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How to Keep Cats off Cars

by Kevin Lee August 18, 2023

How to Keep Cats off Cars

We love seeing our cat stalk some imagined prey in the long grass or laying on its back, soaking up the sun. But if one thing irks all people, cat-lover or not, it is muddy cat footprints (or scrapes!) on your car's bonnet.

How to keep cats off cars?

  • Revive your garage as a cat-free haven or opt for a car cover – both effective ways to preserve your vehicle's cleanliness.
  • If you're more into DIY, sprinkling stuff like cayenne pepper, lemon balm, or mint can work wonders.
  • You can also outsmart cats with snake decoys, cardboard box distractions, or aluminum foil.
  • And if you're a bit techy, ultrasonic pet alarms can deter them with sound.
  • Finally, there are those nifty pressure-activated mats.

Discover the best gentle solutions to keep cats (like Apollo) off motor vehicles.

Four broad strategies to keep cats off cars.

Apollo, my black-and-white tuxedo cat, has a particular preference for warm car hoods. In winter, it is the perfect spot to warm up and scout the world. My neighbor has just bought a new car, so you can imagine he is not over the moon when he spots Apollo on his prized new possession.

We suggest a few strategies as you might have to try multiple. Cats are individuals (don't we know it?), and what works for one might not work for another.

Pick one that resonates with you, and you'll be closer to finding a solution to your pesky 'cat-loves-car' problem.

Create A Feline-Free Haven For Your Car

Sometimes it helps to look at the problem from another angle. Instead of focusing on the cat, focus on your car.

Discover your garage again

We know you need the space for storage. But the sturdy four walls of a garage are the best way to keep cats from sitting in your car.

Take a weekend, clean your garage, and your problem is solved.

No garage? Use a car cover

Significantly cheaper than building a garage, a car cover eliminates most of your problems with cats. They can jump on but won't scratch your car or get dirty.

We promise that even the in-built hassle of putting on and removing the car cover each day will get easier after a while.

Change things up

I've found parking in different spots keeps Apollo from my car.

He is a creature of habit, and when the vehicle isn't in 'his' place, he is unlikely to go and look for it. Problem solved!

Repellant Rites: Sprinkle, Sprinkle

What will you need to follow this tutorial

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Herbs such as lemon balm, lavender, citronella, mint, and rosemary
  • Pet-repellant commercial products
  • motion-sensor water sprinkling device

The battle between cats and cars is real. But fear not. If you are more hands-on, you'll find different 'sprinkle' solutions right up your alley.

One example that illustrates the success of this method is Apollo's disgust with cayenne pepper. I found it remarkably efficient in deterring him from my neighbor's new car. Sprinkle, and sprinkle around the vehicle (with my neighbor's permission), and Apollo was kept at bay.

Herbs, such as lemon balm, lavender, citronella, mint, and rosemary, can be as effective. If you create an aromatic barrier around your car, cats will be discouraged from getting too close.

There are also effective pet-repellant commercial products on the market. Do not spray solutions directly onto your car; some might damage the paintwork.

Another way of 'sprinkling' can be just as effective. Cats hate water, and a motion-sensor water sprinkling device provides a non-toxic and humane way of protecting cars against unwanted kitty attention.

The Guardians Of The Wheels

You may not be into home remedies and want to avoid water continuously near your car. Your solution for cats on vehicles might be to call in the big guns: psychological warfare..

'Is that (gasp!) a snake?'

A fake snake on the hood of a car is enough to freak out any cat.

As they can't see the snake before they jump up, they don't have time to figure out it is not alive.

This method works best if you get creative with different types of fake snakes, swap them around, and put them in different positions.

' I've never seen a cardboard box I did not love.'

This is especially true for Apollo. A strategically placed cardboard box (or two) is enough of a deterrent for him to ignore the car and go for the box instead.

Cats hate foil

This might be worth a shot if you suspect your cat is choosing the car's hood because of the warmth.

A strip or two of aluminum foil may keep him away.

'What is that noise?'

Ultra-sonic pet alarms won't disturb the neighbors; cats find them distracting and unpleasant.

These alarms work like a flashlight – only for sound – and must be directed towards the area you'd want to protect. Away, Kitty!·

A Behavioral Purr-Suasion Plan

Picture this: Apollo McWhiskers confidently struts towards your car, ready to claim it as his spot for the day. But as soon as his paw touches the pressure-activated mat you've purchased – zap!

These mats work by conditioning behavior. Cats soon learn that cars equal unpleasant tingles – and that it is better to stay away.

Let's face it, after a few 'electrifying' experiences, Apollo will start pondering the merits of the simple cardboard box again.


Dealing with pesky cats in your car could be more fun. Thankfully, there are ways to solve this without causing harm to our furry friends or turning your vehicle into a battleground.

Remember, each cat is unique, so don't be discouraged if your first attempt doesn't do the trick.

However, you'll find something in these tips that will best fit your cat, your car's dignity, and peace in the neighborhood.

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