Plants that repel cats – such as citronella and common rue – should be grown in our gardens because of how much damage these furry animals can cause.

Plants That Repel Cats

They can step on young seedlings, shed flowers by stroking them, and poop everywhere, attracting bugs.

This article sheds light on the best repellent plants in your garden to keep cats away. So, continue reading!

Best Plants That Repel Cats

1. Citronella

Citronella, known by the scientific name Cymbopogon nardus, is one of the popular members of the Geranium family. It is also known as the “Mosquito plant” because of how effectively it deters mosquitos and other pests. The reason is that this plant has a strong citrusy smell which is not liked by pests and cats. Check out its benefits.

Green Leaves of Citronella Plants


– Benefits

Citronella has a lot of health benefits for us. It is super effective against respiratory and kidney complications because of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Citronella leaves also have healing properties. So, applying their powder to the wounds can lead to faster recovery.

In addition, mosquitoes hate how Citronella plants smell. So, they are an effective mosquito repellent too. This can prevent you from mosquito-bite diseases like dengue, malaria, etc. Furthermore, Animals (like Cats) are also not fond of the scent and prefer not to go near them, which protects your garden.

– Uses

The main use of growing Citronella plants is to stop pests. You can grow the plants in different spots, so insects and cats don’t go into your gardens and wreak havoc.

Cats hate this plant because of its scent. It would help if you first crushed the leaves and flowers of Citronella. Then, mix it up with water to make a repellent mixture and spray it on the other garden plants.

Citronella plants are also used in bakery items because of their unique scent. The popular ones are cakes and pastries. You can also add the leaves to a salad to diversify the taste. Citronella leaves are also used to make herbal tea to treat fevers and infections.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Citronella plant leaves are longer and greener than a typical leaf. They give off a citrusy smell which is very similar to a lemon. Some people even confuse this plant with lemongrass because of how similar both look. However, there are some notable differences. The base of the stem of lemon grass is green, while it is magenta or red in the case of Citronella.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Citronella plant is its slightly pinkish to purplish flowers, which look beautiful. If you grow this plant in optimal conditions, it can easily go up to 4 feet. The stem stays rigid, so they are perfect pot plants.

2. Common Rue

Rue, scientifically known as Ruta Graveolens, is a member of the evergreen shrub family Rutaceae. People used it as a medicinal herb in the past, and now they are also used to repel cats. Gardens love this plant because it demands very little from them. It can be grown on any soil, even rocky. It is also drought tolerant, so the plant will stay in the same shape if you miss watering.

Yellow Flowers of Common Rue

The rue plant is now famous because of its scented leaves that give off a fragrant aroma. However, they are bitter in taste, so if you ever try to consume them, you will most probably gag and spit out.

– Benefits

Common Rue or Ruta Graveolens has medicinal properties, which is why it is used in herbal medicines to cure fever and respiratory issues. But you must be careful, as touching its sap can cause skin irritation and sunburn-like allergies. Rue plant flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators to the garden, which benefits other plants.

– Uses

Rue plants are mostly grown to repel pests and unwanted animals like cats. It is because these creatures hate the way this plant smells and tastes. In addition, Rue plant leaves and flowers are used in Nosegay bouquets. They don’t have much medicinal significance. Historically, ancient people used their leaves to stimulate menstruation, but science has yet to back this. They don’t also have any culinary uses because of their unpleasant taste.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The leaves are bluish-green in appearance and look fern-like. The flowers are in clusters and are yellowish (but they don’t look very pretty).

It is also very simple to grow Rue plants in the gardens because they do not have many demands. However, well-drained soil and good sunlight will let them achieve their growth potential. The plant can grow up to 3.3 feet if you take care of its watering and fertilization properly.

3. Pennyroyal

This is one of the smallest members in the group and belongs to the family of mint. Its scientific name is Mentha pulegium, famously known as Pudding Grass. Its native origins are considered in Europe and the Middle East, but now it can be grown almost everywhere to repel cats. Please have a look at its benefits.

Blooming Pennyroyal Flowers

– Benefits

Pennyroyal has a lot of beneficial agents (like antioxidants), which is why it is used in herbal medicines for colds, fever, pox, cramps, migraines, and other health complications. Consuming this plant is also an excellent way of dealing with oxidative stress in the body. In addition, you can also apply crushed Pennyroyal if you have skin allergies. Furthermore, Pennyroyal leaves have been anciently used to abort the pregnancy.

