25 Easy Ways To Keep Cats Off Your Vehicle

25 Easy Ways To Keep Cats Off Your Vehicle

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Chase Manhattan

Every neighborhood has that cat that just won’t stop getting on cars. There’s something with cats and vehicles, they love them. This wouldn’t be a problem if the vehicles don’t get scratched up from those long nails. The paint isn’t the only thing that gets damaged though. The cat can get under the hood and potentially damage some engine components.

Pets are cute and all, it’s hard not to love them. But in scenarios like these, it’s just annoying. No one wants claw marks and dirty cat footprints on their paint job. So, you want to keep the cats off your car. How do you do that? There are a couple of solutions, some less some more ideal. Here are 25 easy ways on how to keep cats off your car or vehicle.

  1. Ask the owner to keep it inside
  2. Ask the owner to clip its claws
  3. Buy a repellent spray
  4. Mothballs
  5. Get a car cover
  6. Install motion activated lights
  7. Install motion controlled sprinklers
  8. Ultrasonic Repellent
  9. Cayenne Pepper
  10. Dry herbs
  11. Make a repellent
  12. Sprinkle Powder
  13. Static Mats
  14. Alarm System
  15. Brewed Coffee
  16. Lemon peels
  17. Orange peels
  18. Remove food
  19. Wash Yard
  20. Switch parking area
  21. Park in a garage
  22. Training
  23. Dog Bark App
  24. Ultrasonic Sound App
  25. Remote Horn

There you go, plenty of options to choose from. Let’s expand a bit.

How To Keep Cats Off Your Car (Avoid Pesky Cats)

How To Keep Cats Off Cars

Ask The Owner To Keep Cat Inside

Now, the ideal solution would be to have a chat with the owner. Of course, if it’s your cat that you are having problems with, you keep it inside.

The thing is, all of these solutions work differently. For instance, some cats won’t be bothered by noises or odors. Most would be but there are exceptions. That’s why it’s best to keep cats off your car entirely.

I know that pet owners can be quite protective, but I’m sure most people would understand if you approach them reasonably. Explain how you mean well and explain your situation. If the owner does not agree to keep the cat inside, try the next solution.

Ask The Owner To Clip The Cat’s Claws

Cats have sharp claws. I think cat owners know exactly what I’m talking about. They are so sharp that they can scratch the paint job.

Well, if the owner won’t agree to keep the cat inside, you can ask them if clipping the cat’s nails would be acceptable. The thing is most people like to let the cat outside. So, asking for clipping is more reasonable.

With this, you eliminate the potential danger of the cat scratching your car. As long as the cat does not get under the car hoods first, you should be okay.

If you are having problems with pesky cats that sleeps under the hood of the car, this doesn’t work exactly.

Buy A Repellent Spray

There are a lot of effective cat repellent spray options that you can choose from, or you cna make your own repellent spray – which we’ll cover later. These carry a scent that will repel most cats. It’s a good, effortless solution to stop the cat from going in your car.

Don’t worry, this is not dangerous for the cat in any way. It’s just a scent that the cat will dislike. Most cats dislike the smell of citrus which is why a few orange peels – to be covered later – act as an effective cat repellent.

The only problem is, you can’t know what scents the cat is used to. So, you may have to try several repellent sprays until you find the right one.

Do not spray on the paint though. Just around the car. Around the tires, and on the bumper. Avoid parts that corrode easily.

If the smell starts getting inside your car, get a refreshing air freshener for your car.



Are you familiar with mothballs? The smell of mothballs is another scent that cats can’t handle. You can find these online, not expensive at all. They are a quick and affordable way to keep cats off your car.

Just put the mothballs in a paper bag, and poke holes in the bag so the smell comes out. Place multiple bags around your car, on the hood, and on the roof. The places where you saw the cat resting. This will deter cats from returning to the area.

Be careful, mothballs are good cat repellent but have an unpleasant smell. So, get an air freshener for your car.

Get A Car Cover

Here is another simple solution that requires no effort, car covers. I’m going to be honest, car covers are expensive, so this is also an expensive solution.

