Choosing plants to deter cats from your garden

Read on to discover what plants keep cats away with our super simple guide for filling your borders.


Grey cat in garden put off by plants to deter cats

Key steps 

Invest in some new plants for your borders to help repel cats, including:

  • Scaredy cat plants
  • Lavender
  • Herbs like citronella grass, lemongrass, rosemary, Pennyroyal mint and scented geraniums
  • Curry plants.

Not everyone is a fan of cats, especially if they’re not yours and they’ve made your garden their number one hangout (or bathroom). Having a garden full of beautiful flowers isn’t just a great way to brighten up your outdoor spaces: it can also be an ingenious solution for keeping uninvited cats out of the garden.

Here we’ll show you which plants to deter cats with, without using toxic ones or any plants that could endanger your neighbour's cat. If you’ve got a lot of cats in your neighbourhood, you can also check out our article on cat-friendly plants and flowers to use – though they may not deter them, these are definitely not poisonous to cats.

Create borders around the edges of your outdoor spaces, so that the scent of your cat-repellent plants is all around your garden.

What plants deter cats? 5 top choices for your garden

These five plant and flower ideas can help you keep your garden cat-free:

  1. Scaredy cat plants didn’t earn their name for nothing! These two-foot plants work great for flower beds, and emit an odour from their leaves which cats dislike.
  2. Lavender is super easy to grow, and it’s an evergreen so it will work as a cat deterrent all year round. While many humans like the smell of lavender, cats do not!
  3. Herbs are a great way to repel cats. Create an herb garden in the borders — while you'll enjoy the smells of citronella grass, lemongrass, rosemary, Pennyroyal mint and scented geraniums, cats won't. 
  4. The curry plant actually grows wild in some Mediterranean areas and is a great choice for your flower beds. With its yellow flowers, it is both pretty and a great cat deterrent.
  5. Plants with thorns such as brambles can work as a deterrent; however, smaller cats may slip through without being affected by the thorns. Bushes with berries will also attract birds, which in turn attracts cats, so take care when choosing your thorns.
  6. Take care to avoid plants like rue which are poisonous to both humans and cats.
  7. Plants that cats hate aren’t the only way to keep them out of your garden. Read our article on how to keep cats out of your garden for more great advice for a cat-free outdoor space.

With this simple guide you now know what plants keep cats away, and can begin planting new borders and enjoying your cat-free garden.

Originally published