Will Planting Garlic Keep Cats Away

Cats can be delightful creatures, but when they use your garden as a playground or litter box, it can be less than ideal. The number of times I’ve been weeding and getting my gloveless hands into the soil to discover cat s#it!

Gardeners have long sought natural ways to deter cats, and planting garlic is frequently mentioned among the proposed solutions. This article explores the effectiveness of garlic as a cat deterrent and offers some additional strategies for keeping cats out of your garden. And yes I have tested it out!

Garlic as a Cat Deterrent

Garlic, with its strong scent, is believed to be off-putting to cats. Cats possess a highly developed sense of smell, and strong odours can be particularly overwhelming to them. When garlic cloves are planted and begin to grow, they release a pungent aroma, especially when the leaves are crushed or disturbed.

Effectiveness: While the smell of garlic might be a deterrent to some cats, its effectiveness can vary. Not all cats will be equally put off by the scent. For those seeking a more guaranteed solution, using garlic in conjunction with other deterrent methods might be beneficial.

Safety Considerations: Garlic, when ingested in large quantities, can be toxic to cats. However, a cat will unlikely chew or eat garlic plants, especially given their aversion to the smell. Still, it’s essential to monitor any signs of cats ingesting garlic and consult a vet if necessary.

Other Natural Cat Deterrents

  1. Lemon and Citrus Peels: Cats are generally averse to citrus scents—scatter lemon, lime, or orange peels in areas where cats frequent.
  2. Rosemary and Lavender: These aromatic herbs can deter cats when planted around the garden. Like garlic, their scent, especially when brushed against the foliage, can be off-putting to felines.
  3. Chicken Wire or Mesh: Laying chicken wire or mesh on the soil’s surface can prevent cats from digging or using the area as a toilet. They also don’t like walking on it.
  4. Water Sprays: Motion-activated sprinklers can surprise and deter cats from entering specific areas.
  5. Safe Commercial Repellents: Cat deterrent sprays and granules can be safely used in gardens. Ensure they’re environmentally friendly and non-toxic.


While planting garlic might deter some cats due to its strong aroma, it’s not a guaranteed solution for all feline visitors. Combining multiple deterrent methods increases the chances of keeping cats from specific garden areas. Remember always to choose humane methods, considering the welfare of the cats and the safety of the garden’s ecosystem.

For comprehensive advice on dealing with cats in gardens, the Cats Protection League in the UK offers guidance and resources.