How To Keep Cats Out Of Outdoor Potted Plants?

We may receive commissions when you buy through links on our site.

Cats have this strange affinity toward plants. It is hilarious the way they sniff at certain grass species and even chew parts off them. Some say they do munch on herbs when they feel sick. Cats choose flower beds and muddy areas for doing their business even.

Though whatever your cats do is cute and funny, once they wander off into your garden of newly planted vegetables, fruits and flowers, it could get on your nerves. So, how to keep cats out of outdoor potted plants?

You have kept some lemon and spice seedlings growing in pots kept on the balcony or hanging by the railings of your terrace, and curious cats go sniffing on them. You don’t want to be in a kitty’s bad books by shooing it off. In fact, there are lots of ways to keep cats at bay from potted plants.

This article will walk you through some of the most interesting ways to ward them off. Each cat has its own habits and personality, therefore, one trick may not work well for all types of cats. So you might have to mix and match several ways in to get the maximum results.


What do the cats do in your absence?

While you are away for work or studies, your cats might be engaged in lots of activities that might leave you horrified when you come back. So it is better if you keep the activities in check and let them know who the boss is.

Cats are curious by nature so they search and explore, and digging is a sure-fire way of being able to find wriggly worms or other priceless treasures underneath the soil surface.

Not only out of curiosity, but cats also prefer to defecate and urinate in the soil of a garden area in particular, out of instinct. They dig holes in the ground before they do their business. They also chew on the colorful leaves or stems. This affects the plants almost immediately because those are the life supports of a baby plant.

Cats are usually drawn to potted flowering plants, and not the non-flowering ones. It is something about colors that attract them. While plants like lemongrass and cat grass are safe for plants to munch on, once in a while, flowering plants like crocuses, lilies and daffodils are toxic to these adorable felines.

No matter where you live, in the urban, suburban or rural areas, cats are everywhere. They might be your pet cats or stray cats, but there is a huge chance that your plants are being sniffed at.

So what are some of the ways to keep cats at bay without harming them? The discussions coming up should definitely be able to solve your problem.


10 Tips to Keep Cats Out of Outdoor Potted Plants

1. Orange peels:

Peel an orange and place the peals neatly around the seedlings on top of the pot. Cats may like certain fruits like peaches or cantaloupes because of the nutrients present in them or the smell of the fruits might appeal to them.

However, any kind of citrus smell is not to their liking—they find it overpowering. Oranges, and fruits that are high in Vitamin C, bear a strong citrus smell and work great at keeping the cats away from plants.

2. Stones or pebbles:

Fill your plant pots with pebbles or stones. Your cats will not be able to dig into this at least. Your plants would keep looking nice and you can continue watering your plants.

3. Lolly sticks:

Stick lolly or ice-cream sticks inside the mud around the seedlings or newly planted seeds. If you do not have lolly sticks, you can do the same thing with chopsticks or plastic forks.

This will prevent your kitties from digging into the soil, which would otherwise completely ruin the planting. The idea is that once the cats get pricked by these objects, they would never come near the potted plants anymore.

Stick the lolly sticks half into the ground so that your cats will not be able to walk all over your plants. The plants will have plenty of room to grow even after you have surrounded them with sticks, so you would not need to worry about anything.

4. Hanging plants:

If you have succulents or cactus that you do not want your cats to chew on because they might be toxic or harmful, then you can hang them in hanging baskets. They do not only look pretty but in this way, you are keeping your plants out of the reach of cats.

5. Shiny and sticky:

Cut off thin pieces of aluminum or tin foil and place the pieces on the soil and on the ground near the potted plants. Cats do not like treading on shiny or slippery surfaces, thus you can keep your plants safe.

Alternatively, you can make the surfaces near the pots sticky by using double-sided tapes or boiled rice. Rub the sticky sides of tapes on the ground, or take some sticky white rice and smother them on the ground.

Cats do not like to walk on sticky surfaces at all, so once they have realized the sticky situation they will do anything to get out of it.

6. Give them an alternative:

You can think of a win-win situation. You can let your cat keep chewing while keeping your precious potted plants safe. How so? Get them another plant to chew on.

It could be the reason why your cats are chewing on green leaves so much is that they are sick or would like to go vegetarian for a little while. So why not get him some cat-friendly grass to munch on?

Lemongrass and cat-grass are harmless for cats to chew on and will also satisfy their chewing habits. Catnips are also good. They are readily available in any plant store or pet shop.

7. Use catrepel fragrances:

There are certain forms of smell that humans adore, cats hate. Cats are very sensitive beings, quite fussy and choosy about what they like and what they don’t. They are particular about smelling things too.

While on one hand, they might love sniffing on your flowers, they will dislike smells coming from grounded coffee beans, cayenne pepper, black pepper and lemon juice. Spray or place them around your garden or particularly near those plants your cats find irresistible. After that, stand still and wait for the results.

8. Reward them:

Reward your cats with special treats or petting, whenever you observe them walking away from your plants, or not urinating or defecating on or near them.

That means the methods you have been using to keep the cats away from your plants have started to work, and your cats have finally learned their lesson, so it is definitely time to give them a treat.

Once the cats understand they get treats for not going near the plants, they will stay away from the plants. That also means you would need to get more treats.

9. Use motiondetecting sprinkler systems:

Cats do not like a lot of things—one of them is water. This is the same reason why they do not like taking a bath or treading on wet surfaces.

You can take advantage of this by installing a sprinkler system in the middle of your garden. The moment the machine will detect the movement of soft paws and twitching whiskers approaching, they will activate and start sprinkling water at your kitties.

10. Ultrasonic repellers:

They are known to keep bugs, pests, and unwelcome animals at bay by generating high-frequency sounds. They are not very expensive to install and last for 3-4 years.



Q.1) Which plants are harmful and which are harmless for cats?

Ans: The following plants are harmful to cats—lilies like gladiola, stargazer, tulip and wood lily, autumn crocuses, daffodils, ferns, aloe vera, cactus, succulents, and jade plants. Please note they are not the only ones, there are more.

If you have cats and dogs in your house, before you get a potted plant for your indoor decoration, consult a vet.

Plants that are okay to be chewed at by cats include catnip, silver vine, cat thyme, lemongrass (lemongrass essential oil however could be toxic), cat grass, rosemary, parsley, valerian, spider plant, calendula, cat’s claw, dandelion, among others.

Notice how many of the cat-friendly plants have the word “cat” preceding them.

Q.2) Is cayenne pepper spray a good way of keeping cats away from plants?

Ans: Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in half a cup of water, and mix the two well. Then pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray the contents on the soil and on the plant leaves.

The mixture will be absorbed by the stems and leaves of the plants, therefore, the plants may grow a dark color over time, but it will not harm the plant. Your cat will walk by, sniff, grimace, and walk away, never to come near it again. It works that effectively!


Final Word

Cats are cute and their playfulness is contagious. But there are certain cat habits that are not welcome—no it is not scratching furniture this time, it is sniffing and digging at the pots of your outdoor plants! How to keep cats out of outdoor potted plants is a dilemma many gardeners and pet-lovers still have to solve.

This article has outlined ten different ways of keeping cats away from your outdoor garden. Some of the effective ones include spraying lemon juice, orange juice or cayenne pepper mixture in and around the potted plants. Installing automatic sprinklers or mechanical repellers might do the trick too.

Leave a Comment