Does Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away

Are you a cat-loving gardener who’s tired of your precious plants being destroyed by your outdoor feline friends? If so, you might have heard the suggestion of using coffee grounds as a deterrent. But does it really work? And more importantly, is it safe for your cats? Let’s dive into the topic and find out.

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Can Coffee Grounds Deter Cats?

Sprinkling coffee grounds in your garden can indeed deter cats. As we know, cats dislike strong smells, and the scent of coffee can keep them at a distance. Additionally, using coffee grounds as a fertilizer benefits your plants. As the grounds break down, they release nitrogen into the soil, which improves drainage, aeration, and water retention. They also promote the growth of essential microorganisms and may attract earthworms, creating a healthier garden ecosystem.

coffee grounds

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Are Coffee Grounds Safe for Cats?

While coffee grounds can be a useful deterrent, it’s crucial to consider their potential impact on your furry companions. Coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant drug. While caffeine is generally safe for human consumption, it can have serious side effects, and even be fatal, for cats. Ingesting coffee grounds can lead to toxicity in cats, potentially causing collapse and even death in severe cases.

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Using Coffee Grounds as a Deterrent

If you decide to use coffee grounds as a cat deterrent, here’s how to do it effectively. Scatter the grounds around the areas you want to protect in your garden and scratch the surface of the soil to mix them in. It’s recommended to use used coffee grounds rather than fresh ones from the grocery store. Fresh grounds can be more acidic and negatively affect the pH of your garden and soil. Used grounds typically have a more balanced pH level, which benefits most plants that thrive in a neutral range.

black spoon scooping coffee grounds

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Other Deterrent Options

If you’re not comfortable using coffee grounds or if you’re concerned about your cat ingesting them and falling ill, there are alternative deterrent options you can explore.


Cats dislike various strong smells, so you can use this aversion to your advantage. Consider planting plants with scents that cats hate, such as lavender or rue, in your garden. Alternatively, you can toss orange peels into the soil, as cats generally dislike the smell of citrus.


Cats are attracted to soft and loose soil, which they may mistake for a litter box. To discourage this behavior, make the soil less appealing by covering it with twigs or pushing pine cones into the ground around your plants. Stone mulch or crushed eggshells can also make the soil less inviting for cats.

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DIY cat repellents can be another effective solution. One option is to create a vinegar-based spray by combining equal parts vinegar and water, adding a few drops of liquid hand soap, and spraying it in areas you want to keep your cat away from. Another recipe involves boiling water with citrus peelings, letting it cool, straining the liquid, and adding lemon juice and a squirt of dish soap. This mixture can be sprayed near your garden beds to act as a chemical perimeter.

Final Thoughts

While coffee grounds can be an okay choice as a cat repellent for your garden, it’s crucial to consider the safety of your furry friends. If your cat is not curious or likely to ingest the grounds, you can use them without much worry. However, if your cat is mischievous or unafraid, it might be best to explore alternative options. Remember to prioritize the well-being of your cats while protecting your beloved plants.

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