If your indoor cat is getting into spaces he shouldn't or outdoor felines are destroying your garden, use natural, nontoxic methods to keep them out of such off-limits areas. These safe deterrents won't harm curious kitties and will only discourage them from returning to restricted areas.
Netting and fencing garden plants can prevent your cat from accessing, walking on or eating them. Place mulch, gravel or pine cones around your plants. Cats don't like the texture of these substances and will not walk on them. Plant Coleus canina, lavender or rue around your garden. These plants naturally repel cats from the area because they smell unpleasant to them. Felines detest citrus scents and will avoid areas where they find lemon or orange peels, which can be placed around your garden. Gardening supply and pet stores sell cat repellent sprays or granules that contain the urine of cat predators, like foxes or coyotes. Spray them around any outdoor area you want to protect from cats, who will avoid the area out of the fear of a potential attack from such a predator.
Cover restricted areas like carpets, furniture and counter tops with aluminum foil, sandpaper or carpet runners, placed nub-side up. Such items make the surfaces of these areas unpleasant to walk on. You can also use double-sided tape to make a natural surface repellent for your cat. Cats don't like the sticky feel of the tape on their paws. Baby or pet gates also provide a way to restrict your cat's access to certain rooms or areas of your home.
Cats have 40 times the number of odor-sensitive cells in their noses as humans, according to PetPlace. Because of their superior smelling abilities, they are sensitive to many strongly scented or citrus-based essential oils, many of which smell pleasant to humans. Essential oils are completely natural and made from plants. Oils like citronella, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass and orange tend to repel cats when they smell them and are nontoxic. To make a homemade solution of these oils, mix one part essential oil with three parts water, recommends VetInfo. Shake the solution before use and spray it in any area, indoor or out, that you want your cat to avoid. Cotton balls can also be soaked in the essential oils and placed in areas off-limits to your cat.
Cats dislike water and the prospect of getting wet. Indoors, if you catch your cat approaching an area you want to keep him out of, give him a quick spritz of water from a spray bottle. Repeat this process until he doesn't return to the area again. For outdoor areas, you can purchase an automatic sprinkler attached to a motion sensor and place it in your garden. These sprinklers spray cats who approach an off-limits area with a harmless burst of water, discouraging them from coming back.
If you want to keep your kitty out of your garden to prevent damage to plants but want to allow him limited access to an outdoor area, consider planting a "cat garden" in your yard. Grow catnip and barley grass in a patch of your yard to attract cats specifically to that area and encourage them to avoid the other parts that are off-limits.
Never use mothballs or other harmful substances to repel your cat from off-limits areas indoors or other outdoor cats away from your home. Moth balls don't contain natural chemicals and contact with them can cause sickness, nausea and lethargy; ingestion can be fatal in cats, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. These substances can also cause illness in people or other animals. While essential oils are safe to spray around cats, never spray or apply them directly to your cat's coat as they can be toxic if absorbed through the skin, according to the Holisticat website.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.