How To Use Coffee Grounds To Keep Cats Away From Plants Inside And Out

Drinking a steaming mug of coffee while staring lovingly at your outdoor garden might be how you like to start off your mornings, but this calming routine can be rudely disrupted by the sight of neighborhood cats using your garden space as their litter box. If this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to repurpose some used coffee grounds to keep the feline visitors away. This inexpensive hack can not only help protect your garden but also prevent your pet cats from chewing on the leaves of houseplants inside your home.

While you might primarily be opposed to cats using your outdoor garden for their bathroom business due to the unpleasant smell, there are other compelling reasons to keep outdoor cats out of your garden. For one, since cats like digging out soft soil to urinate, they might end up ruining your seed bed and, ultimately, destroying your plants. Moreover, unvaccinated cats can carry parasites and spread bacteria that can affect your health as well as that of your plants.

How coffee grounds can keep cats away

Coffee grounds work as an odor deterrent for cats since they dislike its strong aroma. Being different from the scents they're used to, the distinct smell of java around your garden or indoor plants will give cats pause and keep them away. To employ this hack, simply mix your used coffee grounds into your garden's topsoil.

For a more potent mix — and a more powerful, unpleasant smell for cats — you could dry the coffee grounds first. Just deposit the grounds in a container and let them air dry. Once dry, carefully sprinkle them through your garden bed and flower pots to keep the curious felines at bay. If you'd like the neighborhood cats to stop venturing into your garden altogether, you could try mixing the coffee grounds into the garden's perimeter. Note: When you do, be sure there are no concentrated spots of coffee grounds, as caffeine in any form is toxic to cats if ingested.

Are coffee grounds an effective cat repellent?

Though coffee grounds are a natural and affordable way to repel outdoor cats and cat-proof indoor plants, it should be noted that the product might not always work, which could lead to greater issues. For example, it may not deter pets who have grown accustomed to the smell. Further, some stray cats might still brave the area around the coffee grounds out of curiosity, despite being uncomfortable with the strong aroma. It's also not a single-apply solution; you'll need to add the coffee grounds regularly to keep cats away indefinitely.

The most important point to reiterate, however, is that caffeine isn't good for a cat's health, so it's important to be extremely careful when distributing coffee grounds in a garden space or in the soil of your houseplants. If a cat — stray or pet — is immune to the smell and accidentally ingests the coffee grounds (such as by licking their fur), its high caffeine content will increase the cat's heart rate, make them hyperactive, and/or cause a seizure. Even ingesting caffeine in small quantities could lead to tremors, dehydration, upset stomach, and vomiting.