KITTENS

DIY Cat Repellent: Non-Harmful Ways to Keep Your Cat Out of Certain Areas

Black and white cat keeping the distance from a person
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

There are times where your cat can make you feel like you’re out of options—namely whenever they persist in going to a location that you specifically told them not to. These locations include the shelf where you store your spun-glass decorations, the Christmas tree, the kitchen counter, the fridge, or maybe your precious flowerbed in the yard. If no amount of admonishing could get your cat to listen, perhaps it’s time to use a DIY cat repellent.

While there are plenty of commercial cat repellents out there to choose from, if you’re on a budget it’s always best to go DIY. Some of our mixtures even cost nothing as you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. Don’t worry—all our DIY cat repellent recipes are very easy to make.

A cat in the yard

These cat repellents aren’t harmful—they are only meant to make your cat stay away from a certain area. They will probably give you the stink eye—or worse, the huge teary kitty eyes—for driving them away, but remember that it’s for their own good.

In this article, you’re going to learn how to make different types of DIY cat repellents. We also provide guidelines on how to apply the mixture properly. Rest assured that this article will help solve your snooping cat problem to the point where you can keep the door to the restricted area wide open, and your cat won’t even give it a second glance anymore.

Classic Cat Repellent Oil

This is the oldest form of cat repellent. Your grandmother might be familiar with the recipe as well. This is a very fragrant type of oil that you will surely love, but your cat will definitely hate it. This mixture of citrus and flowery lavender isn’t harmful to your cat—it’s just too strong for their sensitive nose.

 Lemon Oil and lemons on a wooden table

Here are the ingredients that you will be needing:

  • 2 Drops of Lemon Oil – This will provide most of the scent that the oil will release once you’ve mixed it with the other oils.

  • 2 Drops of Orange Oil – This will give additional citrus notes to your oil mixture.

  • 2 Drops of Lavender Oil – This is the ingredient that’s responsible for making the mixture smell refreshing to you.

  • Water – So that all of the oils will mix well once you start preparing it.

How to Make It

Here’s what you need to do to mix the essential oils properly:

  • Add the essential oils in a spray bottle. Be sure to follow the measurements correctly in order to achieve an evenly fragrant mixture.

  • Add the water next. Close the spray bottle once you’ve filled it up with water.

  • Shake well, and let it sit for one minute only.

Once it’s done, you can go ahead and use it right away. You might want to test it first to see if it’s fragrant enough. If it doesn’t smell strong enough, you can add more oil if you want.

How to Use It

Here are some tips on how to effectively use this mixture to make your cat stay away:

  • Spray it around the areas you don’t want your cat to visit. You can do it outdoors as well as indoors. The oils won’t affect the plants—just don’t spray it directly.

  • It’s a good type of spray to use in your bathroom to give it a fresh scent. It’s also great for deterring your cat if they like to drink from the toilet bowl.

  • It can also be used in the kitchen every mealtime to ensure that the cats won’t disturb you while you’re eating.

Vinegar Repellent

This repellent probably won’t cost you anything to make. It’s all thanks to the widely available ingredients. You should have everything you need at home already, so no need to go running to the store.

Image showing apple cider vinegar

The vinegar repellent is very easy to make as well. You can make as much of this repellent as you want—just prepare the ingredients in equal ratios:

  • 1/3 Part of Vinegar – This is the main ingredient; any type of vinegar will do.

  • 1/3 Part of Liquid Soap – A dish-washing liquid will also do fine if you don’t want to waste your liquid hand soap.

  • 1/3 Part of Water – To dilute the ingredients so they will blend together easily.

How to Make It

Making this mixture is very simple. Just follow the steps below:

  • Mix all three ingredients together. It doesn’t matter which goes first.

  • Shake it well until everything’s blended perfectly inside the spray bottle.

How to Use It

Here’s a basic guideline in using the vinegar repellent:

  • This mixture is better suited for outdoor use than indoors since all the in-house residents—not just the cat—might be offended by the smell of vinegar.

