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Do Orange Peels Keep Cats Away? Are They the Best Choice?

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

orange peels

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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If you’re struggling to keep wandering felines from destroying your garden or landscaping, you may have heard orange peels suggested as a method to keep cats away. But do they really work, and are they the best choice? While orange peels work in many cases to keep cats away, they have limitations, and other methods may work more effectively.

In this article, we’ll discuss why orange peels keep cats away and what can limit their effectiveness. We’ll also suggest some alternative cat repellents to safeguard your property.

Orange Peels: Pros and Cons

Cats generally dislike the smell of citrus, and orange peels are likely to give off a scent they won’t want to be around. If you think about it, orange has a strong odor even to humans, and cats possess far more sensitive noses than we do. It makes sense that they’d find orange peels unpleasant.

Orange peels are also an appealing method of keeping cats away because they are cheap and easy to obtain, especially if you like citrus fruits. Not just orange but lemon, grapefruit, and other citrus peels can be scattered in the garden to ward off stray kitties. Some people create a DIY orange spray by boiling the peels in water and misting the cooled mixture over their plants.

There are a couple of downsides to using orange peels to keep cats away. One is that some cats will not be repulsed by the scent.

A more common issue is that orange peels lose their scent quickly once removed from the fruit. Unless you eat several oranges and can replenish the peel supply frequently, it probably won’t last very long. Orange sprays (and other cat-repellent sprays) can easily be washed away by rain or irrigation sprinklers.

orange peels
Image Credit: FotoRieth, Pixabay

Other Options to Keep Cats Away

Besides orange peels, there are some other methods you can use to keep cats away that may be more effective. You could try using another scent cats don’t like, such as coffee grounds or predator urine (such as coyote or fox). However, you’ll run into the same situation with the orange peel: having to freshen the scent regularly.

Another option is to use a physical barrier to keep cats out of the flower beds or garden. Place a garden fence or wire mesh around the area you want to protect. Chicken mesh or lattice can also be placed directly on the soil after planting. Plants will grow through the holes, but cats won’t be able to dig up the ground and disturb them.

A more expensive but effective option is installing motion-activated sprinklers on your property. Most cats hate water and will learn to avoid your yard quickly if they know they are in for a drenching when they trespass.

If all else fails, your last option may be humanely removing the cat. If you know who owns your feline visitor, try talking to the neighbor and asking them to keep the kitty contained. For stray felines, contact a local rescue group about trapping and relocating the cat.


Whether they’re chewing on your plants or digging up your flower beds to use as a toilet, unwelcome cats can do some serious damage to your yard. Also, cat poop can infect your soil with parasites that could pass to you or your kids.

Orange peels are a cheap and accessible deterrent to keep cats out of your yard but may not be the most effective choice. Before you despair about protecting your property, try some of our other suggestions. If your cat is acting out in response to the unwanted visitors, ask your vet for help managing their bad behavior.

Featured Image Credit: esudroff, Pixabay

Elizabeth Gray

Authored by

Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally–she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa ...Read more

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