Skip to Content

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

We’re not the only ones who love a beautiful garden. Our kitties do, too. No matter how much we adore felines – they can be stubborn. And they love digging. There are natural ways to keep them out of your piece of heaven on earth, but there’s one we hear about most often. So, does cayenne pepper keep cats away, or is it just a myth?

We know how frustrating it can be when your garden is the favorite playground of the neighboring cats. It’s not wrong to think of the ways you can keep them out of your pride and joy. Of course, there’s always a safe way to do so, and luckily there’s a natural one, too!

Whether the little fur rebels are ruining your favorite plants or scaring your feline companion, it’s good to keep them away. Many cat repellents include spices we all have in our homes, so could you use cayenne pepper to achieve the same thing?

When dealing with unwanted feline visitors, it’s always important to find a safe and cruelty-free way to keep them away. By being here, you’re already on the right track. We’ll help you understand how you can use cayenne pepper to keep your garden safe and explore some other alternatives. Let’s dig right in.

Does cayenne pepper keep cats away?

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

When you get a whiff of cayenne pepper, it doesn’t smell like much, does it? Cats, on the other hand, can’t stand the scent. Because of that, some people use it to keep the kitties away from their plants by sprinkling some of the spice on the soil. But is that the best method?

Although it’s a good and easy option to try, there are some problems with it. First off, although it’s a natural repellent, it doesn’t always work. Some cats simply don’t have an issue with it and, no matter how much pepper you use, they’ll simply ignore it. Stubborn little rebels, I tell you.

Another issue with this method is that you need to reapply it regularly, especially when it rains. All of this might not sound too bad, but the last thing you should keep in mind is that it can be harmful to our feline friends.

Although they aren’t toxic to cats, there’s a reason why our fur friends hate cayenne pepper. It’s not always because of the smell. If they walk over them or get some on their fur, they can easily ingest it or get it in their eyes. Just like it’s the case with us, this can cause irritation and pain.

So, no – cayenne pepper isn’t completely safe for cats. Consuming it can be really painful for them as it can burn their tongues, mouth, and throat. On top of that, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Despite the fact that it’s one of the easiest and most accessible repellents, you need to be careful if you opt for this method. If cayenne pepper doesn’t repel the cat with the smell, there’s a chance that it might cause some pain and discomfort.

What to do if your cat consumes cayenne pepper?

If your kitty consumed a tiny bit of cayenne pepper – don’t worry. She should be fine. Just make sure to keep an eye on her for a day or two. This will help you notice if there are any allergic reactions to the spice. If there are, make sure that a vet examines your feline as soon as possible.

Cats have little to no tolerance when it comes to spicy food. Here are some reactions that could be an indicator of food intolerance:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Reoccurring ear infections
  • Skin issues.

Although milk helps humans relieve the burning sensation, I don’t recommend trying the same remedy on your kitty. Most cats are lactose intolerant and it can cause other health issues.

If there are any signs of an allergic reaction, or you’re suspicious of it in any way – it’s best to get her checked. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to use cayenne pepper to keep cats away?

If you still decide to use cayenne pepper to keep cats away, there are a couple of ways you can do that. How effective and safe this method will be, depends on how you apply it. Make sure you choose the best way for your situation while making sure to keep the little rebels in your garden safe, as well.

1. Burn the pepper

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

Since cats are sensitive to smells, they’re not huge fans of strong scents. That’s one of the reasons why cayenne pepper might be an effective repellent. However, since consuming it can be really harmful and cause pain and irritation, it’s best to avoid using it in the form of spice.

Because of that, it would be a good idea to simply burn it. It would still keep the smell that’s too strong for our sensitive fur babies, but it would be a slightly safer option. Burning cayenne peppers would emit smoke that’d irritate the cats around your garden.

You can simply burn the pepper anywhere near your plant or the part of the yard you want to keep safe from felines. Make sure to take all the necessary precautions first.

Don’t burn the pepper if there are already cats around your garden as it can cause serious irritations around their eyes and nose, as well as burns. Before you do this, make sure no one is around.

2. Make a cayenne pepper spray

The easiest way to use cayenne pepper as a cat repellent is by making a spray. You can use any pepper you have around your house – ground or powdered. If you don’t have any in the form of spice, you can also mix the cayenne-based spicy sauce with some water.

Making a spray could be more efficient than simply sprinkling the spice around your plant. Not only is it faster and easier once you make the mixture, but it also helps with cats simply walking past it. Which they often do.

And the best thing about it – it’s a lot safer. It would be harder for cats to consume it and end up hurting themselves. To make the mix strong, you can make it with soap. I wouldn’t recommend using essential oils, as some can be really toxic for our feline friends. We don’t want to hurt them – just keep them away.

Whether you choose non-toxic soap or clean water, make sure to let the cayenne pepper soak for a couple of hours before you pour it into a container. After it’s done saturating, strain the mixture so there are no chunks left – and you can start spraying it around your garden.

Before you decide that it’s time to use your new repellent, make sure it’s not going to rain any time soon. You can use the mixture on your garden, fences, or any place that you want to keep safe from local kitties.

3. Add some spice to your soil

Simply sprinkling cayenne pepper around your plant or garden is an easy way to try and keep cats away. Once the kitties get some of the spice on their paws, they’ll learn not to come near your plants again.

