Cats, George, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Plants

Cat deterrent plant

Cats and plants do not go well together. Since cats are free to roam throughout the neighbourhood, visiting felines are a common sight in many gardens – but they are not always welcome. Not only do cats eat precious plants, they use your garden as a toilet, ruining the soil with their infertile faeces. But there are many solutions for keeping cats out of your garden, including cat deterrent plants.

Which plants repel cats?

Cats won’t generally be repelled by plants as such, but they can be deterred by the scents or textures of particular shrubs. By carefully placing these plants at entry points you can cut down on cats wandering into your garden. Mixing them into borders can prevent cats from climbing over your flowerbeds, where they dig and disturb plants and seedlings.

Cat deterrent plants

Scaredy cat plant
Photo by Amazonia Exotics U.K via Wikimedia Commons

1. Scaredy cat plant (Coleus canina)

The scaredy cat plant was bred in Germany specifically as a garden pest repellent. It emits an odour when animals brush past and can be effective against cats, dogs, foxes and rabbits. Unfortunately the smell of dog urine it gives off is so strong that it is unpleasant for nearby humans too. It’s easy to grow, likes the sun and is drought resistant, but will need protection from the frost during the winter months. It grows best in dry soil, which is ideal as cats usually avoid damp patches anyway. You can expect it to grow no taller than 2 feet and have beautiful blue or purple flowers.

2. Lavender (Lavandula)

Luckily, lavender comes with a scent that’s nice for us but unappealing for felines. These purple flowers are evergreen, so they act as a year round deterrent. Choose the tall varieties and plant them at the front of your borders as cats won’t jump over if they can’t see where they’ll land.


3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Another fragrant option is rosemary, a herb that’s great for cooking as well as keeping cats at bay. It likes dry soil and a warm climate, but is also evergreen.

4. Rue (Ruta graveolens)

Rue is a shrub that kitties are adverse to. Plant it outside and sprinkle some of its leaves on the patio or inside if you need to warn cats away from these areas. But be careful since rue is poisonous, so always use gardening gloves when handling. If eaten it can cause nausea, vomiting and convulsions.

Photo by Gardenology

5. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Also known as pudding grass, pennyroyal is the smallest of the mint family. But unlike a lot of mint, this variety is a deterrent for cats as it gives off a very strong spearmint fragrance. Once used in Roman cooking, pennyroyal has also had medical uses (despite the oil being poisonous) and served as a pest deterrent for early settlers in America.

6. Curry herb plant (Helichrysum italicum)

Cats don’t like curry. This spicy plant grows into a thick bush that releases its odour when animals brush past, offending the creatures with both its smell and coarse texture. You may want to use this one sparingly, however, as it is seen as a weed by many due to the harmful effect it can have on other flowers.

Lemon balm

7. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and thyme (Thymus citriodorus)

Citrus is well know to ward off felines, so plant some lemon varieties to help with your natural defenses. Lemon balm produces white flowers in the summer and is great for attracting honey bees. Lemon thyme is an evergreen shrub that needs lots of sun and good drainage. It has pink flowers in late summer that attract bees and butterflies.

8. Thorny bushes

Cats won’t tread on uncomfortable surfaces, so covering exposed ground with spiky plants can be a great natural way to keep the kitties off. Grow thorny plants like roses, perennial geraniums or pyracantha over any bare soil in the flower beds. You can also make a spiky wall out of hedging like blackberry, hawthorn and holly to prevent cats from even entering your garden.

Naturally repel cats

How to use plants to deter cats

Place some of these plants around the boundaries of your garden to ward off cats passing through the neighbourhood. Others work well around the front of flowerbeds as they stop cats climbing in to mark their territory. Cats spread their scent through urine and faeces as a reminder that they can visit this spot again, so preventing this is crucial for keeping them out. Cat deterrent plants ward off cats and physically stop them from digging up the flowerbeds to use as a litter tray. Layer mulch and pebbles around your plants to make it even harder for cats to dig the soil up. It’s also worth putting some of the plants in pots, so you can move them around if you see cats entering via another route, or if they come across the patio.

