongrass, citronella, citrus, eucalyptus, and geranium;
  • Critter ridder – this natural repellent includes oil of black pepper, capsaicin, and piperine, which are secure irritants.


  • Place a litterbox outside – you can easily ward off cats from pooping in your yard by placing a large plastic litterbox with some fine sandbox sand somewhere around your yard or in a safe place outside. Put some kitty waste inside as a message for other cats, and they will enjoy the white sand toilet.
  • Hang old CDs on trees – their glow will scare off birds from your yard, and cats will hunt for them somewhere else.
  • Lay down lattice fencing – plant flowers and other plants in the openings of the fencing. Cats will eventually stop digging these areas when they see that fencing spoils their “experience.”

Joanna Woodnutt from Catpointers

Many methods of keeping cats out of your garden are designed to make it unattractive to them, but it’s worth remembering that many of these things will discourage wild birds as well.

One method that I’ve found to work very well is not to keep them out but to make sure they don’t leave faeces everywhere.

You can do this by building an outdoor sandbox ‘litter tray’ for them. Most cats will use sand in preference to the soil, so it’s an excellent way to concentrate the deposits where you can easily find them!


Cats are cute animals, but they may harm your garden. So you should keep an eye on them and try to protect your garden.

There are different ways to keep cats out of your garden. Choose the way that best suits your garden.

Photo of author

Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.

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