Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Does Cinnamon Keep Cats Away? Facts & Safe Feline Deterrents

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

cinnamon sticks

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats and humans have been associating for nearly 10,000 years, and, as anyone who adores them knows, they are fascinating animals. That being said, one of the worst traits cats have is that they like going potty in gardens, flower beds, and other areas of the homeowner’s yard. Unfortunately, cats are well-known for destroying plants and tearing up seed beds. Also, their feces contain parasites, bacteria, and disease-causing pathogens, which are the last things you want near your garden’s vegetables. That’s why many home gardening enthusiasts seek solutions to keep cats away from their gardens.

One method you may have heard about to discourage cats from using your garden as their toilet is cinnamon. The question, however, is this; does cinnamon keep cats away, and is it the best choice to do so? The answer is that cinnamon does keep some cats away, but not all of them.

As for being the best choice, cinnamon does work, but other solutions are better at discouraging cats from turning your garden into a port-a-potty. If you’d like to know about those solutions, great news! We have them for you below, along with some excellent tips on the best methods and how to use them. Read on to keep your garden free of cat poop and pee!

divider 9

Why Use Cinnamon as a Cat Deterrent?

If you’re wondering why using cinnamon is even considered a good way to keep cats at bay, you’re not alone. The reason is that, for most humans, the smell of cinnamon is pleasant and inviting. For most cats, though, it’s just the opposite. That’s because cats have an incredibly well-developed sense of smell, which is essential to their survival. Because of their extraordinary sense of smell, cats don’t like some things with a powerful odor, even if it’s not a particularly foul smell. Cinnamon has a very strong odor that most cats find repulsive. They can smell it from several yards away and will keep their distance when they do. However, it is important to note that some cats don’t have a problem with cinnamon, and a few even like it.

close up cinnamon sticks
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

Is Cinnamon Safe for Cats?

One question you might have about cinnamon is whether it’s safe for your (or other) cats. According to the ASPCA, cinnamon is safe for cats. However, in large doses, cinnamon can cause an allergic reaction in some cats and, in others, vomiting and other negative reactions. Cinnamon powder is the least worrisome since the typical cat isn’t going to inhale a snootful of the spice. Cinnamon extract and oil, on the other hand, can be more problematic because they can burn your cat’s sensitive mouth, eyes, and skin, sometimes even poison your cat. That’s why cinnamon powder is best if you plan to use cinnamon to keep cats away.

What’s the Best Way to Use Cinnamon To Keep Cats Away?

There are two ways you can use cinnamon powder to repel cats. The first is the easiest and involves spreading cinnamon powder around the border of the area you wish to keep cat-free. The second involves making a spray repellent using cinnamon powder.

To do so, follow these step-by-step instructions:
  • Bring 2 pints of water to a boil.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of cinnamon powder, and a tablespoon of rosemary.
  • Let the mixture cool off and sit overnight.
  • Strain the mixture well.
  • Add ½ cup of white vinegar
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  • Spray liberally wherever cats enter your garden or other areas of your property.

Keep in mind that the effects of your spray won’t last more than 2 or 3 days, so you’ll need to reapply it regularly. That’s especially true after it rains, as heavy rain will wash away the spray and its cat-repelling properties.

Which Natural Substances Can Be Used to Keep Cats Away?

There are many natural substances, including fruits, spices, and herbs, that cats don’t find appealing. Some work better than others, and some are easier to use, but all are worth a try if you have a problem with cats in your yard (or yours won’t stay out of your garden). The most promising of these natural substances include the following:

  • Orange, lemon, and lime peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vinegar
  • Herbs including rosemary and curry

Can You Plant a Garden Where Cats Have Pooped?

Cat feces, as mentioned earlier, is loaded with nasty stuff like parasites, bacteria, and disease-causing pathogens. For that reason, many people are under the false impression that planting a garden where cats have been pooping isn’t a good idea.


What Are Some Safe Solutions to Keep Cats Out of your Garden?

While cats, especially feral cats and neighbor cats, can be a problem in your yard, very few people want to hurt or kill them to keep them away. That’s why many use cinnamon and other substances with strong odors to keep cats away. However, you can use several other safe methods to keep cats out of your yard and garden that don’t involve strong smells. Below are a few of the best.

Image Credit: karen_escobar84, Pixabay

Make It Uncomfortable for Cats To Walk Into Your Garden

Cats have delicate paws and don’t like to walk on anything prickly or thorny. Putting something scratchy on the ground around your garden, flower beds, or yard works well. For example, you can lay chicken wire on the ground or spread a layer of twigs, pine cones, or lattice.

Thoroughly Clean Away Their Dropping and Urine With Water

Cats will return to an area where they’ve gone potty and use it again and again unless you get rid of the odor and evidence. The best way to do that is to remove any poop still on the ground and thoroughly clean the area with water, rinsing the smell away.

Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Cats aren’t big fans of getting wet or even damp, which makes motion-activated sprinklers an excellent cat deterrent. One drawback, however, is that any animal can activate the sprinklers. In an area where water conservation is essential, that could be problematic.

Put a Kitty Litter Box Outside

Giving your cat the option to poop in a litter box outside can often be the key to keeping them out of your garden. One drawback is that you’ll have two litter boxes to clean, but if it keeps your garden pristine, it could be well worth the extra trouble.

Put Up a Fence

While it might not look aesthetically pleasing, a fence around your garden is a great way to keep cats away. The best would be a fence made with wire mesh, like chicken wire, so that it doesn’t block your view of the garden (and looks less intrusive). Remember to make it high, as cats are excellent climbers and jumpers. Also, if you can put an overhang on the outside of the fence to prevent climbing, that would be even better.


Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen today, cinnamon keeps (most) cats away. Cats have a well-developed sense of smell, and with its potent odor, cinnamon is something most cats don’t enjoy. Is cinnamon the best choice? Many would argue that there are better solutions to keep cats out of the garden, including citrus, vinegar, coffee grounds, and fences. Experts suggest trying everything to see which solution works best in your situation. Some will work better than others.

We hope you enjoyed the information we’ve presented today and that one of the solutions works for you. Cats are lovable creatures, but not so much when they pee and poop in your garden, flowers, and bushes. The preventative measures above are all safe for cats when used correctly.

Featured Image Credit: Daria-Yakovleva, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database