  • You can also spray it around the basement so that your cat won’t come in.

  • This mixture is also very useful for cleaning stubborn dirt and grout from bathroom tiles. Just apply baking soda on the dirty area before spraying this solution, then wipe everything clean.

Citrus Repellent

Many people love the scent of citrus, but there’s nothing cats despise more than the scent of orange and lemons.

Image of citrus repellent

If you’re looking for a type of repellent that smells offensive to your cat but will turn the whole house into a fresh-smelling abode from your perspective, this is the one you should make.

This type of repellent isn’t that hard to make, and the ingredients are fairly cheap.

  • 1 – 2 Cups of Citrus Peels – Whether you use lemons, oranges, or lime, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s citrus, you can place it in the cup.

  • 2 Teaspoons of Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is widely regarded as more fragrant and potent than that of other citrus fruits. If you have fresh lemons available, you should use them. If you don’t, any other citrus fruits will do.

  • Lemon-Scented Soap – Liquid soap that’s lemon-scented is the best type of soap to use as an ingredient for the repellent. You can use dishwashing soap as well if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative.

  • 2 Cups of Water – You will have to boil this later.

How to Make It

This type of repellent is a bit more complicated to make than the previous two because here you need to make some prior preparations, but the results are going to be worth it.

  • Pour all the water into a medium pot. Be sure to bring it to a boil.

  • Add the citrus peelings next. Turn down the flame to medium heat at this point to keep the water from bubbling over and to mix everything into the water slowly.

  • Let the mixture simmer for at least 20 minutes. Once the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat.

  • Cool the mixture before transferring it to a spraying bottle. Strain the mixture into the bottle, so then you can dispose of the leftover peelings.

  • Apply the lemon juice and soap, then mix everything in the bottle.

How to Use It

Now that you have your very own citrus repellent for cats, here are some tips on how to use it effectively:

  • Just two sprays per area will be enough since the mixture is quite potent.

  • This is perfect for indoor use since citrus has a refreshing scent to it. You can even apply it to the bathroom and the kitchen as an air freshener.

  • You can apply it to furniture, too.

Cats really hate citrus, so make sure to use this spray in moderation lest you overdo it and turn your house into someplace uninhabitable for your cat.

Apple Cider Repellent

Using the vinegar with the strongest scent is the perfect way to counter cats. This is a more potent form of the vinegar repellent. However, you should keep in mind that apple cider vinegar is more expensive than other types of vinegar.

apple-cider-vinegar on a table and some apples

If you can afford this, however, we suggest you do so since this mixture serves many other beneficial purposes as well. It makes a good home remedy for various ailments, and is good to mix with honey for energizing your body. You can make as much of this mixture as you want as long as you mix the ingredients in equal ratios.

  • 1/2 Part of Apple Cider Vinegar – It’s better if you purchase the unfiltered type of vinegar since it has a more potent smell on it. Fill half the bottle with this.

  • 1/2 Part of Water – The other half of the mixture comprises only of water.

How to Make It

You only need two steps to concoct this cat repellent:

  • Mix the two ingredients in a spray bottle; shake it well.

  • Let it sit for two minutes before using it.

How to Use It

  • If you or your kids can’t stand the scent of apple cider vinegar, it’s best to apply the repellent on your yard instead.

  • Two sprays per area will be good enough. 3 to 4 sprays can cover a huge vicinity, making it good for letting cats stay indoors if you don’t want them to go outside.

  • You can also use this repellent to keep stray cats away from your house.

Spice Repellent

The scent of spices is something that cats hate almost as much as they do citrus—due to their sensitive nose.

Close-up of Ground turmeric, dry mustard, cayenne pepper!

To ensure that the spice repellent turns out potent, you will be mixing a variety of spices while making the spray, along with other ingredients.

  • 1 Teaspoon of Dry Mustard – Dry mustard is one of the most potent-smelling spices. It has a very sour undertone.

