How to Keep Cats Off Your Car With 8 Simple Methods

How to Keep Cats Off Your Car

You might be a huge fan of cats or a staunch proponent against the family pet. Either way, you can recognize that cats are capable of causing serious damage to a vehicle when they are allowed to walk around on it. That’s why you need to know how to keep cats off your car before the damage occurs.

On top of evaluating these options and looking at the costs, we also discuss how to prevent scratches from occurring if cats do end up on the car. Our comprehensive guide will help you keep your vehicle in pristine condition until a bird leaves its droppings on it. 

How to Keep Cats Off Your Car?

The easiest way to keep cats off your car is to park in a new location. You can also use a variety of cat repellants or cayenne pepper. Additionally, ultrasonic repellants, motion-activated sprinklers, car alarms, and cardboard boxes can also prove to be useful. 

Here are some more detailed methods on how to keep cats off your car.

1. Choose a New Parking Location

Park car in garage

The most obvious answer is to watch where you are parking. If you know that a particular area is infiltrated by a bunch of stray cats, it might be best to avoid parking there.

Instead, try to park your vehicle in a garage and avoid the street. Of course, there are still ways for cats to get into garages, especially if they are public. However, this simple step dramatically cuts down on the chances the little critters will walk across your car.

This method won’t cost you much money. The most you will be out is a little extra time if you walk a little farther than normal. 

2. Use Cat Repellant

Cat repellant

There are plenty of cat repellants you can use. It’s possible to purchase a commercial spray that’s designed specifically for this purpose. However, this method can cost you a good amount of money and some of the products used can be questionable. Instead, we recommend trying the natural route first. 

Remember to never use anything that is toxic to cats, always do your research to ensure that the repellent cannot harm the cat in any way. Therefore, it is best to buy a ready-made repellent.

Apple cider vinegar is a great option. If you mix this with an equal amount of water and put it in a spray bottle, you can keep cats at bay. However, you don’t want to spray the vinegar solution directly on the car paint, as it can cause damage. Instead, spray it around the vehicle.

Mint is another scent that cats don’t like. Use mint-flavored mouthwash mixed with water in a spray bottle and apply it around the vehicle. 

Additionally, you can use a variety of herbs that cats dislike. Cats don’t like rosemary, holly, lemon balm, citronella, lavender, rue or blackthorn. If you can apply any of these herbs around the car, you are sure to keep the feline intruders away. 

Most of these natural remedies will cost you a minimal amount of money. You may even have the products in your home already. 

RELATED: How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Car (& Other Rodents)

3. Apply Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

Apparently, cats don’t appreciate the spice that comes with cayenne pepper. If you want to keep them away from your vehicle, you may just need to sprinkle some of this hot powder around.

Do not put the cayenne pepper directly on the vehicle. Instead, create a circle of protection around the car that cats won’t want to travel through. The red powder might just be crazy enough to keep others away too. 

Again, this method might end up being free to you. Look in your pantry to see if you have any handy. 

4. Utilize Ultrasonic Repellants

Ultrasonic repellant

If you have a little more money to spend, consider the benefits of ultrasonic repellants. These devices send out high-pitched sounds when motion is detected. 

You won’t be able to hear the sounds, so it won’t bother you. Still, cats will go running as soon as the noise is heard. 

RELATED: How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell From Your Car (Exterior & Interior)

5. Setup Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Cat sprinkler

Unlike dogs, cats are not a fan of water. You can use this information to your advantage. If you are having trouble with cats at your home, strategically place motion-activated sprinklers around the affected area. However, you need to be careful that the water doesn’t actually spray on the vehicle.

If your car does end up getting wet, it’s important to clean it off right away. You don’t want to deal with any nasty water spots left behind on the car

Sprinkler systems can quickly become expensive. You also need to pay for the water that will be used. With that said, the lawn or garden can get watered at the same time, thereby ensuring you are efficiently using the water. 

6. Configure Car Alarm

car alarm goes off

Car alarms are another great deterrent. The loud noise is sure to send any cats running in the opposite direction. You can adjust the sensitivity on the alarm until it seems to be working its best.

Just keep in mind that this solution is sure to aggravate others living near you. If the alarm is constantly going off, especially in the middle of the night, you are going to make some enemies other than the cats. 