If you’re interested in a dry solution rather than making a spray, here’s another recipe for you. Mix 1 part dried cayenne pepper with 2.5 parts flour and 1.5 parts dry mustard. You can scatter the mixture around your plants where felines like to dig. Make sure to reapply it after it rains, as it will wash the mixture away.

This option shouldn’t be your go-to since it can cause harm to felines that come to visit. It’s important to keep our kitties safe and not hurt them for simply being who they are. I know you want to keep your garden nice and tidy, but is hurting our feline friends the price you’re willing to pay?

After all, they chose your garden because they love it as much as you do. It would be a good idea to try some other alternatives first before you opt for this method.

4. Create a cat-proof barrier

Instead of sprinkling cayenne pepper all over your garden, you can try and create a barrier instead. Simply sprinkle some pepper at the entrance, fence, or around your plant pot. That way, felines won’t even approach your garden which will save you a lot of fuss.

Again, this isn’t the safest option and no one can guarantee that it will work. So, to avoid causing harm to our feline companions without even knowing if it’s going to work, let’s see other methods you can use.

Other cruelty-free methods to keep cats away from your plants

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

Since cayenne pepper isn’t the safest way to keep cats away, it’s best to try and find other methods to achieve the same effect. Luckily, there are a lot of cruelty-free options that will help you keep your garden safe and beautiful. I guarantee you’ll feel better about the whole situation, too.

1. Add more plants!

This one would be a great solution for every person with a green thumb out there – plant more plants! I know, this sounds counter-productive, especially if you’re aware of how much cats love to nibble on plants. And you’re not wrong, they live for it. But they have their preferences, too.

Some plants repel our feline companions. That’s why people usually go for essential oils when trying to keep kitties away from something, but that shouldn’t be your go-to. As I’ve previously mentioned, some essential oils can be harmful to cats, so it’s best to avoid them completely.

However, there are some plants that will for sure keep kitties away from your lovely garden. Simply planting some lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, rue, pennyroyal, and citronella should do the trick. The kitties around your neighborhood will avoid nibbling or being around them at any cost.

You can either sprinkle them around your garden or plant them near the plants felines often visit. Not only will these plants keep cats away, but they will also add some diversity to your green pride and joy.

2. Add some natural and non-toxic scents

There are some scents that cats absolutely hate. One of them is cayenne pepper, but there are other ones you can use to keep the cats away without causing any harm to them. You should consider anything that smells strong, but still, keep in mind that there are some things that can be toxic to felines.

Scents like lime, orange, lemon, rosemary, lavender, and banana would be great options when keeping your garden safe. Although you might love how these smell, the cats around your garden will find them repelling. Not only will you keep your garden feline-free, but it might also smell even better than before!

Don’t use these scents in their oil form, since some of them can be extremely toxic for cats, such as tea tree, peppermint, and citrus. I don’t recommend even diluting them in water. Rather than spraying the essential oils around your garden, you can try adding these plants in their natural form.

Sprinkle some orange, lemon, banana, and lime peels or pieces around your plants for an organic repellent. It’s a natural and safe way to keep kitties away from your garden. Your plants will love it, too!

3. Use a water sprinkler

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?

We all know how much cats hate water. And it’s not a myth. Most of them absolutely despise it. What, on the other hand, needs water almost daily? That’s right, your wonderful plants. If there was only a way to connect these two things…

And there is! A motion-activated water sprinkler would make all of your dreams come true. Not only will it keep the not-so-friendly kitties away, but it will also help you keep your plants alive and healthy! It’s the best of both worlds.

Simply place a water sprinkler anywhere near the plants that neighboring cats often visit and like to dig around. A couple of these around the troubling areas should do wonders for your garden and your peace of mind.

This is a great and non-hazardous method for keeping cats away from your green babies. The water sprinkler will simply spray some H2O every time it detects movement. What’s the worst that can happen? An annoyed, slightly wet cat? I believe you can both live with that.

4. Use ultrasonic cat repellent

Another motion-activated device, but this one won’t spray anything. In fact, you probably won’t even notice when it’s working. It’s like magic! For us, at least.

The felines around your garden will probably hate you for it. But, that’s what they get for snooping around.

Instead of spraying water, an ultrasonic cat repellent emits a high-frequency sound that cats find repulsive. Don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt the cats. The whole point of finding an alternative to cayenne pepper is to find something less harmful. And this method is completely safe!

You’ll probably have to place several of them if you plan on covering the whole garden. If your little feline opponent is only interested in one area of your yard – even better! One or a couple of them should do the trick.

The best thing is – humans can tolerate the sound! Your garden will stay exactly the same; an oasis of peace and beauty, with no fur rebels digging around your plants.

5. Get a commercial repellent spray

And, if you can’t be bothered with finding a natural way to keep cats away, there’s always an option to simply get something that was already made for you. Sounds like the easiest option, doesn’t it?

A trust-worthy repellent you can buy at a local store can put your mind at ease. You won’t have to think whether or not you’re hurting the felines around your garden simply by trying to keep it safe. The pre-made repellent spray is definitely a better and safer option than cayenne peppers.

The best thing is – some of these repellents already have natural ingredients. They often include plant-based compounds that you’d use if you decided to make one yourself.


Although using cayenne pepper to keep cats away might sound like a good idea at first, think about the way it works. Is it just because of the smell, or does the pepper have other effects, too?

The only reason why cats would avoid your plants is that it would be hurtful to come near them. Instead of causing potential harm, try using some other alternatives that are perfectly safe, and maybe even more efficient.

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? A Safe Cat Repellent?