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Best cat repellent 2023: Keep your garden clean with our pick of the most effective cat repellents

Looking to keep cats from using your garden as a toilet? Our picks of the best cat repellents will keep your lawn clean and pristine

The best cat repellents walk the fine line of deterring cats from fouling in your garden while not causing them any harm. With animal welfare at the heart of most cat repellents these days, it’s easy to find an effective solution that keeps your conscience clear.

Whether you have a pristine lawn that you want to keep nice and green, immaculately designed flower beds, a lush and bountiful vegetable patch, or a combination of all three, there’s a cat repellent that is best for you.

So read on, and find the best cat repellents to keep your garden clear and clean.

Best cat repellent: At a glance

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How to choose the best cat repellent for you

Why do I need a cat repellent?

If you fancy yourself as green-thumbed, it can be quite disheartening to see your carefully curated garden being used as a feline outhouse. By investing in one or more of these options, you can ensure that your hard work isn’t undermined by any irreverent cats, while also protecting your plants from having their roots disturbed by digging.

What types of cat repellent are there?

As cats are skittish by nature, there are several viable options for keeping them from going to town all over your garden, some more effective than others. If you find yourself going through a lot of oranges, lemons and limes, a completely free option can be spreading the peels around your garden, as the strong citrus smell is very unpleasant for cats. If you don’t generally amass a collection of citrus fruit peels, then this probably won’t be cost-effective for you, and you’re better off opting for one of the following methods:

  • The main option you’ll see when shopping for cat deterrents is the ultrasonic emitter. These small boxes work by sensing movement and body heat to determine when a cat is approaching your garden, and then emitting an ultrasonic frequency that makes the cat feel uncomfortable enough to steer clear. They are waterproof, so suitable for all weather, and come in either battery-powered or solar-powered varieties.
  • If you keep pets in your garden, you’ll want to avoid ultrasonic emitters, as the frequency will be picked up by your pets, leaving them frightened and uncomfortable. A jet spray, on the other hand, does the job just as well, and can be positioned away from your pets, to keep them from feeling the effects. These are usually battery-powered, and require connection to a water source.
  • Strips of flexible plastic spikes are a great, low-maintenance option. These can be placed among flower beds, pots or vegetable gardens and lightly covered with soil to keep your garden looking neat. The flexible spikes are uncomfortable under-paw, discouraging cats from walking or digging in those areas. The strips are weather-resistant, so can be left year-round.
  • Dusts and granules are more high maintenance than other options, as they require you to spread them around your garden regularly, but they are usually cheaper and more eco-friendly. They can be used all year round, but are best suited to dry weather, as wet conditions or high winds will require more frequent reapplications.

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How much should I be spending on cat repellents?

As mentioned above, there is a range of options for repelling cats, so the costs vary accordingly. On the cheaper end of things, you can get the low-tech options – pepper dust and prickle strips, for instance – for under £10.

Battery-operated options, such as the ones that emit noise or spray water when they detect movement, run a little higher, usually in the £20-£30 range, and also come with the additional cost of replacing batteries.

Solar-powered options fall in a slightly higher price range, roughly £45, but negate the cost of batteries, so may prove cheaper in the long run. They are, of course, reliant on sunshine, so may not be as effective during the winter months or for areas that generally sit in the shade.

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The best cat repellents to buy in 2023

1. PestBye Jet Spray: Best for rabbit and/or guinea pig owners

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Ultrasound repellents are all well and good for an empty garden, but any hutched animals you keep outside can set off the sensors and will be made uncomfortable by the frequencies. In this case, you’re better off going with PestBye’s Jet Spray which, if positioned facing away from the hutches, will keep your garden clear without impacting your pets.

Firing a five-second burst of water when the sensor is triggered, the Jet Spray is conservative with water usage, and resets itself after every activation, minimising the need for maintenance. The sensitivity and spray arc can both be easily adjusted to suit the boundaries of your garden, covering an area of up to 100m², so you needn’t worry about accidentally spraying into your neighbours’ gardens.