  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon – Cinnamon can cause you to sneeze. Eaten in large quantities at once, it can be unbearable even to you.

  • 1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper – The most basic spice is also the most potent-smelling type of spice. Even humans don’t smell black pepper directly.

  • Lemon Oil – 4 to 6 drops of lemon essential oil adds a sweet, citrusy smell to the mixture.

  • 1 Clove of Garlic – The scent of garlic is also known to be quite potent. Mix it with the aforementioned spices, and rest assured that your cat will hate visiting the sprayed location. Mince the clove to bits to release the scent.

  • Water – Without water, the ingredients above won’t mix well.

How to Make It

Mixing all of these will surely give you one of the best repellents you can make. Here are the steps:

  • Mix the cinnamon, dry mustard, and black pepper powders in the spray bottle.

  • Apply the lemon oil, followed by the minced clove of garlic.

  • Shake the mixture a bit, then fill the bottle with water.

How to Use It

Here’s how you should use this repellent to bring out its full potential.

  • This is perfect to apply outdoors to keep stray cats away and to protect the precious plants you planted in the yard.

  • You can also apply this in the basement.

  • Applying more than two sprays will cover a wide vicinity due to the very strong scent.

  • Don’t apply it indoors if you don’t like the smell.

This repellent is very powerful. However, it might cost you more than the other repellents since you will need to purchase some spices and the lemon oil to concoct this potent repellent.

Other Deterrents

If you want to keep your cat away for a short time only, you can try some other methods.

Hungry cat waiting for owner to feed her

Distractions usually work great since cats are curious little creatures:

  • Food – If your cat is a food lover, opening a new can of wet food for them could be the perfect way to distract them from your furniture and other stuff for a while.

  • Laser Pointers – Cats love laser pointers since they think it’s some sort of insect. Most cats will surely get busy when they see that pinprick of light skittering along the floor and the walls.

  • Yarn – Throw a ball of yarn so that they will catch it and play around with it. It will keep them occupied for a while.

  • Cat Toys – Toys designed for cats are also excellent deterrents. Once they have their own stuff to play with, they will leave your things alone.

  • Strings – You just need to find a good spot to hang the string so your cat will focus on pawing at the dangling end.

  • Cat Scratchers – A cat scratcher is one of the best deterrents that you can give to your cat. This allows them to focus on the scratcher instead of other furniture, particularly rugs and your sofa. You can either purchase a cat scratcher, or you can create one yourself.

  • Water – Water is one of the best cat repellents since most cats are scared of water. There are many ways for you to use it, but don’t splash a bucket of water directly at them. For indoor use, simply spray your cat with some water if you want them to stay away for a while.

For outdoor purposes, a water sprinkler is the best way to keep your cat from approaching the plants. It also helps you water the plants at the same time. For the best results, use a water sprinkler with a motion detector.

If you don’t have a sprinkler, you can just use a water hose, and then put your index finger to partially cover the hose to use its water like a spray. It can scare cats away but don’t spray the water directly at them. It will be quite a painful experience for your cat if the torrent hits them head-on. There are many ways to use water as a form of repellent. But don’t be cruel to cats when using water.

Wrap Up

At one point or another, even the most indulging pet owners will find the need to repel cats from a certain area. Cats aren’t usually known to be obedient, but luckily there are non-harmful repellents that have been proven to be extremely effective at making your pet steer clear of restricted parts of the house.

Close-up of Aromatherapy Cat Repellent.

The ingredients we used for the mixtures above are neither toxic nor dangerous to your cat; their smell is just too potent for your cat. Using DIY cat repellents is a good way to discipline or teach your cat about the places that they should never visit within the residency.

Which part of the house do you wish to restrict your cat’s access to? If you’ve tried your hand at making and applying one of the mixtures we listed above, please share your experience with us. If you have your own DIY cat repellent recipe that we failed to mention in this article, please share it with us in the comment box below.

About the author
Steve Corelli
Steve Corelli

Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed.

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