15 Ways to Prevent Your Cat From Digging Into Your Plants!

Cats can be very determined when they want to do something. Unfortunately for us home gardeners, that also includes digging our beloved plants.

But don’t lose hope! There are a few tricks for you to try and effectively stop cats from digging into your plants both at home and outdoors.

Deter cats from digging into the soil of plants with:

  1. Adhesive tapes
  2. Air blaster
  3. Aloe vera gel
  4. Chicken wires
  5. Citrus fruits
  6. Egg crates
  7. Foil strips
  8. Fragrant plants
  9. Hanging pots
  10. Plastic bags
  11. Irregular rocks
  12. Scat mats
  13. Spray bottles
  14. Strong spices
  15. Whistles

Wondering how to use these correctly? Let me teach you!

Effective Ways to Prevent Cats From Digging Into Plants
Effective Ways to Prevent Cats From Digging Into Plants

Adhesive Tapes

Sticky surfaces aren’t nice to touch, especially if you aren’t expecting it. As it turns out, cats feel the same way!

You probably have a variety of different tapes at home, so pick out the one you use the least. A regular clear double-sided tape will work just fine.

If you don’t have any, you could also use carpet tape or adhesive shelf paper or liner. Place them around your plants to deter your cats from digging.

But don’t use duct tape or electronic tape. Those are a bit too sticky. When you use them, you may have issues with your kitty losing lots of furs or even strangulation.

Air Blaster

Canisters of compressed air, like those electric dusters typically used for cleaning keyboards and other electronic devices, can help you prevent a cat from digging into plants.

One time, a friend of mine even shocked the living daylights out of her cat while she was using her steam iron at home!

Just avoid scaring off your cat more than necessary as unnecessary stress from such a super scary event can be harmful to them.

It’s also best to stay away from chemical air dusters since those contain compressed gasses that have been liquified. This includes difluoroethane and propane.

Skin contact and inhalation can be extremely dangerous with chemical air blasters!

Aloe Vera Gel

One common cosmetic product nowadays that can help you keep your cats away from your plants is aloe vera gel.

Yes, I’m talking about those tubs of clear aloe gel. They don’t like the smell or taste of this goo.

Apply a generous amount of aloe gel on cotton balls or clean pieces of cloth and place them on a plastic container before putting them near your plants.

Cats will stay away and abandon their attempts at digging!

Chicken Wires

Got some chicken wires laying around at home? Well, if you don’t have any, you might consider getting some after this.

Plastic chicken mesh isn’t dangerous, but they feel quite uncomfortable around the edges.

It’s the abrasive texture that cats are not a huge fan of. It is, however, not so sharp to cut through your cat’s skin or paws. You can just place it around your plants.

Simply put, it’s another safe and cheap material that can be used to deter plants from digging up your plants from the ground!

Citrus Fruits

As I have mentioned in an earlier section, citrus fruits aren’t appealing to cats. They don’t like the taste and smell of citrusy fruits and plants.

You can use fresh citrus plant parts, like peeled lemons, lime peels, and the juice or concentrate of virtually any citrus plant that’s readily available in your area.

Perfumes, sprays, air fresheners, and similar products can also be used.

Egg Crates

Reuse your old egg crates by using them to shield your plants from your cat’s paws.

Whether you use plastic or paper egg crates doesn’t really matter. From what I’ve experienced, both options work very well in preventing cats from digging into plants.

They don’t like the texture and the sound that comes with them stepping on or touching egg crates.

Foil Strips

Shiny strips of foil can also be scattered in and around your potted pots.

These seemingly useless foil strips are very effective in stopping cats from going near and trying to dig into plants.

Fragrant Plants

Cats don’t like the smell of aloe vera and citrus plants. You could use their ready-to-use essential oils. But those aren’t exactly safe from our furry friends.

Candle wax cubes infused with naturally aversive scents for cats are another effective way of stopping cats from digging into the soil of plants without much harm or effort.

Stay on the side of caution by blitzing fresh lemons or aloe vera leaves with some water. Then, soak clean pieces of fabric for a few hours.

After that, place your soaked cloth pieces in separate bowls and spread those around your plants. this is especially great for indoor plants.

Hanging Pots

Instead of keeping your plants in containers that you’ll have to place on the floor, use hanging pots as much as possible.

Keep your hanged plants away from your cat’s reach by moving them away from other places your cats can easily climb such as shelves and counters.

High floating shelves with no lower layers can also be considered to get the same results.

By doing so, your cat won’t even be able to get close enough to try and dig into your plants.

Plastic Bags

Similar to foil, cats don’t enjoy touching the slippery surface of plastic materials, including plastic bags and sheets.

Place them around your plants–potted or not. You can also place this directly on top of your beloved plants.

Irregular Rocks

Look for irregular-shaped rocks in your garden and embed them in the soil surrounding the base of your plants.

Try not to use anything that’s too sharp as you would want to prevent unwanted digging but you wouldn’t want to hurt your precious cat.

You can also top the growing medium of your potted plants with irregular rocks and stones to achieve the same effect.

Scat Mats

Those wide mats with soft plastic spikes across their entire surface are also effective for stopping cats from digging into your plants.

Electronic versions give a very faint but still surprising static shock. Despite their infamous reputation, most scat mats are not at all dangerous.

Spray Bottles

Regular water spray bottles have been used to deter cats for as long as I can remember. However, using spray bottles to stop your cat from digging into your plant’s soil.

Let’s be honest, cats are clever creatures. Once they learn that they’ll only get sprayed when you’re around, they will start digging into your plants when you’re not around.

Strong Spices

Spices you can find in your pantry, including ground black pepper and cayenne pepper powder, can also help you prevent your cat from digging plants.

These taste too strong to be enjoyable for our feline friends.

As such, you should only sprinkle a few spices around your plants first to test your beloved cat’s reaction. Don’t overdo it.


Blowing a small plastic whistle whenever your plants come anywhere near your plants can help you train them to stay away and not dig your plants.

Just make sure to offer an alternative activity or toy for it to entertain itself with. Otherwise, it might just keep going to your plants to catch your attention.

Nevertheless, I prefer using a whistle over an air horn as those can be too loud and startling.

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