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Whether you want to keep your cat out of dangerous plants and wires or you’re hoping to deter feral ones marking your flower beds, there’s a cat repellent for every situation. From ultrasonic deterrents to motion-activated sensors to cat-safe bitter sprays, there are tons of options.
To help you find the best one for your needs, here's our roundup of the best cat repellents.
Best Overall: Pet MasterMind Cat Spray
Natural, plant-based ingredients
Reviews say it may not work for all cats
If you’re tired of coming home to find your favorite couch has been transformed into a scratching post, Pet MasterMind Cat Spray is the answer you’ve been looking for. This non-staining spray uses natural, plant-based ingredients to deter your cat from scratching where they shouldn’t. Its ingredients include jasmine, passionflower, and cat pheromones, so you can rest easy knowing that your furniture is safe—and so is your cat. Just spray it directly on whatever item or area you’d like your cat to avoid, and the product will begin working immediately.
Customers write that the Pet MasterMind Cat Spray works wonders. It gets most cats to stop scratching immediately, and most people aren’t bothered by the smell. It’s equally effective at getting cats to stop marking, and continues working for several days after the initial spray. There were a few reviews, however, that did mention it does not always work for all cats—some even like the smell.
Best Spray: PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent
Safe and odor-free
Only meant for indoor use
If you want a great deterrent in the form of a convenient spray, we’re fans of PetSafe’s SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent. This spray is motion-activated, detecting when your pet comes within three feet of it and spraying automatically—saving you the effort of remembering to re-spray an area to keep your cat away. Each bottle is good for 80 to 100 sprays, and the formula is safe and odor-free. It’s one of the easiest and smartest ways of setting boundaries for your cat, whether you want to keep them off a certain piece of furniture or out of a specific room of your house.
PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent earns raves from buyers, who write that it has stopped their cats from scratching or eliminating in inappropriate places. The motion sensor is reliable, and the bottle can be cheaply replaced when it’s depleted (rather than buying an entirely new unit). Although it's only meant for indoor use, some buyers say it works outside sometimes as well (some customers have even used it to keep raccoons at bay).
Best Outdoor: Nature's Mace Cat Repellent
Safe to use around children, pets, and wildlife
Works both in and outdoors
Some reviews report a strong odor
If you’ve been having trouble with the neighborhood strays or just want to keep your cat away from a certain area outside, try an outdoor repellent, like Nature’s Mace. This concentrate can be sprayed outdoors and makes anything it comes in contact with unappealing to a cat’s sense of smell and taste. It’s ideal for lawns and yards, but can also be used in a basement. It’s safe to use around people and plants (including vegetables) and is sold in ready-to-use spray bottles as well as larger containers of solutions.
Owners write that Nature’s Mace Cat Repellent actually works, keeping strays away even after they’ve been marking an area for weeks. While you do have to reapply for the product to stay effective, it’s an easy solution to an annoying, smelly problem.
Best for Garden: Repellex Systemic Animal Repellent Tablets
For a wide range of animals
Can be deposited directly into the ground
Can remain active for an entire year
Can be tricky to judge how much is needed
Can't be used with edible plants
Not only can cats cause a lot of destruction to your garden, but some plants are toxic to your furry friend. If you specifically need to keep your cat out of your garden, Systemic Animal Repellent Tablets should do the trick. While this repellent is rated for a wide range of animals, including deer and rodents, it’s also effective with cats. The product uses capsaicin, a natural component of chili peppers, to keep unwanted snackers at bay. The tablets should simply be buried next to growing plants, and absorb into their root system to remain active for an entire year. One 150-count bottle treats between 75 and 120 plants, although the number of tablets required depends on the size of each plant.
Systemic Animal Repellent Tablets have put an end to unwanted munching and have no adverse effect on a plant’s ability to grow. Just be aware that it should only be used with flowers and ornamentals, not anything you intend to eat as the capsaicin will affect the taste.
Best for Furniture: Sticky Paws Furniture Strips
Can be applied to any piece of furniture
Must be replaced every couple of months
Your cat provides endless love and affection, but that doesn’t mean you have to love when she ruins that new couch with her claws. Destructive cat scratching can be your brand new couch’s worst enemy, but Sticky Paws Furniture Strips are a great solution. Most cats hate the feeling of sticky or tacky material, so when they try to touch the legs of your couch and feel the Sticky Paws Furniture Strips, they will be immediately turned off. These adhesive training aides can be applied to any piece of furniture or carpet safely and discourages your fuzzy friend from pawing and clawing. Each package contains 24 single-use strips that measure 2 x 24 inches. The strips should be replaced every few months and are totally transparent so they won’t ruin the look of your couch.
Owners love this product because it’s safe for furniture and cats and eventually trains the cat to stay away, even when the tape isn’t there.
Best Indoor: PetSafe Indoor Radio Fence for Cats and Dogs
Can help you set boundaries for your home
Uses tone and static to keep cats away
Must buy extra devices for larger coverage
Whether you want to keep your feline escape artist away from the front door or would prefer your cat not to sneak into the nursery while baby's asleep, this radio fence can help you set boundaries for your home. It's compatible with the PetSafe receiver collar to remind your cat to stay out of the off-limit area. When your cat comes within 10 feet of the device it will send a tone and then a small stimulation to the cat’s collar to remind her to stay away. It will protect up to 20 feet diameter around the device, but you can increase the protection zone with additional transmitters.
What to Look for in Cat Repellent
When purchasing a cat repellent, you’ll first want to think about whether you need an indoor or outdoor product—or one that can be used in both locations. Certain products can only be used indoors, and others may need to be plugged into an electric outlet.
Are you trying to keep feral cats out of your backyard or just trying to keep your crafty kitty off the kitchen counter? Some cat repellents are designed to cover small areas—a few feet, at most—while others can cover up to 5,000 square feet or more.
If you’re using a cat repellent to deter a certain behavior, such as scratching furniture or chewing on houseplants, you may want a product that’s specially tailored to your specific situation. For instance, there are sticky sheets you can put on furniture or foul-tasting sprays to help protect your plants.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Ashley Knierim, a freelance writer with over ten years of experience. She's written for The Spruce Pets since 2017, and has covered everything from pet food delivery services to animal adoption agencies. For this list, she considered each pick's coverage area, a cat's behavior, and whether the product is suited for indoor or outdoor use.