Orange Peels to Stop Cats in the Garden

Save the peel to place in your garden and repel cats.
Save the peel to place in your garden and repel cats. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Keep your cats from digging in your garden and nibbling on your plants using all-natural orange peels. Your feline friends hate citrus-based smells, so they won't want to get anywhere near these pungent peels, which won't harm them in any way. Orange peels are also biodegradable so they won't harm your plants and will even help fertilize them and repel insects.

Cats and Citrus

Cats hate strong citrus-based scents, including orange, lemon or citronella oils, which is why cat-repellent sprays contain them. When they smell these odors, they tend to avoid the areas, according to the Humane Society of the United States. This is why you can use them in aversion training with your cat to keep him out of areas he shouldn't go without harming him. Orange peels are rich in citrus oils and help prevent cats from approaching and digging in soil when you place them in and around your garden, according to Keep them fresh, though, so that the scent stays potent. Add new peels as the old ones begin to dry up and biodegrade into the soil.

How to Use

Peel any oranges you plan to use and put them aside. Cut up the peel into smaller pieces and simply place them directly around the base of your plants or around the perimeter of your garden. You can also boil the orange peels and blend them with an equal amount of water in a food processor to make a repellent solution you can pour around your plants. Make an orange peel powder to sprinkle all over your garden by drying the orange peels in the sun or in a food dehydrator and pulverizing them into a course or fine powder using a food processor.

Effectiveness of Scents

Orange peels should repel your cat and even other cats in the neighborhood away from your garden, but there may be some kitties that don't react to their scent at all. If this is the case, try pairing the orange peels with something else to increase their effectiveness. Mix some coffee grounds with the orange peel pieces, another item with a strong scent that cats don't like, recommends Reader's Digest. Coffee has a pungent, yet pleasant odor to the human nose, just like orange peels, and most cats hate it. Plus, the combination of coffee grounds and orange peels fertilizes your garden. Another alternative is to soak the orange peel pieces in vinegar to add an extra layer of cat-repellent scent to them.

Other Advantages

Not only will orange peels help to keep away curious cats, but they also help repel harmful garden insects like aphids, according to Organic Authority. Orange peels and citrus scents may also repel dogs, without harming either them or the plants. Unlike mothballs or pepper flakes, orange peels won't hurt your cat if he smells them, paws at them or even licks them. The orange peels also keep curious cats away from potentially poisonous plants that could harm them if ingested, while keeping the soil moist and fertilized.

Kitty Garden

After sprinkling orange peels around your garden, consider planting a small patch of catnip and cat grass in an area of your yard accessible to kitties. This will give your cat a place to hang out and nibble on cat-safe plants while further tempting him away from the rest of the garden.

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