A car cover will not stop the cat from getting on your car but it will protect against scratches. Also, the cat won’t be able to get underneath the cover, so it can’t reach the hood. It’s not the best way to protect your paint job but it’s an easy way to keep paw prints off the vehicle.

Remember, a bad-quality car cover can do more harm than good. So, if you are willing to go for this solution, get a high-quality custom-made car cover.

Install Motion Activated Lights

Cats are sneaky and subtle. They do things when no one is watching. As soon as someone sees them, they start freaking out.

So, when you blast them with your motion activated lights all of a sudden, they will stop and back off. That’s why motion activated lights in your yard may keep cats from getting in. Just install lights that are set off by motion sensors. Typically, cats avoid any kind of sudden movement so are likely to question returning to the area.

This does not work with every cat though. Some cats won’t be bothered by the lights. Or, after three or four tries they may get used to it so it may not be the best solution, but is still worth trying.

Install Motion Sprinklers


Unlike lights, a motion activated sprinkler system will definitely get stop cats from getting in your yard. This works as long as you park your car in your yard.

Cats hate being sprayed with cold water. As soon as the motion activated sprinkler start spraying, the cats will run off. It makes no sense for you to wait for the cat so you can turn off the sprinklers. That’s why motion controlled sprinklers, turned on by motion detectors are better.

Install the sprinklers on several locations so if a cat walks in, the sprinklers will start. The only bad thing about this is that your yard may get wet when you don’t want it to. Also, you may get sprayed sometimes too.

Ultrasonic Cat Repellent

Ultrasonic Cat Repellent

Have you ever seen one of those devices for protection against dogs? The ones that let out an ultrasonic repellent. These are great for keeping cats away while also deterring other unwanted visitors. Since they are ultrasonic, they will not be heard by human ears.

Most pets don’t like sounds like that. Do you have to wait for the cat though? No, there is a device that you install in your yard. When the cat touches sets off loud noise from the motion sensor, the sound will automatically start the ultrasound systems.

These are known as ultrasonic cat deterrents.

Ultrasonic cat deterrents will keep cats off your car for sure. However, the device is quite expensive. Also, it may start bothering other animals in the neighborhood.

Cayenne Pepper

The taste and the scent of cayenne peppers are another cat repellent. So, sprinkling cayenne pepper will stop cats from getting on your car.

Crush the black pepper and sprinkle the powder around your car. The cats will still try to get in but with each try, you are training it to stay away.

You may have to reapply the powder once you see that it’s gone.

Dry Herbs

Dry Herbs

There are a lot of dry herbs that work similarly to cayenne pepper. You can try sprinkling these around your car if you have kids playing in your yard. This is likely the one of the most accessible ways to keep cats off your car.

You can try several options here. Go for the ones with a strong scent like lavender, rue, or rosemary. Cats have sensitive noses so anything with a strong smell is likely to deter cats further.

Make A Repellent At Home

If you have essential oils at home, you can make your own cat repellent spray. Just make sure that the oils are not dangerous to cats.

Mix the essential oils and water in a spray bottle, and spray around your car, on the bumper, and around the tires. This is a fail-and-try method. It may take some time until you figure out what scents work.

Sprinkle Powder Repellent

You don’t have to use a repellent spray. If you don’t like how it smells, or if it does not work. Try using sprinkle powder.

There are several sprinkle powder cat repellents you can find online. It’s often easiest to apply them when using a spray bottle.

Static Mats

I don’t like this option but that does not matter here. I just want to give you as many options as possible.

Static mats are floor mats that emit electricity. The charge is not dangerous for cats but it can be a bit cruel. If you’re unsure about this method, I recommend you seek veterinary guidance.

You can try placing mats around the perimeter where the cat will step on it. Remember, if we are talking about a neighbor’s cat, have a chat with them before doing this.

Also, this is not that effective since the cat can just circle around the mat.

Install An Alarm System

If you have an alarm system on your car, the cat has set it off at least once. Did you see how the cat reacts?

