It’s hard to explain the horror you experience when you find dirty cat footprints on your car. Or worse yet, scratches.
Okay, maybe horror isn’t the best word for it. Annoyance is more like it, especially if you’ve just had your car washed or re-painted. Or if it’s brand new.
You can wipe or wash the prints off, but scratches are another story altogether. And if it keeps happening, you could easily find yourself at your wit’s end. Luckily, I’ve got solutions for you in this article about how to keep cats off your cars.
To keep pesky cats off your car, you can use a few simple strategies like covering a car, using a commercial repellent, creating a homemade solution, sprinkling mint or herbs, or using automatic sprinklers, fake snakes, or objects that make noise.
Read on to discover the best (humane) ways to keep cats off cars.
How to Keep Pesky Cats Off Your Car
I’ll start with the most obvious things because people often overlook them. I know I tend to ignore the easiest solutions to problems.
Probably because I want to be able to do research and really dig my teeth into the problem. And, just maybe, write a blog post about it. Anyway, here goes.
1. Park in Garage
If you have a garage, it’s definitely the best solution to your problem. Take a weekend and clean all the accumulated junk that’s in there, taking up space.
You don’t need half of that stuff, anyway. You need a way to keep cats from jumping on your car, and the four walls of a garage will do the trick.
2. Car Cover
No garage to speak of? That’s okay. You can use a car cover. The cats can jump on it all they want, but it won’t get your car dirty or scratched up.
Many people groan at the thought of putting a car cover on every night and taking it off every morning. But really, once you get used to it, you’re looking at a total of five minutes a day. Easy enough.
If you’ve determined that your cat is the culprit, you can do some basic training to keep him or her off of the car.
A spray bottle of water works well, but you have to be around for it to happen. Or at least catch your cat in the act to warn the feline away with a harmless spray of H2O.
Homemade Ways to Keep Cats Off Cars
The following tactics are for those who want to use household items to keep cats off their car. These may not work for every cat, but you never know until you try. First off, let’s talk homemade sprays.
You want to be careful using homemade sprays on the actual paint of your car. If you’re worried about this, many of these sprays can be effective when sprayed on the ground around the car and the tires.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people have a jar of pungent apple cider vinegar in their pantry. Mixing equal parts of this liquid with water can give you a good cat deterrent.
Careful, though. Vinegar is acidic and will eat through your car’s paint, so just sprinkle it around and see if it does the trick. Most cats don’t like the smell of apple cider vinegar.
You can also mix minty mouthwash with equal parts water to keep cats away. Once again, you probably shouldn’t put this on your car’s paint. Place some around your car each night to keep cats away from the strong minty smell.
5. Herbs Cats Hate
There are many different types of herbs that cats don’t like. They have sensitive noses, and the following herbs tend to send them running.
- Lemon Balm
You can place bundles of these herbs around your car to help keep cats away. You’ll have to replace them as the effects wear off every few days or a week until the cats get the idea.
You’ll also need to remember to remove them in the morning so they don’t fly off as you drive to work.
6. Carpet Chair Mats or Protectors
Plastic carpet chair mats also make for good cat repellents in certain situations. Many people have leftovers from a roll or a strip that they only use occasionally.
You’ll need one with the little dull plastic spikes underneath, used to keep the carpet plastic mat in place.
You can simply flip these over and place them on your hood or roof. When cats jump up, their sensitive paws will encounter the harmless little spikes, and they’ll jump back off again. Pretty soon, they’ll learn not to jump in your car anymore.
If you don’t have one around the house, you can also purchase one. They’re pretty cheap.
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7. Aluminum Foil
If you’ve ever seen a cat walk across aluminum foil, you know how weird they get about it. Cats are very particular about what they walk on, and foil is one thing most cats hate.
However, this is not a very practical option. After all, who wants to apply and remove foil every day? And keeping the foil attached can be a problem.
However, foil may be worth a shot if you’ve determined that cats only like to sit on your hood because of the warmth. One or two strips may be enough to keep the cat off the hood.
