You finally got your garden looking exactly the way you want it. Flowers are planted and the shrubs are trimmed perfectly. Your enjoyment wanes as you catch the tell-tale whiff of cat urine nearby. Neighborhood cats are using your bushes to relieve themselves. You don’t want to harm the kitties, but you certainly don’t want them ruining your shrubs. So, what do you do?
The ingredient in cayenne peppers that makes them hot is capsaicin. Because cats have a highly developed sense of smell, the heat of cayenne peppers is offensive to them. To take advantage of this natural cat repellent, sprinkle cayenne pepper liberally on your shrubs. Do this when the wind is completely calm. You don’t want cayenne pepper in your face. Another solution is mixing lemon juice with water and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle and use it on your shrubs. You also can make a dust for your shrubs out of two cups cayenne pepper, three cups mustard and five cups flour. Mix the dry ingredients together and put in a container with a shaker lid so you can apply whenever the need arises.
Commercial Cat Repellant
Purchase a commercially prepared cat repellent at the local pet store or lawn & garden shop. These repellents are available in dry granular forms that have ingredients targeting a cat’s natural fears of predators by using the urine of other animals, like bobcats, coyotes and foxes. Deterrents are available in liquid sprays too. If you prefer natural approaches to keeping cats from urinating on your shrubbery, buy sprays that are made with pungent natural oils, like citronella, garlic and lime.
The scent of eucalyptus oil is so strong it easily repels cats who try to use your garden as a litter box. An added benefit of making an eucalyptus oil spray for your bushes is the fresh aroma it leaves behind. Unlike cayenne pepper, eucalyptus doesn’t discolor your shrubs. Mix one teaspoon of pure eucalyptus essential oil with a quart of water and pour into a spray bottle. Since the oil will rise to the top of the bottle, shake it vigorously each time before you spray.
Tea leaves also are unappealing to cats. Sprinkle loose tea all around the ground and all over your bushes to keep the cats at bay. It doesn't matter if the tea is used or not. This is an effective means of recycling your tea bags. Another trick is to mix the skins of citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit, with the tea leaves and scatter it on your shrubs. To maximize the citrus smell, put the skin in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to chop up the peel.
Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.