Well, the basic car alarm system will make the cat run off by emitting a high pitched sound, but will not stop it from getting on the car. Also, when the cat is running away, it may scratch the car’s paint job badly.

That’s why it’s better to install an alarm system around the car. There are motion activated animal alarms you can find online. You stop the cat before it gets on the car.

Brewed Coffee Beans

An alternative to cayenne pepper and dry herbs is coffee. Cats don’t like this scent and smell. Try this if you don’t like the other options.

You don’t place this around your car though. Place the brewed coffee beans around your yard. The cat will think twice about entering your yard at all.

Lemon Peels

Lemon Peels

Another strong scent that you probably thought of is lemon. You can try placing lemon peels around your yard or around your car.

You may have to do this once or twice a week for it to be efficient.

A Few Orange Peels

Orange peels work the same way as lemon peels. It’s just a matter of what you have on hand. If the cats ignore the lemon peels, try using orange. You can also use an orange essential oil as an alternative. This is best done by mixing the essential oils in a spray bottle for easy use. This is probably one of my favorite ways to keep cats off your car because it’s easy to use, it’s cheap, and it’s an effective repellent in a harmless spray that also smells great – if you like citrus. The only downside is that it takes a bit more attention to keep up the scent.

Remove Food From Your Car

The reason why cats are hanging around your car may be the fact that you have food wrappers in your car.

If this is the case, just clean your car regularly. Make sure it has some strong aromatic scent so the cat won’t be attracted to it.

Wash Your Yard Regularly

Wash Your Yard Regularly

Cats are creatures of habit. They will go where they can find a familiar scent. So, if the cat peed in your yard or on your car, it will come back for sure.

That’s why you need to remove any familiar scents from your yard, cats frequent locations they’ve marked as a way of establishing their territory. To resolve this, just to wash your yard regularly with a garden hose.

Of course, you can’t do this if you are causing water problems to your neighbors.

Change Your Parking Area

This solution is only for car owners that park in the street, and it may not be the best solution if you’re looking for something that may be better as a long term solution.

If you are parked in your yard, just skip this.

The thing is, the cat probably is attracted to your parking spot. If you change it, it may stop the cat from coming.


Another thing you can try is to train the cat to stop going near your car. There are several ways you can try doing this.

One way is to spray it with water any time the cat comes into your yard. Or, you can try intimidating the cat. However, if the cat is not yours, you first need to ask permission from the owner. Maybe you can do this together.

Dog Bark App

Dog Bark App

Dogs scare cats, we all know that. A dog barking will notify cats and other pests that they should not come near the sound.

I’m not saying that you should sick your dog on the cat. Just install a dog bark app on your phone. The thing is, you have to wait for the cat to come so you can turn on the sound. It’s not ideal but it’s a way to train the cat to stay away.

Ultrasonic Sound App

If the ultrasonic repellent device is too expensive, you can just download the sound on your phone.

This comes with a price though, you will have to wait for the cat to come near your car. Try this if you are willing to stake out the cat.

Remote Horn

You can install a remote horn on your car that is set off with the remote key. Again, this is a solution that requires you to stake out the cat.

Once you see the cat near your car, just press the key for the high pitched sound to go off. It’s an alternative for animal alarms.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is Vinegar A Good Cat Repellent Spray

Yes, vinegar has a strong acidic smell that cats don’t like. Don’t spray it on the car paint though, it will corrode it.

What Scents Do Cats Hate The Most

Citrus smells like lemon and orange. Dry herbs smell like rue and lavender. The mustard smell is also something that cats don’t like. Minty smells as well.

How Do Cats Get Under Car Hoods?

Cats can get under car hoods a number of ways. Typically, an opening in the wheel well of the car will allow the cat to easily climb into the engine bay. Otherwise, if your car does not have a skid plate, the underside of the car gives a cat plenty of access to under the hood.

How To Keep Cats Out of Garage?

You can keep cats out of your garage by following the same procedures we outlined above. My personal favorites are using motion activated lights, sprinkling cayenne pepper around the radius of your garage, or using static electric mats where the cat may walk into the garage.

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