Unusual smell ‘cats hate’ to deter them from garden – it’s not citrus or chilli

Not everyone has a positive relationship with cats in the garden, and many living in urban or suburban areas, who are not cat owners, consider it a nuisance for the furry friend to visit their outside space, and poo in flower beds. 

There are many commercial products available to deter cats, but they’re not as effective as the manufacturers would have you believe. 

Some are also highly toxic to children and animals and contain pesticides that can affect soil and plant quality. 


Strong-smelling substances that cats don’t like are often recommended such as citrus peels, coffee grinds, chilli powder and pepper, but these typically need replenishing every few days, particularly after rain. 

A more unusual suggestion is urine, as many explained on Mrs Hinch’s Cleaning Group on Facebook. 

Jayne Blockley said: “Man’s wee diluted (yes sounds awful ) but it works for [deterring] badgers and foxes also ….” Sammy Searle chimed: “Get a boy of any age to pee around the garden, they hate it.”

Paul added: “Heard a lovely story about someone who had a similar problem. He had a friend who worked in the local zoo and managed to collect some of the waste fluids from the Big Cat’s cages. Sprinkled it around and never had the problem again! Don’t know if it’s true but you never know!!!” 

Dawn said: “A friend of mine had a small holding and she use to [wee] in a bucket and pour it around the outskirt of her barn, it worked for her!” 

Barbara Single Elliot said: “Gross but works. I have my teenage boy wee in the garden once a week – no cats or foxes. They don’t like the smell.”

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Grace Shaw commented: “If you have a male in the house, get them to pee in a bottle first thing in the morning and use that around your garden as a deterrent – the pest control guy told me this and I can confirm it is effective!”

The scent of dog urine is also said to be as effective to deter cats from gardens. 


Cats have sensitive paws, so making the ground uncomfortable for them is a deterrent. 

The most effective method to stop cats from pooing on flowerbeds is to net each bed, but this takes time and money. 

Another approach is to place spiked objects – like small sticks – into the flower bed but cats are extremely good at navigating obstacles. 

Trimmings from spiky plants also work well such as roses or hawthorns as it makes it uncomfortable for a cat to dig. 

When it comes to mulching flowerbeds, do not use bark chippings as Pests Banned said they “closely resemble litter and provide the perfect space and opportunity for cats to relieve themselves. In addition, it is fairly easy for cats to poop in bark chippings.” 

Instead, slate chippings are “larger than bark chippings and more pointed”. 

“Therefore, standing on the slate chippings and pooping is quite an uncomfortable experience, so cats avoid doing it.” 

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