Whether you’re trying to prevent your pets from scratching that new couch or keep neighborhood cats out of your flower beds, you may be in the market for an effective cat deterrent. Shopping for the best cat repellent can quickly become overwhelming because so many options are available at a wide range of prices. Keep reading to learn which features to look for when shopping for the best deterrent for cats as well as the key considerations.
Learn our tips for choosing the best option and explore our curated choices for the best repellent for cats.
- BEST OVERALL: PetSafe Ssscat Spray Pet Deterrent
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Homarden Cat Repellent Scat Mat
- BEST INDOOR: PetSafe Indoor Radio Fence
- BEST OUTDOOR: Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler
- BEST FOR FURNITURE: Panther Armor Anti-Cat Scratch Tape
- BEST SPRAY: Sentry Stop That! Behavior Correction Spray for Cats
Types of Cat Repellents
What is the most effective cat repellent? A number of factors go into determining the most effective cat repellent for any one issue. Several styles of cat deterrents are available, each of which has advantages. However, some types work better for a particular situation than others.
Cat repellent sprays, which emit an odor that deters cats without harming the animals, are one of the most affordable and easiest options. However, a spray must be reapplied periodically. The best sprays are activated by motion, releasing their odiferous contents only when a cat is nearby. Some sprays are designed for indoor use, while others are for outdoors. Motion-sensor sprays typically produce a sound when activated, which may annoy members of the household.
Ultrasonic cat deterrents make a sound that’s undetectable to human ears but that cats find unpleasant. Ultrasonic cat deterrents are activated by either heat or motion and use no chemicals that could negatively impact the environment. These devices are often solar-powered, so they don’t require an electrical outlet. Ultrasonic devices also act as a deterrent to other animals, including raccoons, skunks, and opossums, which means they aren’t ideal for dog owners.
Since our research didn’t reveal any well-reviewed ultrasonic devices, we chose not to include them in our recommendations.
Physical barriers, designed specifically to deter cats, come in several different formats.
- Spiky mats feature a texture that’s uncomfortable to cats but harmful. While they won’t protect an entire yard, they can be used in target areas to keep away cats.
- Fences can keep cats and other critters out of raised garden beds and other areas.
- Sprinklers can be set up with motion activation to spray any animal that comes into a certain area. They may be particularly effective at deterring cats because cats typically dislike water.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cat Repellent
While it’s easy to assume that all cat repellents offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Features such as safety, the intended use, and the product’s coverage can make one better than another for a specific situation. Keep reading to learn about these important features to consider when choosing a good cat deterrent.
Location and Behavior
The primary factor to consider when choosing a cat deterrent is the behavior you’re trying to prevent. A product manufactured to prevent house cats from scratching the back of a couch or armchair differs from a product designed to keep cats out of the yard. Whether the cat is chewing electrical wires, jumping on kitchen counters, or eating potentially dangerous houseplants, there’s a product for the issue.
Moreover, cat deterrents for indoor use differ from those designed for outdoor use. Some products must be plugged into an electrical outlet, making them ideal for indoor use. Other products, however, can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The primary consideration for an outdoor cat repellent is its coverage area, which is typically listed in the product’s description. Small, physical barriers cover limited areas, whereas more high-tech ultrasonic repellents can cover up to 5,000 square feet.
Always consider safety, an especially relevant feature for households with companion pets and young children, when choosing a cat repellent. Most pet owners avoid chemical products that may contain harmful ingredients and opt for natural, nontoxic formulas. None of our recommended products pose a danger to cats, other animals, or humans.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned more about cat repellents, it’s time to start shopping. The following are the top picks for the best cat repellents for your home.
Use the PetSafe Ssscat Spray Pet Deterrent to create pet-free zones within the home. It’s designed to be used as a training tool to teach pets to avoid certain areas, even when you’re not at home. If it detects motion within 3 feet, it emits a small spray of air that’s completely odorless and won’t stain surfaces, making it safe to use indoors. Place the device strategically so it can’t be activated by household members’ everyday activities.
Each can lasts for 80 to 100 sprays, and replacement cans are available. The device is powered by four AAA batteries, which are not included.
- Type: Motion-activated spray
- Location: Indoor
- Coverage area: 3 feet
- Odorless and harmless to pets
- Activated by motion
- Nozzle can be adjusted to target specific areas
Get PetSafe Ssscat Spray cat repellent at Amazon, PetCo, or PetSmart.
These spiky mats from Homarden come in a pack of 10, each of which measures 16 by 13 inches, to create a total coverage area of 13 square feet. The spikes, which are 1 inch tall, are uncomfortable for animals to step on but won’t harm them, for a humane solution.
The mats, which are designed to be used either indoors or outdoors, can be effective at preventing cats from scratching furniture or jumping into garden beds. While they’re primarily designed for cats, they also can be used to keep dogs out of certain areas and prevent them from digging. They’re made from a flexible material. While they can simply be placed on the ground, they also can be wrapped around lawn features.
- Type: Spiky mat
- Location: Indoor/outdoor
- Coverage area: 13 square feet
- Humane solution for a variety of animals
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Relatively large coverage area
Get the Homarden Scat Mat cat repellent at Walmart.