7. Position Cardboard Boxes Strategically

Cat in cardbox

Have you ever noticed how much cats love to be around cardboard? When a box comes out, cats will instantly flock to it. If you want to distract the cat away from the car, why not provide something that they love instead?

There are a few downsides to using this method. For one, you could inadvertently attract more cats to the area. On top of that, your yard could start to look a little trashy, with cardboard and cats all over the place. 

8. Use Mothballs


Many people recommend using Mothballs to keep cats away from the car. Mothballs are definitely not something we recommend because they can be toxic to cats. However, you can’t overlook the benefits that are provided in very tough situations. It also doesn’t cost a lot to get some mothballs.

Cats are opposed to the smell of mothballs, so placing some in or on the car should be enough to keep them away. If you choose to put them inside the vehicle, make sure you air it out well before you start driving. You also need to get all of the mothballs out before driving to ensure your safety.

How to Prevent Cat Scratches on Car?

The best way to prevent cats from scratching a car is to keep the cats away from the car in the first place. You can also use a car cover or clip the cat’s nails if it’s your cats that are sitting in the car. If it’s not your cat, you can talk to the cat’s owner.

Here is some more detailed information on how to prevent cats from scratching a car:

1. Keep Cats Off

The best way to ensure that cats don’t scratch the car paint is to keep them off of the car. We’ve reviewed the top ways to make this happen above.

However, there’s also the possibility that you’ve been through all of the above steps with no success. In that case, you might need to start focusing on keeping scratches to a minimum instead. 

2. Use Car Cover

A car cover can provide an inexpensive way to protect the paint. With a cover, the cat will still be able to get on the car, but there should be a big reduction in how many scratches and paw prints you deal with every day.

For this method to work, you don’t even need to invest in a high-end car cover. Anything that ensures the whole vehicle is below the cover will work just fine. Every night when you get home, place the cover over top for the protection you need. Plus, you gain some added insurance against weather damage and thieves too. 

READ MORE: 10 Best Car Covers For Hail, Snow & Ice Protection

3. Trim Cat’s Nails

If you own the cat and don’t mind it hanging out on the car, you can still prevent scratches on the paint. Go ahead and trim the nails on the cat to reduce the chance of damage.

Even if the cat is a stray, you might still be able to trim its nails. Just be careful when you handle a cat that’s not your own, as you aren’t sure if it is aggressive and if it is up to date on all of its shots.

4. Talk to Cat Owner

If you know the cat’s owner, it might be time for a heart-to-heart conversation. Start by asking your neighbor to keep their cat indoors. Remain polite the entire time and be ready to listen to the person’s point of view.

If the owner isn’t willing to keep the cat inside, you might be able to convince them to keep the nails trimmed for scratch prevention. Otherwise, it might be time to discuss how they want to handle the expense of the damage that their cat is causing.

Why do cats sit on cars?

One reason cats like to sit in cars is the heat that comes from the engine after you drive the car. Another reason is that cats like to sit up high, and cars give them an opportunity to get a good view of their surroundings. Finally, cats may jump on cars because they see them as opportunities for entertainment.

Where do cats hide in cars?

Cats like to hide in warm places in cars, such as the engine compartment or wheel well. Therefore, it is important that you gently knock the hood before driving your car, to scare them away so that you do not injure them when you start the engine and drive the car.

What can I put on my car to keep cats off?

You can buy and use a special cat repellent to keep cats away from your car. You can also use a homemade cat repellent such as cayenne pepper. However, you can also use a car cover that protects your car’s paint from the cats instead.

What smell will repel cats?

There are a few scents that work well to repel cats, including strong-smelling essential oils like citrus, lavender, and lemongrass. You can also try spraying diluted vinegar or ammonia around the areas you want to keep cats away from. The best way is to use a special cat spray that is offensive to felines but not to humans.

So there you have it. Eight different methods to keep cats away from your car. While none of them are 100% foolproof, a combination of these tactics should help deter most cats from climbing or scratching your car.

You should really consider using a car cover to protect your car’s paint from cat scratches instead of trying to keep them away.

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Categories: Cleaning & Detailing

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