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How to Keep Cats Out of Flower Beds (11 Easy Methods)

a white cat sitting on a path between flower beds

Cats can tear up a flower bed if they are given free rein. While some cats don’t seem to care much about flower beds, others seem to hone in on them and can do plenty of damage.

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to keep cats out of flower beds and prevent them from using your flower beds as a personal litter box. Most of these options are quite easy and accessible – they just take a bit of foresight and planning.

Furthermore, the methods we list below are humane and won’t harm your cat. They’ll just make the flower beds a not-so-fun place for your feline to be!

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The 11 Ways to Keep Cats Out of Flower Beds:

1. Motion Sprinkler

garden water sprinkler near a flower bed
Image Credit: Peggychoucair, Pixabay

One of the most certain ways to keep a cat out of a flower bed is to install motion sprinklers. These sprinklers stay off most of the time, but when they sense motion, they switch on. If your cat wanders over to the flower bed, it’ll get exposed to a cold spray.

Since cats don’t like water, this method is quite effective. It only takes a time or two before the cats realize that they should avoid the flowers. Plus, water doesn’t hurt flowers, so it won’t harm your garden at all.

2. Hot Pepper Spray

close up of a gas pepper spray in hand
Image Credit: Valerrie, Shutterstock

Hot pepper spray is a commercial deterrent that smells spicy—a scent that felines typically do not like very much. You can also make this spray yourself at home out of peppers. However, commercial options also contain wax, which helps them stick better to the surrounding surfaces.

Of course, this spray won’t harm your flowers or the cat. It just makes the area smell quite bad to a feline’s sensitive nose, hopefully keeping them away.

3. Bitter Apple

apple bitter spray

This type of commercial spray only works if your cat likes to munch on your flowers. It is a taste deterrent. Therefore, it doesn’t really work unless your cat tastes it.

While this method won’t work all the time, it does work sometimes depending on your cat and what they’re up to in the garden.

You can find this spray online and in many pet stores. It’s a common method to keep cats from eating things they shouldn’t be.

4. Stinky Plants

lavender plant
Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay

There are several plants that cats just don’t like the smell of. When felines are presented with these smelly plants, they typically avoid them at all costs. There are many different plants that fall into this category. For example, many cats do not like the smell of lavender and will stay away as much as possible.

Any plant with strong-smelling foliage, like Russian sage, can also deter cats.

Simply plant these plants around and in your flower beds to ensure that the fragrance is in the area. Hopefully, the stinky plants should keep any cats at bay.

5. Bird Netting

a yellow flower in a bird net
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

If none of the above methods work (or you’re waiting for your stinky plants to grow), you can utilize bird netting over the flowers to keep them safe. Of course, this method isn’t preferable to others as it can mess with the aesthetics of your flowers. No one wants to gaze helplessly at their covered flower beds!

However, it can be a great temporary fix while you’re implementing other options in this list. It stops cats from accessing your flowers instantly and can protect them from other threats as well.

Preferably, though, you do want to find a different method that works so that you can uncover your flowers when possible.

6. Plant a Cat Garden

catnip plants outdoor
Image Credit: lwccts, Pixabay

Some cats are so drawn to plants that are simply deterring them from your garden won’t work. Instead, you also need to provide them with an alternative garden that they can frolic around in. In this case, we recommend planting a cat garden made with completely safe plants.

For instance, cat grass, catmint, and pansies are all great options. Cats love these plants, and they should help keep them away from the other plants in your garden. Preferably, you should plant these away from whatever plants you don’t want your cat to mess with.

7. Tape

yellow tape on a blue art paper
Image Credit: Lucas Dudek, Unsplash

Tape is a cheap option that is always worth giving a try. You probably already have tape laying somewhere around your house already. However, this method works best with window boxes and very enclosed flowers. If you simply have a patch of flowers in your yard, utilizing this method can be difficult.

Cats don’t like stepping on tape because it’s sticky. If you surround your flowers with tape, your cat will quickly learn that going in that direction only leads to sticky paws! Of course, this only works if you have something to stick the tape to – which is why window boxes are the most suitable option for this method.

If you do have potted flowers or window boxes, then we highly recommend trying tape first. It is easy to set up, plus, it works instantly.

8. Add Small Stakes

foliage and stakes of plants
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

If your cat likes laying in your flower beds, then adding small stacks can make the area uncomfortable. It can also make cats not want to walk in the area since they may step on the small stakes.

You’ll want to find stakes large enough that your cat will not walk on them but that aren’t highly visible either. You still want your flower beds to look nice, after all.

You may need to experiment to get the stakes the correct distance apart and at the right angle. Plus, some cats just won’t care about the stakes. You’ll simply have to try them out and see. Because these stakes are often extremely inexpensive, you should be able to find enough to cover your flower bed.

9. Lay Chicken Wire

a clover plant potected by chicken wire
Image Credit: bairli1, Pixabay

Try laying chicken wire about an inch underneath the surface of your flower beds. It should not be visible from above, but your cat should feel it if they walk in the area. Flowers and other small plants have no problem growing through chicken wire, though some larger plants may need a hole cut for them.

Of course, this method only works if your flowers aren’t growing yet. In fact, you should preferably do it when you’re planting.

It makes the area uncomfortable to walk in and will hopefully deter your cat from entering the bed at all.

10. Use Citrus Peel

orange peel
Image Credit: esudroff, Pixabay

Cats hate the smell of citrus. In high amounts, citrus is toxic to cats, so it only makes sense that they would be built to avoid it. Luckily, it takes a lot of citrus to make cats sick, but it’s extremely fragrant. Therefore, you can try adding citrus peels to your garden to help keep cats away.

This method is also extremely easy. You don’t have to do anything but peel some oranges and throw them into the soil. After that, your cat should hopefully avoid the area.

11. Use Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds on white background
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Similar to citrus, cats also dislike the smell of coffee grounds. Simply sprinkle your used coffee grounds into the soil and it should prevent your cat from entering the area. Don’t use too many, though, as the acidic coffee grounds can mess with the pH of your soil, potentially preventing plants from growing.

However, a little bit here and there is often enough to keep cats at bay.

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We highly recommend that you utilize multiple methods to keep cats out of your flower beds. While using a single method may work for some cats, stacking them on top of each other always works best.

For instance, try a scent deterrent as well as something that will make the area uncomfortable to walk in. Or, you can plant multiple smelly plants to help keep your cats away. Either way, the more methods you try, the higher the likelihood of your cat staying out of your flower beds!

Featured Image Credit: Marsal1, Pixabay