Key specs – Dimensions: 71 x 20 x 7cm (HxWxD); Range: Up to 10m in a 120° arc; Batteries required: 4x AA batteries; Batteries included? No; Water source required? Yes

2. Defenders Pepper Dust: Best eco-friendly cat repellent

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

If using up batteries and water for your repellent doesn’t appeal for green reasons, Defenders’ Pepper Dust is a solid alternative that produces less waste. For your money, you get 300g of pepper dust, which can be evenly spread in the desired areas (aim for 30g per m²) thanks to the easy-use shaker cap.

You’ll need to reapply twice a week, as well as after wet or windy conditions, but otherwise, you can just leave the pepper dust to do its job. It will discourage cats from digging and fouling around plants or on the grass, and can also be used to deter them from clawing at your decking or outside furniture.

Key specs – Dimensions: 61.6 x 12 x 3cm (HxWxD); Weight: 370g; Treatment area: Up to 10m²

3. Defenders STV628 Prickle Strip: Best for flower beds and vegetable gardens

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re sick of digging in your vegetable garden looking for potatoes and coming up with something else, Defenders’ Prickle Strip could help protect you from any nasty surprises. Best suited to flower beds and vegetable gardens, these plastic strips are easy to install: just lay them along the desired area and lightly cover with soil. They can be cut to size, as well as connected to other strips to extend the area of coverage.

The flexible plastic allows plants to grow through the mesh, so you won’t have to worry about choosing between protecting your garden and your plants flourishing. Compared to other options, this one is extremely low maintenance: just lay the strips out and leave them to do their job. They’re weather- and UV-resistant as well, so will protect your patch all year round.

Key specs – Dimensions: 28.5 x 15 x 14cm (HxWxD); Weight: 324g; Treatment area: 28cm x 2m

4. PestBye Solar Cat Repeller: Best solar-powered cat repellent

Price: £37 (Pack of 2) | Buy now from Amazon

For maximum hands-off appeal and reducing your consumption of batteries, PestBye’s Solar Cat Repeller is your best bet. Coming equipped with ground stakes, these emitters sit just above the ground, right at cat height, and use an infra-red motion sensor to detect movement and body heat. Once triggered, the emitters produce a very high frequency that most humans can’t hear, startling the cat and deterring them from returning.

The emitters are fully waterproof, so can be left out in all weathers without getting damaged. It might sound obvious, but do bear in mind that these emitters rely solely on the sun for power, so they won’t be as effective overnight or during adverse weather conditions.

Key specs – Dimensions (HWD): 12.4 x 10.5 x 4.7cm; Waterproof: Yes; Treatment area: Up to 7m in an 80° arc; Batteries required: No

5. Scat Cat Mat with Spikes: Best low-maintenance cat repellent

Price: £6.99 for 12pcs | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to reinforce your flower beds, vegetable garden or even the rooftops of your home with cat-proof defences, then these Scat Cat Mats with Spikes from Your’s Bath may well be one of the easiest and cheapest options out there.

The prickles on the mat will gently irritate the feet of cats and other animals as they step, discouraging them from going in certain areas all year round since the mats are made from weather-resistant ABS plastic. Each mat in this twelve-piece pack measures 20cm by 15.5cm but you can tie them together or nail them in place (with the supplied cable ties and nails) for extra coverage and stability.

These spikes won’t work too well on a larger scale – since sneaky cats will just bypass your defences – so try to put the spikes you do have around specific target areas you want to protect, like a plant or grass area, or use them in conjunction with another cat repellent.

6. PestBye Battery Operated Cat Repellers V2: Best ultrasound cat repellent

Price: £30 (pack of 2) | Buy now from Primrose

For easy, hands-off cat repellent, PestBye’s ultrasonic emitters are the way to go. For the price, you get a pack of two emitters, each coming with a sturdy stake that holds it above the ground, right at cat level. When the detectors pick up movement and body heat, the emitters produce short, varying bursts of ultrasonic sounds, designed to shock any intruding animals, and discourage them from returning.

These emitters are low maintenance – though you will need to change the batteries from time to time – and rainproof, so will function perfectly whatever the weather. Each emitter covers ground up to 9.75m away, so can be placed strategically for protecting larger gardens.

Key specs – Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 5.2cm (HxWxD); Waterproof rating: IP44 (suitable for outdoor use); Treatment area: Up to 9.75m in a 120° arc;& Batteries required: 3x AA batteries; Batteries included: No

Buy now from Primrose

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