Spices That Deter Cats

By Jane Meggitt

If cats digging in your garden or wandering through your yard are driving you crazy, deter them with spices ranging from the commonplace to the exotic. Indoors, you can place some spices in sachets to keep Kitty away from certain places, without dealing with loose spices scattered on the floor or furniture.

An Orange a Day Keeps the Cat Away

Cats don't like the smell of citrus. Although it's most effective to use peels in the garden, that's not practical to keep Kitty away from items around the house. Various citrus spices can do the trick indoors and emit a pleasant aroma for non-feline olfactories.

Lemon Thyme

Although dried lemon thyme is a spice, you're better off planting the herb in your garden to keep cats away. If that's not feasible, try sprinkling the spice in a test area to see if cats leave the spot alone. The citrus-like odor may deter them.


If you're familiar with Middle Eastern or Indian dishes and spices, you may have heard of asafetida. This strong spice -- more pungent than garlic or onion -- is used as a canine and feline repellent. It's likely to also keep rabbits or deer away from your plants.

Spicy Cat Deterrent Spray

Mixing a few spices along with other natural cat-repellent ingredients and water may deter even the most difficult felines. One recipe consists of:

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 or 4 drops of citrus essential oil

Place the ingredients in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray it in and around your garden. Mix up a new batch and spray again after every rainstorm.

Cayenne and Mustard

A dry formula to deter cats consists of three simple ingredients. Mix together:

  • 3 part dry mustard
  • 2 parts cayenne pepper
  • 5 parts flour

Sprinkle the mix around the area you want to remain cat-free. Repeat the process after it rains.