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How to Keep Cats Off Your Car: 6 Effective Ways

Chelsea Mortensen Profile Picture

By Chelsea Mortensen

cat sleeping on car hood

Whether you’re a cat lover or you couldn’t care less, no one wants cats using their car as a jungle gym. Cats can leave footprints all over the cars and sometimes even damage the paint. They can also be put in danger by climbing around on cars, especially if they like to get up under wheel wells or climb into the engine area.

Deterring cats from climbing in and on your car keeps both safe, but it’s not an easy task. Here are six proven methods to keep cats off your car.

Top 6 Ways to Keep Cats Off Cars

1. Use a Cat Repellent

Cat repellents can take many forms, but the best repellents are natural and won’t harm you or your cat. Essential oils mixed with water and sprayed around your car can do the trick. So can sprinkling the area with cayenne pepper. Cats aren’t a fan of citrus scent, so orange peels, citrus oils, or citronella are all options you can try.

Whatever option you choose, you’ll need to apply it regularly, which makes this a little harder. Stay away from strong chemicals that might hurt a cat, including mothballs. Although mothballs are often recommended as a cat repellent, they’re highly toxic to cats, and not all cats will stay away from the scent, so it’s not the best option.

spray bottle
Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

2. Talk to the Owner

Before you get too creative with solutions, sometimes it’s easier to talk it out. If you know who the cats belong to, consider asking the owner to keep cats indoors during the times when they want to be on your car. Sometimes, owners are willing to work with you, especially if it just means waiting to let their cats out until you’ve left for work.

Of course, not every owner will take that step, and in most places, there’s no legal obligation to keep your cat indoors. And if you don’t know whose cat is on your car, there’s not much you can do.

3. Park Somewhere Else

Depending on your situation, one of the easiest ways to keep cats off your car might be to park somewhere else. Cats like climbing on cars for lots of different reasons. One reason is that cars warm up in the sun, so if you see cats lounging on a warm hood, moving to park in the shade might make your car unattractive. Same thing if cats like to use your car as a stepping stone to a roof or branch. And, of course, if you have a cat-free garage to park in, cats won’t have access to your car.

red vintage car parked under the shade
Image Credit: Mimzy, Pixabay

4. Invest in a Car Cover

If moving your car doesn’t work, you might consider getting a car cover. Covers might not keep the cat off your car completely, but they’ll protect your car’s paint and glass from scratches and smudges. Car covers are a more expensive option, and they do need to be put on and off regularly, but they’ll keep your car clean from more than just scratches. It’s a great way to protect your car from all kinds of dirt and damage so that it looks pristine for years.

5. Add a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

One unusual solution is to use cats’ distaste for water against them. If you keep your car outdoors, a sprinkler can discourage cats without causing any harm to them or your car. Motion-activated sprinklers are usually easily installed so that they trigger when cats come near your car. Of course, you turn the sprinkler off before you get into the car, or you might get soaked too!

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

6. Use Cats’ Keen Ears Against Them

A final option is to buy a sonic cat repellent to place near your car. These devices let out a noise that’s pitched too high for us to hear, but they play loud and clear for cats and dogs. Sonic repellents are usually motion-activated so that whenever a small animal comes near, the sound goes off. Placing one near your car is a great solution if you want animals to stay far away with minimal hassle for you—the only work on your end is keeping the device charged.

The drawback of this device is that the noise can be painful to animals, and it’s not easy to direct it at just the car. If you are the pet owner and cats are allowed anywhere near your car, this might get in the way of their normal activities. And if you own another pet, like a dog, the repellent will work on them too.

Last Thoughts

There’s no one solution for keeping cats off your car because every situation is different. Getting a “paws off” from the local cats requires some thought and effort but keeping it up is easier once you have a system in place. We hope that some of the options on this list will help you plan to keep cats safe and your car spotless.

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Featured Image Credit: mariajuarez, Shutterstock

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