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Cat Deterrent Methods

Cat Deterrent Methods

In  NSW the Companion Animals Act 1998 to encourage responsible pet ownership this includes cat owners, and requiring owners to register, and microchip their cats. Under the Act,

Cats must have form of identification

  • A cat must be identified by a form of identification that enables a local authority to ascertain the name of the cat and the address or telephone number of the owner of the cat.
  • The identification must take the following forms—
    • a collar worn around the cat’s neck with a tag or tags attached,
    • a microchip,

Cats prohibited in some public places

Cats are prohibited in the following places—

  • Food preparation/consumption areas (meaning any public place, or part of a public place, that is within 10 metres of any apparatus provided in that public place or part for the preparation of food for human consumption or for the consumption of food by humans).
  • Wildlife protection areas (meaning any public place or any part of a public place set apart by the local authority for the protection of wildlife and in which the local authority ordered that cats are prohibited for the purposes of the protection of wildlife and in which, or near the boundaries of which, there are conspicuously exhibited by the local authority at reasonable intervals notices to the effect that cats are prohibited in or on that public place).

Nuisance cats

For the purposes of this section, a cat is a nuisance if the cat—

  • makes a noise that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises, or
  • repeatedly damages anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.


If an authorised officer of a council (council Ranger) is satisfied that a cat is a nuisance, the officer may, after complying with section 31A, issue an order in the approved form to the owner of the cat requiring the owner to prevent the behaviour that is alleged to constitute the nuisance.

  • The order must specify the behaviour of the cat that is required to be prevented. The order can specify more than one kind of behaviour.
  • An order remains in force for 6 months after it is issued.
  • The owner of a cat must comply with an order issued to the owner under this section and must continue to comply with it while it is in force.

Council will assist you to reduce the impact of nuisance cat behaviour, however you are initially asked to attempt to resolve the situation trying to discourage the cat.

Rangers will only consider trapping a cat when deterrent methods have failed. If you know who owns the cat, we recommend that you contact the owner and talk to them about the issue.

Common nuisance behaviours:

The following cat behaviours may be considered a nuisance:

  • A cat repeatedly entering your garden and spraying on outdoor furniture or
  • defecating in your garden.
  • Cats injuring or killing your pets such as birds or guinea pigs.
  • Cats entering your house.

Cats are creatures of habit and will often return to the same area regularly for sunning, defecating or urinating. If this is a problem in your garden, then it is important to break thishabit. There are a number of deterrents that you can try.

Natural Cat Repellents

Cats dislike the following smells:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Oil of lavender
  • Garlic cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella oil


  • Blood meal fertilizer
  • Peppermint essence
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fresh (chicken) manure and/or liquid manure

Red wine vinegar or ordinary vinegar sprayed on areas where they roam



Plants as Deterrents

Cats dislike the following plants:

  • Rue – Ruta graveolens
  • Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Curry plant – Helichrysum
  • Geranium – Pelargonium
  • Scaredy cat plant 
  • PlectranthusLemon thyme – Thymus citriodorus
  • Lavender – Lavandula augustifolia
  • Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium
  • Lemon Verbena – Aloysia citrodora
  • Caninus



Simple Deterrent Measures:

  • Do not feed or provide water for stray cats.
  • Squirting the cat with a hose is a good deterrent, and a cat that has been ‘caught’ several times may be reluctant to return. This does not harm the cat and the best results are achieved from squirts to the flank, not the face.
  • Making a loud noise to startle the cat is also a useful deterrent. However, it may return later when you are not around.
  • Smear the tops of your fence with Vaseline – cats will find it difficult to climb on your fence.
  • Install two-inch PVC piping along the top of your fence. Cats can’t get a grip on it to climb over the fence.
  • Try placing pine cones, dried nut or bean shells, broken egg shells and heavy bark mulch in your garden beds – cats don’t like the feel of them on their paws.
  • Fill 2 litre soft-drink bottles full of water – this magnifies movement on other side and deters cats.
  • Scatter orange or lemon peels in your garden beds or spray with citrus-scented fragrances.

Home-made Cat Deterrent Spray

You can make your own inexpensive cat deterrent spray using the following recipe:

  • 2 cups white vinegar,
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves,
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed,
  • 2 or 3 hot chillies,
  • 2 or 3 drops of concentrated dish washing liquid,
  • black pepper,
  • water to fillbottle.

Combine all ingredients in an empty two litre bottle, and leave mixture overnight. Fill a spray bottle and spray around the area from which you wish to deter cats. Keep the remaining mixture for later. You don’t need to spray much to give the cats the hint. Respray every week or two until they disappear. Be aware that this recipe has a very unpleasant odour, so do not spray in the house or near open windows, and do not spray directly onto the cats.

Commercially Available Cat Deterrents

  • Commercial cat repellent sprays and gels are available from hardware stores, plant nurseries or vets.
  • Electronic deterrents are also available which emit a high pitched sound to deter animals such as cats, dogs and possums. These are available from hardware stores or on-line.