– Uses

You can use Pennyroyal leaves to make herbal tea. It is highly effective in getting rid of fatigue and boosting energy levels. The leaves are widely used as a flavoring agent. Chefs add leaf powder or oil to make desserts like cakes.

Cats and insects don’t like how Pennyroyal smells. So, these plants are grown in gardens for protection from pests. In the past, humans used to crush the leaves and put them near their beds to protect themselves from mosquitoes. African villagers still follow this practice to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Depending upon the cultivars, Pennyroyal can be hairless or densely hairy. The leaves are oval, and the stem is short (on average, just 10 inches). The flowers are pale purple which blooms in the late summer. Another distinguishing trait of Pennyroyal is that when you crush its leaves, they will give off a strong odor similar to spearmint.

4. Coleus Canina

Coleus Canina or Plectranthus caninus is native to India and Southeastern Africa. It is also famously known as the Scaredy Cat plant among gardeners. As the name suggests, it is a powerful cat deterrent plant that keeps furry pets away.

Colorful Leaves of Coleus Canina

Just like Pennyroyal, it is also from the Mint family. Some people might not like this one because it gives off a stinky order which some have called “Urine-like.” But despite how bad it smells, it can keep all insects, pests, and animals away from your other garden plants.

– Benefits

It does not have many health benefits. However, some people have claimed that applying Coleus Canina oil on the skin is beneficial against skin irritations. It has also been used for breathing problems in the past too.

– Uses

This plant’s leaves and flowers are crushed and mixed with water to make repellent oils. This oil is sprayed on plants to protect them from pests and cats. In addition, this cat-repellent plant has no culinary or other use.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The Scaredy Cat plant has grayish-green oval leaves. The flower color is violet-blue (which is unique). The average size of this plant is 2 feet, but if you do everything right with its gardening, it can go above.

5. Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme, also known by the name Citrus Thyme, is a member of the Lamiaceae family. Its scientific name is Thymus × Citriodorus, which indicates that it is a hybrid.

Pink Flowers of Lemon Thyme

Thyme is particularly famous for its scent, which is similar to lemon. Gardeners also love it because of its small size and easy requirements. It can be easily grown in pots and transported anywhere in the garden because of its lightweight nature. Have a look at some more benefits.

– Benefits

This plant contains Thymol, which is clinically proven effective against fungal diseases. Similarly, this plant also has caracole, borneol, and geraniol, which have antiseptic properties. The antioxidants in Thyme can also stop the cancer cells from spreading in the body.

In addition, the vitamin A in this plant is good for eyes and skin health. This plant’s vitamin C also strengthens immunity and helps the body fight viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, the minerals in this plant maintain blood pressure levels and protect heart health.

– Uses

Many insects and almost every cat do not like how Thyme smells. So, they are strategically placed in the garden to protect the plants. Fresh Thyme leaves also make cooking fun. They can diversify the taste and add a unique aroma. You can add them to make soups, stews, and desserts. Also, Thyme sprigs make the perfect garnish as well. Moreover, gardeners grow Thyme in different spots because its flower attracts pollinators.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

It appears to be a shrub. It has tiny glossy green leaves which turn grayish when dried. It also has different flower colors- whitish pink and Lavender. The flowers are also small and appear in the form of clusters.

6. Curry Plant

The Curry plant, or Murraya koenigii, is native to the Mediterranean. People remember it because of its unique name, but companies love it for its commercial importance. With the flowers, companies extract oil that is in high demand everywhere.

Yellow Flowers of Curry Plant

But this Curry herb is worth much more. You can grow it in pots and use them as cat repellants. However, this plant is sensitive to wind and drought, so you will have to take extra care of them the whole time.

– Benefits

Curry plant oil has health-promoting agents to help you stay healthy. It has antifungal agents that protect you from fungal diseases. Similarly, the anticoagulant properties thin the blood and maintain its pressure. As a result, heart health is improved. These properties can also break down any clot and prevent bleeding. You can also apply Curry herb oil on the burned, cut, or chafed skin and speed up recovery. It will also moisturize the skin and help it glow.

– Uses

Curry flowers are used to make herbal tea for coughs, fever, and pneumonia. They are also now used to make ice creams and baking goods. Furthermore, companies are also now using this plant to make chewing gum.