Using plants that attract cats

As well as deterring cats through planting, you can direct them to specific areas with attractive plants and so control their impact on the garden. Cats are attracted to catnip (Nepeta cataria) – hence the name – mint and honeysuckle, so simply plant these in the places you’d prefer cats to visit.

cat in garden

Other ways to repel cats

At Primrose we know a thing or two about pest control. We’ve written a list of ways to keep cats out of your garden and stock a range of cat repellers, including ultrasonic devices and water sprayers.

Our bestselling Pestbye Cat Repeller would make a great companion to deterrent plants to boost your defenses against feline invaders. Simply place it in your flowerbed and it will emit high frequency pulses whenever cats come near to send them running!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Cat, Cats, Pest Control

Silent Roar at PrimroseSome of the products we sell are just a little bit more unusual than others – for example our Silent Roar cat repellent which contains lion poo and is an effective and environmentally friendly way to keep cats away from your garden. We have also heard of it being used as a method to keep cats in the garden, for example for people living near busy roads.

It’s not surprising to see funny comments about the product and we absolutely loved this comment thread in the my Telegraph section last week:

  • helpmaboab: Lion poo.
  • KatiePult: What do you use to keep lions out of your garden then?
  • helpmaboab: Elephant poo. It really spooks the lions.
  • KatiePult: What keeps elephants out then?
  • Rosie21: Don’t say anything about elephants, they are up and down the avenue two or three times a day……come to think of it, that poo in my front garden is…………….!!
  • KatiePult: Like stepping stones, mini roundabouts? Delete as appropriate.
  • helpmaboab: Mouse poo. Elephants are terrified of mice.
  • KatiePult: Isn’t that a myth? They are probably scared of accidentally squashing them with their exceptionally large feet. I have never seen an elephant jump up on a chair or table when confronted with a mouse or other small rodent, but to be fair elephants cannot jump.
  • helpmaboab: It is just a myth but all elephants believe the myth. They are not very well informed.
  • KatiePult: How on earth would anyone know? Obviously they would have trouble using a qwerty keyboard so surfing the internet is problematic as would reading a broadstreet newspaper.
  • helpmaboab: Not just keyboard problems, they can’t use a computer mouse, because they’re terrified of mice. It’s a vicious circle.

Thank you, helpmaboab, KatiePult and Rosie21!

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Animals, Cat, Cats

Do cute cats bother you?
Do cute cats bother you?

Most of the population seem to be divided into liking either cats or dogs. Personally I am most definitely a cat person [after all, what do you expect from a person called Cat], but I also love having our office dog Billy around.

However, there are a lot of people that suffer with having cats come into their gardens and with our range of cat deterrents we get a lot of reviews from people who are clearly at the end of their tether. This is just a selection of some of our favourite ones:

On the Ultrasonic Cat Repeller with PIR Motion Sensor:

Just one cat that seems to ignore repeller, so we think it must be deaf. – Pam

Fantastic! Have set up two in the back garden and one in the front and gone are the daily ‘presents’ we used to find. – Miss W

The cat repeller has worked well, most of the cats had got the message after two weeks but it has taken four for the last cat who is a bit devious and has managed to find blind spots. – Christine

For the Solar Animal Chaser:

Does exactly what the cat didn’t want it to do! Simple and easy to site and seems to be working well. – Martin

For the PestBye Advanced Cat Scarer:

Absolutely works brilliantly. After placing it in the garden I had my first persistent visitor after an hour. I’ve battled this cat for the last 6 months, he was after the wild birds I feed. He jumped into the garden and lasted around 4 seconds, jumped back out and tried another day, has now given up completely. Phew success at last, so glad I tried the product, it works fine. – Terry

After years of putting up with other peoples cats and spending money on cat repellents this is heaven sent.On the first day installed one cat appeared when picked up by sensor stopped dead in its track turned and went, not had to pick up any parcels + no smells left behind,now can spend money on plants not on repellents for cats. – David

For the Fence and Wall Spikes:

Product is good but the offending cat is very clever!! – Geoff

This is the second cat scarer we have purchased in recent weeks and so far—fingers crossed—- they seem to be working. Husband’s blood pressure down and order for shotgun cancelled!!!!! – Mrs A

We use the independent review service Feefo for all of our sites. This helps us both in getting impartial reviews and product feedback from our customers. Some of the reviews are brilliant and highly unusual. Take a look and see if you can spot any other funny ones:

Or take a look at all previous posts containing unusual Feefo reviews.

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.