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Cats dominate the internet, dazzling with their graceful forms and moods that change like the wind. Many house tigers spend their time in people's living rooms, but there are numerous furry friends who enjoy free running. They like to roam the neighborhood gardens, nibble on flowers or use the potato patch as a litter box. For this reason, many garden owners want to keep cats away from their own green oasis, for which there are different methods.

cat defense

The effective defense against cats: 10 tips against velvet paws in the garden

Cats are part of society like dogs and have become increasingly integrated into human life over the past ten thousand years. Nevertheless, Felis silvestris catus is often a cause for a lot of headaches in a well-tended garden, because the four-legged friends cause mischief and a lot of excrement. They roam the gardens without a sound and, due to their pronounced territorial behavior, can even cause sensitive plants to die or ruin the strawberry harvest. No wonder gardeners have devised a variety of methods to repel cats.

  • water
  • dogs
  • Ultrasonic
  • coffee grounds
  • natural fragrances
  • chemicals
  • fragrant plants
  • Piss off plant (Plectranthus caninus)
  • thornbushes
  • remove feces

The methods mentioned have established themselves as anti-cat remedies in their own way and help to protect the garden from the four-legged friends. Of course, there are always cats that just want to make themselves comfortable in your garden without marking their territory or nibbling on the plants. These are mostly older, partly spayed or neutered four-legged friends who may go to your garden bench to sleep because it is perfectly situated in the sun or because they want to smell your catnip. By the way, you should avoid catnip in the garden if you want to drive away obtrusive neighbor cats.

Please note: Please do not enclose your garden or parts of the garden with barbed wire or electric fences. Depending on the federal state, these are permitted, but cause pain and possibly fatal injuries to the animals and also endanger children, dogs and adults.


Cats are known all over the world to be afraid of water. Even if big cats are real water lovers, domestic cats have learned to avoid water. For this reason, the cool water is perfect as a defense against cats without injuring them. There are two variants available to you, as listed below.

water hose

With a water hose you have a good "weapon" against the gentle four-legged friends, but it is not possible for everyone to lie in wait for hours to drive the animals away. Nevertheless, if you are busy gardening or lying in wait in the garden, you can drive the animal away with a targeted beam next to it. The more often this happens, the faster the cat will remember to avoid the garden. Please ensure that you never hit the animal with the jet, but always spray nearby. That's enough.

heron scare

The Heron Scare is an automated variant of the garden hose and is suitable for all-round defence. This device is controlled by a motion sensor. If the cat is caught by the sensor, it sprays a jet of water near the animal and drives it away without you having to lend a hand. A big advantage of the heron deterrent is the automatic 24-hour surveillance, if the selected device has it. So your garden is protected from velvet paws even at night.

Of course, the heron deterrent is clearly better here, since you can't keep an eye out for cats in the garden every hour. But you should be careful not to place the heron fright near extremely sensitive plants, as the water could damage them.


With the dog, keep cats away

Not much needs to be said about the use of dogs as cat deterrents. Man's best friend has always had an almost comedic relationship with cats. Dogs are extremely good at keeping furry friends away, as a cat always runs away when a dog is in sight. Especially young dogs with a high hunting instinct or a pronounced play instinct are recommended here, as they do not behave like a cat. Due to the canine curiosity and the noisy way of moving compared to the velvet paw, felines avoid the animals and keep a safe distance.

Tip: Even small dog breeds like a chihuahua or dachshund are suitable for keeping a cat away. Just the barking of a dog serves as a perfect cat deterrent.

Ultrasound Devices

Ultrasonic devices as a cat deterrent

There are devices on the market that produce an ultrasonic sound that can be heard by animals and, rarely, by small children. As soon as the cat hears the sound, it gets frightened and leaves the field. Depending on the setting and the effectiveness of the device, it takes between one and two weeks before the cat no longer dares to go near the garden. Like the heron deterrent, they work via a motion detector that reacts to the cats and then generates the ultrasonic sound. They work quite effectively, are cheap and run on batteries. A disadvantage, however, is that some cats get used to the sound.

coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are avoided by cats due to the bitter smell. Since coffee is the most common drink in Germany after tea and water, the coffee grounds are a perfect anti-cat remedy. Scatter an adequate amount of coffee grounds in your beds, around shrubs and trees. Since cats always sniff the spots before marking, the coffee grounds will drive them away. It doesn't matter which coffee is used, the bitter substances are what matters. In addition, the coffee grounds fertilize your plants, which is a great advantage.

