8 Ways to Keep Cats Out of Yard (Without Harming Dogs)

Some of us are cat people, some of us are dog people, and some of us claim we are both. Those of us that are truly dog people at heart find it frustrating when stray and neighbors’ cats keep getting into the yard and tormenting our dogs. They bark, it’s what dogs do.

But if complaints start rolling in and you can’t prove it’s not the dog’s fault, what do you do?

Fortunately for you and your doggo, we have some solutions to keep those pesky strays out of your yard and to keep your beloved pooch quieter and happier. They are, after all, just being good guard dogs, right? Keep reading below to find out how you can keep cats out of your yard without harming your dog.

Cats and dog stare at each other in backyard deck at different heights

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1. Plant Strong Scented Shrubs

Cats aren’t huge fans of strong-smelling rue such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, and eucalyptus. If you’ve ever wanted to start gardening as a hobby, now’s the perfect opportunity to grow yourself a green thumb.

Essential aroma oils are toxic to cats so it’s only natural that the main plants that make these oils make cats want to run in the opposite direction.

Try planting these around your garden or in raised garden beds near fences they can easily jump over and watch them run away. They should learn soon enough that the plants are there to stay and the visiting should slow down or stop altogether.

Your garden will smell lovely in the meantime too.

Keep in mind that some of these plants, like lavender and eucalyptus, can be toxic to dogs so we would recommend raised garden beds or having your dogs trained not to eat plants. Rosemary, on the other hand, is not considered a toxic plant for dogs and according to the ASPCA could even have some health benefits for them.

2. Use Citrus Sprays

Citrus sprays are natural cat repellents that won’t harm your dog.

As mentioned above, essential oils are toxic for cats so citrus sprays will help to deter them. Orange, lemon, lime, lemongrass, grapefruit, and bergamot are all good examples of citrus scents that cats don’t agree with.

A bonus for you is that we humans tend to love these scents and if you spray them around your yard and your fence area, it’ll smell great!

Did you know that scents can also be great for raising energy levels, uplifting moods, and enhancing relaxation? You can choose citrus scents that aren’t nice for cats while choosing scents that might benefit you.

3. Put Up Humane Barriers

Putting up barriers is going to be one of your more expensive options and it’s not always guaranteed to work. But if you’ve tried a few other deterrents and nothing has worked so far, maybe this will do the trick.

You can seek council permission to add height to your fence, making it too high for cats to climb, or even plant tall trees that cats will struggle to fit through.

Another barrier option is the ‘Cat Fence In’, originally designed to keep cats in the yard for their own safety. It may help to keep cats out of the yard when they try to scale the unscalable polypropylene netting and decide to stick to the fence line instead.

Your dog might still bark while the cat sits on the fence, but hopefully, the net barrier keeps them out of the yard so both dog and cat can play nice. It does keep most cats out but it also depends on how gutsy and relentless your visitor is.

4. Don’t Leave Food Out and Don’t Feed Them

Cats are smart and some might even say they’re smart enough to cunningly rule the world with their smarts just by continuing to pull our human strings.

It’s called puppy dog eyes and cats do it well. We all know who Puss in Boots is, don’t we?

If it’s the neighbor’s cat, you’re probably just their Tuesday or Wednesday feeder amongst all the other neighbors that they go to on the other days of the week.

If it’s a stray cat, you now have a pet cat,t and getting them to stay out of the yard will be nearly impossible. Either adopt them and welcome them into the family or stop feeding them.

We also recommend not leaving the dog’s food outside either, if cats are hungry, they’ll eat anything just like dogs do.

5. Spread Coffee Ground in the Garden

Another foul smell, according to cats is the smell of coffee.

Considering coffee is a life source for many of us, this isn’t a problem because who likes to share their coffee anyway? And it’s a cheap option for trying to deter cats because most people have coffee in the cupboard whether you drink it or not, you probably have family and friends that visitors who do drink their beloved coffee.

Collect coffee grounds or ask a local café to collect their coffee grounds for you, dry them out, and sprinkle them throughout the garden. Have no fear, dogs don’t like the smell of coffee much either. So, while ingesting large amounts of caffeine can be bad for cats and dogs, the smell should keep them clear.

We would recommend trying this while you’re home so that you can keep an eye on your dogs to make sure they don’t try to eat the coffee grounds.

If this method works, and your dog was also a digger, fingers crossed you’ve killed two birds with one stone and stopped cats from getting in the yard while also stopping your dog from digging up the flowerbed.

6. Motion-Activated Sprinklers

How does your dog feel about water?

I had a Border Collie when I was much younger, and she loved having water splashed her way. She’d chase it, try to eat it, and play all day with the sprinkler or hose if she could.

Other dogs are unfortunately less inclined to love the water so much and might even be scared of the cold substance that seems to come from thin air.

Depending on your dog and how they feel about water, you might consider motion-activated sprinklers to keep cats out of the garden.

As we know, cats are not awfully fond of water unless they’re drinking it from a small bowl that can’t possibly harm them. A motion-activated water sprinkler that goes off in their direction whenever they walk past it, should frighten them enough to jump right out of the garden.

Last update on 2023-01-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Other Sound and Motion Sensors

An ultrasonic animal repeller might also come in handy for keeping cats out of your garden. The downside with this option is that dogs can hear the ultrasonic sounds too.

Ultrasonic sounds are not harmful to animals, it’s just not loved by them, and they would much rather not have to hear them. So, while it’s a great cat repellent, it can also train your dogs to stay away from certain parts of the yard too without hurting them.

They are motion-activated, some have flashlights to also scare uninvited furry friends, and others let off small alarm sounds too.

There are no toxic chemicals, it’s solar-powered, can be mounted on fences, and some of them can have timers set so they’re only activated when you choose for them to be activated. For example, if you keep your pup inside at night, you might want to set the ultrasonic motion sensor to only activate at night.

8. Garden Scarecrows for Cats, Not Birds

Scarecrows can be scary, not just for crows, but for humans too. I mean, for cats too.

Reflective “cat’s eyes” can be strung up around the garden in trees, on the ground in flowerbeds, etc., to deter cats from entering the garden in the hopes that they think other cats are already around.

If the stray cats coming into your yard know what’s good for them, they usually steer clear of other cats to avoid a fight.

On the other hand, some cats like a fight to show whose boss so this might not be as effective as you hope. But they still look like nice garden ornaments and they’re an inexpensive option to try. They might also keep other unwanted visitors like birds away from your fruit and veg garden.

Last update on 2023-01-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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While cats are cute and fluffy, uninvited cats aren’t the best visitors for dogs. They can upset dogs, make them bark at all hours of the day and night, and make them tear through the garden without any thought to your lovely flowers and fresh green grass.

The abovementioned ways to keep cats out of your yard are dog friendly, humane, and won’t burn a hole in the pocket. Some of them even have some benefits for you and your dog which is just the cherry on top.