Although invisible fences have long been available for outdoor pets, similar barriers also are available for indoor pets to keep them out of certain areas. This model from PetSafe pairs with a pet collar that delivers a static correction when your pet approaches the area. The correction surprises pets but doesn’t hurt them, and it’s effective for both dogs and cats. The device, which must be paired with a PetSafe In-Ground Fence receiver collar, is not compatible with the YardMax, Ultra Smart, PawzAway, or PetSafe Wireless Fence collars.
- Type: Invisible fence
- Location: Indoor
- Coverage area: 10-foot radius from device
- Can be used with both cats and dogs
- Safe for pets
- Covers a large area
- Must be paired with a special collar
Get the PetSafe Indoor Radio Fence cat repellent at Amazon, PetSafe, or Chewy.
When activated, the Orbit Yard Enforcer infrared sensor sprinkler makes a distinctive noise that startles animals. When paired with the spray of water, it should keep cats away.
Its motion-detecting lens has a 120-degree field of view, allowing it to detect critters coming from multiple angles. The sprinkler, which has a spray distance of 35 feet, is capable of detecting animals up to 40 feet away, though this range can be reduced to protect a smaller area. It has a large coverage area of 3,840 square feet. Users can choose to run the device continually or only during the night or day. It’s powered by four AA batteries that should last for 7,500 on/off cycles.
- Type: Motion-activated sprinkler
- Location: Outdoor
- Coverage area: 3,840 square feet
- Large coverage area
- Safe and humane
- Several operation modes available
Get the Orbit Yard Enforcer cat repellent at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
Cats love to scratch, and unfortunately, they often target upholstered furniture. Apply double-sided Panther Armor Anti-Cat Scratch Tape to furniture to discourage cats from scratching. The tape annoys cats, but it’s completely nontoxic, ensuring household pets are safe.
The sheets are sold in packs of different sizes, allowing shoppers to choose the set that best suits their needs. While the tape is transparent and is designed to blend in with upholstery, it’s still noticeable. It may be better for couches and chairs that back up to a wall rather than those placed centrally in a room.
- Type: Physical barrier
- Location: Indoor
- Coverage area: N/A
- Multiple sizes and quantities available
Get the Panther Armor Scratch Tape cat repellent on Amazon.
This Sentry Stop That! cat training tool is humane and effectively corrects behaviors. The canister emits a hiss of air and a pheromone mist that redirects the cat’s attention, calming it down and causing it to focus on a nondestructive behavior instead. It has a lavender chamomile fragrance that’s pleasant for humans.
To use it, hold the canister 12 to 18 inches away from the cat and spray. The canister should be kept indoors because it can burst if exposed to temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, the user must be present to correct the cat’s behavior.
- Type: Spray
- Location: Indoor/outdoor
- Coverage area: N/A
- Safe ingredients
- Useful training tool that uses sound and odor
- Features a pleasant scent for humans
Get Sentry Stop That! cat repellent at Amazon, PetSmart, or PetCo.
After reviewing this guide, you now know more about effective cat repellents and how they work. We recommend PetSafe Ssscat Spray cat repellent because it’s effective, humane, and nontoxic. Those on a budget may appreciate the Homarden Scat Mat cat repellent, which offers great performance at a lower price point.
How to Make a DIY Cat Repellent
While plenty of products are available to deter cats, some pet owners opt to create their own solution. Luckily, it’s easy to make a DIY cat repellent with ingredients you likely already have around the house.
- Coffee: To keep cats out of garden beds, mix coffee grounds with citrus peels and sprinkle the mixture around the area. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus or the feeling of coffee grounds under their paws.
- Vinegar: Mix a DIY spray with equal parts water and white vinegar and add a small amount of dish soap to mask the smell. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply it to outdoor surfaces.
- Citronella: While citronella helps keep mosquitoes at bay, it also works for cats. Mix 1 part citronella oil with 3 parts water and spray the solution in the affected area.
How We Chose the Best Cat Repellents
Years of experience covering home goods as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 25 cat deterrent options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.
- Type: Many types of cat repellents, all of which have different uses, are available. To make this guide as comprehensive as possible, we included products designed for both indoor and outdoor use as well as products that purport to correct a variety of behaviors.
- Reviews: Many cat deterrents make impressive claims but don’t actually hold up to user testing, so we included only well-reviewed products on this list, regardless of format.
- Safety: When choosing a cat repellent, opt for a product that’s humane that won’t cause harm to pets or neighborhood animals. We chose only nontoxic and safe repellents in this guide.
Though you now know more about cat repellents, you may still have questions about how to use them. The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to select and use cat repellents around the home.
Q. Are cat repellents safe around my pets?
Cat repellents typically deter a wide variety of critters and may act as repellents for household pets. However, all of our recommended options are completely safe for pet owners and won’t harm pets.
Q. How can I keep my neighbor’s cat out of my yard?
The best deterrent to keep cats out of a yard is a motion-activated sprinkler that emits a startling sound as well as a burst of water when an animal is detected nearby.
Q. Which scent will repel a cat?
Many commercially formulated cat repellent sprays are made with ingredients that deter cats. Some natural ingredients include citrus, vinegar, and peppermint.
Q. What is the best cat repellent for outside?
When attempting to keep cats out of a yard or garden, we recommend the Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler.
Q. Can I use cat repellent spray on a couch?
Certain cat repellent sprays are specially formulated for use on furniture and upholstery. Avoid using any other kind of spray on a couch to prevent staining.