The leaves of this herb plant can be added to salads to enrich the taste. Its uses in British cuisine are increasing as a flavoring agent. In addition, we now also have Curry plant perfumes.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

A young Curry plant looks like lavender, but you can easily distinguish it when it matures. These plants are usually 2 feet tall and have white to yellowish flowers in clusters. The leaves are small in size and oval in shape with narrow or tapered ends. Another distinguishing point of this plant is that when you crush the leaves, they give off a curry-like odor.

7. Rosemary

Rosemary, or Rosemarinus officinalis, is one of today’s most famous gardening plants. It is a perennial plant that is from the mint family. Like many other plants in this family, it can deter cats and keep the garden safe from other unwanted “creatures” as well.

Evergreen Rosemary in Garden

Rosemary also has very few requirements. It thrives best in neutral and alkaline soil but can also grow in slightly acidic ones. Furthermore, it is light in weight, so you can bring the pot back to your home if the weather changes.

– Benefits

Rosemary plants have top medicinal properties. The vitamin C in them supports the immune system to help fight off “invaders.” Antioxidants and minerals in this plant are also helpful in detoxifying the body from harmful elements. Historically, Rosemary has also been used for indigestion, breathing problems, and migraines.

– Uses

Rosemary leaves are one of the most delicious ones you can eat. That is why they are used as garnishes for meats and seafood. You can also sprinkle them on salads and baked potatoes.

Gardeners use Rosemary to protect the plants. Putting the Rosemary plants near the beds will ward off cats. They are also an excellent insect repellant, and you will notice that the gnats, mosquitos, and fleas population has decreased when you start growing them in the garden. You can also make Rosemary leaf tea, a good option for coughs.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Rosemary plants have many tiny needle-like leaves, which are gray to green. They also have two-lipped bluish-purplish flowers that emit a sweet aroma. The plant is usually 3.3 feet tall and looks like a green shrub from far off.

8. Catnip

Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is an easy-to-grow plant that does not repel cats. They attract them. So, why is this plant included? Well, most cat-repellent plants work on 70 percent of cats, while the remaining 30 percent can still damage the plants.

Small Flowers of Catnip

So, gardeners outwit the cats by planting Catnips in different spots (specifically at the garden gate and on the beds) so that cats only stay near them and do not go near other plants. You can also place the litter box near Catnip plants, so cats don’t poop in your garden.

– Benefits

Catnip contains flavonoids and phenolic acids, which kill cancer-causing agents in the body and reduce oxidative stress. The caffeic acid in this plant boosts energy levels and makes people feel active. Furthermore, Rosmarinic acid in it lowers cholesterol and reduces the chances of Atherosclerosis. It is effective against stomach ulcers as well.

– Uses

Catnip is added to make Catnip tea, which is a famous herbal remedy. It can reduce cramps, induce menstruation, and support overall health. Catnip is also added to make beverages. It has a grassy taste that goes well with the lemon. In addition, the dried Catnip leaves make good toys for cats.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Catnip stems are square and can grow up to 2 inches. The leaves are toothed and almost 1 inch in size. Catnip also has tiny white-purple flowers, which attract bees and butterflies.

9. Lavender

Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, is a herbaceous perennial plant that looks stunning because of its elegant flowers. In addition to beautifying your garden, this plant can deter cats due to its scent. However, growing the Lavender plant from seed takes work. So, it is advised to buy the young seedlings and then transfer them to pots.

Lavender Blossoms in Field

– Benefits

Lavender includes antioxidants that can speed up the healing process of wounds. Applying the Lavender oil can also get rid of acne and inflammation.

The anti-inflammatory agents in this plant are also beneficial for those who have asthma. Furthermore, its antifungal properties are also effective against athlete’s foot fungal disease.

– Uses

Lavender is mostly used to make oil, which people purchase for medicinal purposes. Cosmetic industries also use it because it is good for the skin. Lavender plants can also be used for cooking sauces, soups, and desserts because of their floral smell and minty taste. Lavender perfumes are also in high demand.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Lavender plants appear like spreading shrubs. They have gray-green linear leaves and purplish-blue flowers on the shoots or spikes.


Your efforts to make your garden beautiful can only be successful if you let cats roam. The above-discussed nine plants are effective in repelling cats.

Here’s the bottom line of the article:

So, grow these repellant plants to keep the cats away!

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