Natural fragrances

As well as coffee grounds, there are numerous spices, essential oils and vinegar to keep cats away.

This includes:

  • garlic (chopped)
  • onions (chopped)
  • pepper
  • Chili pepper or powder
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • cloves
  • Citrus plant oils
  • menthol
  • other essential oils except mint

Just spread them around your garden like coffee grounds, preferably when it's dry. Since the fragrances are natural products, they have to be redistributed like coffee grounds after a rainfall. Pepper, chili, apple cider vinegar and menthol are the most effective of the above-mentioned remedies.


Chemical anti-cat repellent

Of course, there are numerous finished products that are used as sprays, granules or liquids. The scents contained are unpleasant for the animals, but not toxic. They must also be reused after a rainfall to be effective. These are offered by Neudorff or Compo, for example.

scented plants

Scented plants: pleasant for humans, terrible for cats

Another form of defense are special scented plants that can be used effectively against cats. Simply place a specimen of the following plants in the garden to repel cats.

  • rue (Ruta graveolens): wine-like fragrance
  • cranesbills (Geranium): tart, almost unpleasant
  • lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): smells like lemon
  • various scented geraniums (Pelargonium varieties): smell of roses, lemons and other scents
  • coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides): smells like menthol

Of course, these plants are more effective when many specimens are planted to intensify the scent even more. If you want it particularly thorough, you can, for example, use a large number of rue to frame your garden. Since the cats have to step through or jump over the plant, which would mean approaching the plant, they prefer to stay away. Many of the plants mentioned above also attract bees and other insects, are medicinal herbs and inspire with their variety of colours. This allows you to add an attractive fragrance accent to your garden and at the same time have a functioning cat deterrent.

piss off plant

Behind the name Verpiss-dich-Pflanze is a harp shrub that was brought to Germany from southern Africa by the South German breeder Dieter Stegmeier and has been marketed under this name since 2001. Plectranthus ornatus, as it is botanically named, is native from Eritrea to South Africa and extends over the eastern part of the continent. The proven unpleasant smell is said to keep all forms of animals, except birds, at a distance of five meters. This effect has only been partially proven and therefore this plant should be used at random. Nevertheless, it works well as an ornamental plant in the garden.

Notice: Since the plant contains essential oils, the effect is mainly on cats. One of the most important oils of the harp tree is menthol, which cats just can't stand.


If you decide to use thorn bushes to keep cats away, you can't go far wrong. Since there are numerous attractive thorn bushes, you can even drive the animals away in style and frame your garden or special parts of your green oasis. The reason for this is the cat's paws. Compared to dogs, the pads are extremely soft and therefore even the smallest thorns or prickles in the paws hurt. Because cats use their paws to grope their way through groves and bushes, the animal will move away as soon as something stings. Therefore, you should think about creating a border of thorn bushes. The following plants are available:

  • sour thorn (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Raspberries (Rubus idaeus)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha)
  • Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
  • Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus)
  • Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
  • Sloe (Prunus spinosa)
  • Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa)
  • Wild Rose (Rosa rugosa)
  • Ornamental Quinces (Chaenomeles)

Due to their growth form and the often very strong thorns and numerous spines, they are a natural defense against cats and also ensure a wonderful sight in your own garden. You can also harvest some of the bushes in autumn and enjoy the fruits. Some specimens keep their thorns over the winter and are therefore anti-cat even in the cold season.

clean up poop

Although it is a tedious and extremely unpleasant job, remove the cat droppings as soon as you find them. Cats mark their territory with faeces, urine is more likely to be used for reproduction. That's because feces are much more resilient to the elements and therefore still useful for demarcating one's territory, even after heavy rains. If you are certain that one or more cats are using your yard as territory, clean it out daily. It often happens that a cat will no longer use your garden over time and this will not attract other four-legged friends who also want to define a territory.

Tip: Use either pet store garbage bags, which are often available for dogs, or a scoop to remove the poop. With a little water you can also thoroughly remove further traces of the faeces.

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