The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Cats Away From Houseplants: 12 Methods


Here are 12 methods to prevent your cats from devastating your indoor environment.

Utilize Scents that Cats Hate

There are certain scents that cats hate, and most likely stay away from.

1. Citrus

One scent that cats dislike is citrus.

Place lemon or orange peels over the sides of the pots to keep your pets from getting close. Also, you can sprinkle the interior of the pots with apple, orange, or grapefruit rinds in order to stop them from getting close.

Expert tip

Beware of essential oils as they can be harmful to cats!

2. Coffee Grounds, Sawdust, and Pine Needles

person pouring coffee ion jar


Cats also don’t like the scent of coffee grounds. You can put coffee grounds at the base of your plant to deter cats.

Pine needles are a great alternative as they provide a natural appearance in your decoration and are often a deterrent to cats from digging into your plants.

If you own an outdoor compost, consider sprinkling sawdust on the bottom of your compost to keep cats out.

3. Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub is a fantastic natural repellent made of camphor and eucalyptus oil. It is actually an old method my grandmother used to keep cats from

the potted flowers she has.

Spread a layer of Ointment over the top of the pot and then around the base.

This will stop your cat from jumping into the dirt and digging up dirt.

4. Peppermint Oil

A different natural repellent is peppermint oil.

Cats are very sensitive to this smell, so applying a small amount of it to your plants in pots should be sufficient to get rid of the problem!

5. Cat Repellent Sprays

If you’re not ready to follow the natural route there are more traditional methods of repelling cats.

My personal favorite spray is green Gobbler cleaning spray which also repels cats!

It’s a product with two benefits that can be used to wash your home and the citrus-coconut smell it gives off isn’t appealing to cats.

You already own a favorite household cleaner, simply clean the outside of your plant pots, and your cats will remain clean.

Beware of Cayenne, Black Pepper, Flakes of Red Pepper, and Cinnamon

Cayenne pepper black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon oil can be harmful to cats! It’s best to stay clear of them if you’re looking to keep your cat on the move for a longer period of time.

If your cat is found to not seem to be bothered by these spices and simply walks over them and scratches it, it can cause harm to its eyes by rubbing them with its claws.

Cats hate putting objects in Pots

There are many ways to keep your plants cat-proof and prevent your cat from digging up your pots and causing a mess.

Anything that creates a crunchy sound is something cats be sure to avoid at all costs. Place a couple on top of the base to see what happens.

6. Aluminum Foil

Cats aren’t a fan of reflections and the roughness of aluminum foil. Two options are available:

Apply a thin layer of aluminum over the sides of the pots

Crumble up aluminum foil, and then place a few balls on the soil on top

7. Pinecones

brown pine cone on brown stem

Cats dislike the rough feel of pinecones so placing a few pinecones on the soil’s surface can be a great incentive.

Then, spray the pinecone with water to clean any debris. Then, place it in the pot.

8. Plastic Forks

Put a few plastic forks with the prong ending up in the soil. This is among the most effective ways to deter your cats from digging up your plants.

9. Plastic Easter Eggs

Another option is to line the inside of the plant pot with eggs made of plastic.

Just poke a hole in the top of the center and put several of them on the soil. This will not only deter cats from your property but also permits easy watering because of the holes.

10. Use LECA (Clay Pebbles)

If you’re tired of cats digging up the soil, or creating a mess, moving your plants into semi-hydroponics might be the best solution.

Repot your plants in the pot using LECA clay pebbles, which aren’t as appealing for cats due to the absence of soil.

If the cats get into one’s plants less mess to wash up. It’s just a handful of pebbles, not dirt that covers the entire area.

Block Entrance to Pots

If you have to take more severe steps to keep the cats of your garden (including ways to prevent the cats from peeing in the plants) You’ll have to completely block all access for the dirt.

11. Use Plant Saucers

Protect your plants from cats with transparent plant pots. Cut a hole through the middle that wraps around the base or trunk of your plant. Place it upside-down, covering everything around the base of your soil.

I love the stainless steel saucers because they are available in a variety of sizes ranging between 6” up to 15.”

12. The plastic wrap is sealed with a press-n-seal

Another method to prevent this can be to press and Seal polythene over your pots for plants.

It’s more manageable, and also clear so that light can still pass through.

When you have wrapped it securely enough, you may poke one or two holes and water your plant without taking off the wrap.


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