8. Commercial Sprays
There are several commercial sprays on the market that claim to be effective cat repellents. However, these seem to be hit or miss.
And if you do use one, you probably won’t want to put it on your car’s paint. Most of these sprays have citrus, pepper, or other corrosive elements in them that can damage your paint job.
If you want to go this route, the best option seems to be this cat repellent from Nature’s Mace, although some of the reviews don’t inspire a ton of confidence.
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Automatic Options to Keep Cats Off Cars
If you want more of a hands-off approach to keeping cats off your car, try one of the options below.
9. Ultrasonic Repellent
Several companies make these ultrasonic repellents. But, according to reviews, only a few of them are any good.
This one from Broox has excellent reviews and could be exactly what you need to keep cats off your vehicle.
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It is motion-activated with a sensor on the front. Once it is tripped, a loud noise that humans can’t hear scares the cats away, along with flashing lights that help do the same. It has a solar panel or can be charged with a USB cord.
The only issue with these is that you might need two unless you can set it up in such a way that it covers the entire approach area to your car.
10. Automatic Sprinkler
Cats generally hate water, which is what makes this product so effective. It is motion-activated and shoots a stream of water to scare cats away. It also has a somewhat loud clicking sound that can help frighten the felines.
Unless you want your car getting wet, you’ll have to set this up strategically or purchase two of them to cover different approaches.
There are different models, but this one takes AA batteries (included) and only needs to be attached to a garden hose.
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Just be aware that you may forget about this one and wind up wet yourself!
Other Options For Keeping Cats Off Cars
These other options are not the best, but they may be worth a shot if you happen to have the means lying around.
They may work for a little while until the cats catch on, giving you time to find another solution that works better.
11. Fake Snakes
A fake snake placed on the hood of your car may do the trick to scare cats away. They can’t see it from the ground, so they don’t get the time to observe it and figure out that it doesn’t move.
Instead, they jump up, see the plastic snake, freak out, and jump off again. This works best if you position the snake in different areas or switch it out with a different kind every night to keep the cats guessing.
12. Cardboard Boxes
Cats love cardboard boxes. It’s actually a little creepy how much they’re drawn to an empty box.
So if you set one or two out around your car, you may get lucky and distract the cat enough that it will forget about the car and go for the box instead.
Unfortunately, this makes your yard or parking area look kind of trashy, especially if the boxes get blown around in the wind or soaked in rain.
13. Provide Something Better
The old saying goes, “You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.”
While you’re not trying to keep bees off your car (if you are, I truly feel for you), the same concept may work with cats. Provide them with a scratching post bed nearby.
Maybe plant a catnip plant or some kind of warm shelter where the cats can escape the chill night air. Chances are this will only work temporarily, but it’s worth a chance if you don’t want to drive the cats away entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I spray on my car to keep cats off?
Create a solution of peppermint or orange essential oil with water or vinegar, then fill it in a spray bottle. Alternatively, try sprinkling dry rosemary or lavender in your area – cats typically find this unappealing.
2. Does noise deter cats from cars?
Yes, loud noises can help scare away cats and prevent them from getting too close to your car. Make sure you don’t get too close to the cat when making the noise, as they can become scared and frightened.
3. How do I stop a cat from scratching my car?
A good way to keep cats away from your car is to cover any exposed parts with something like a tarp or a plastic sheet. If a cat tries to scratch the surface, it won’t get through the barrier.
Additionally, you can spray some of the aforementioned deterrent mixtures around areas where cats like to linger.
4. How to keep cats off your car in garage?
If you park your car in a garage, keeping cats from climbing onto it can be difficult. The best way to do this is to make sure the area around the car is not inviting for them. This means removing any food that might have spilled and making sure any openings are sealed off so cats can’t get access.
5. How to keep cats away from car engines?
The best way to discourage cats from approaching car engines is by using natural deterrents. These can include a wide range of items, such as orange or lemon peels, essential oils like peppermint oil, and cayenne pepper flakes.