How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard: Tips and Tricks

When cats invade your yard, they can destroy plants, dig up the soil, and leave their business everywhere. If you’re dealing with a cat problem, there are several things you can do to keep them out.

This list will help you choose the best method for keeping cats out of your yard so you can take back your outdoor space.

1. Install Cat-Proof Fencing

How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard

The most common type of cat-proof fencing is a simple fence made of wire mesh. This fence will prevent cats from entering your yard by creating a physical barrier they cannot climb over or squeeze through.

Adding horizontal roll bars across the top of an existing fence will make it cat-proof. The roll bars prevent cats from getting a good grip on the fence, making it impossible for them to climb over.

You can also install plastic or rubber blunt-edged spikes on top of an existing fence to deter cats. These spikes will not harm the cats, but they will make it uncomfortable for them to perch on the fence, discouraging them from entering your yard.

2. Use Scat Mats

Scat mats are mats that have a sticky surface or spines that protrude from them. When a cat steps on the mat, the adhesive or spines will cause discomfort, deterring the cat from entering the area.

Sticky scat mats are ideal for furniture, window sills, and ledges where cats like to perch. It is best to use spiky scat mats around the perimeter of your yard, on the ground.

3. Plant Cat-Repellent Flowers and Herbs

How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard

Each of these plants has a scent that is offensive to cats, making them an excellent natural way to keep them away from your yard:

  • Lavender
  • Rue
  • Rosemary
  • Citronella
  • Pennyroyal
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Geranium

When planted in pots or on the grounds around the perimeter of your yard, the potent scent of these plants make them plants cats hate.

4. Use an Ultrasonic Device

How To Keep Cats Out of Your Yard

Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sound waves undetectable to humans but very bothersome to animals.

There are motion-activated and infrared ultrasonic devices available that will emit a loud noise when a cat enters your yard, effectively scaring them away.

Motion-activated devices detect movement and emit a loud noise, while infrared devices activate based on heat signatures that detect when an animal is present.

Cats may become accustomed to motion-activated devices and will evade them once they learn that their movement will trigger the noise. If you choose a motion device, move it around your yard occasionally to keep the cats from getting used to its location. 

Infrared devices are often more effective because they activate even when the cat is not moving.

5. Use a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Motion-activated sprinklers spray a burst of water when it detects movement. Most cats dislike getting wet and will avoid areas once they know a sprinkler is there. After getting sprayed a few times, they will stay away from your yard altogether.

There are motion-activated available that also emit an ultrasonic sound, which will further help to keep cats away. Place them around the perimeter of your yard to create a barrier that cats will not want to cross.

6. Apply a Commercial Repellent

Commercial repellents are available in granular, spray, and liquid forms. They contain ingredients that deter cats, such as citrus, cinnamon, or mint oils.

To use a granular repellent, sprinkle it around the perimeter of your yard. For a spray repellent, apply it to areas where cats like to congregate, such as ledges, benches, and fence posts.

Liquid repellents are usually applied with a hose-end sprayer to treat large areas. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.

To maintain effectiveness, you should reapply repellents after it rains or every few weeks.

7. Set Up a Live Trap

Trap Neuter Return (TNR) is the most effective long-term solution for reducing the number of stray and feral cats. It involves humanely trapping cats, spaying or neutering them, and returning them to their outdoor home.

TNR stabilizes the size of the cat population by preventing future litters. Cats with their left ear clipped have already been spayed or neutered as part of a TNR program.

If you have a problem with stray or feral cats in your neighborhood, contact your local animal shelter or TNR organization to learn how to get started.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your yard free of food, water, and shelter, along with implementing repellents, will discourage cats from visiting. Remember to be patient, as it may take some time for the deterrents to be effective.

When using one or more of these methods, consistency is critical. Cats are intelligent and tenacious, so if you give up too soon, they’ll keep coming back.

By following these tips, you can keep cats out of your yard and enjoy your outdoor space in peace.