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How to Keep Cats Off Your Car: 16 Simple Ideas

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat car

How to Keep Cats Off Your Car: 16 Simple Ideas


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Though we all love our furry friends, there is one place we do not want them to hang out: on our cars. Cats can do a lot of damage to the hood and roof of a car. For example, if you have a soft top, they can rip it to shreds. When a car is out in the sun, however, it makes a nice warm place for cats to relax. What’s worse, though, is when the weather is too hot or cold, and they take shelter under the car.

Either way, whether it is your cat or a stray, keeping felines away from your automobile is essential. It is usually easier said than done, unfortunately.

To help you out, we have developed 16 simple ways to make them steer clear of your vehicle. You can accomplish these tasks with just a bit of effort and money.

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The 16 Ways to Keep Cats Away From Your Car

Here are a few simple ways to keep felines away from your car. Some of them are easier than others, but they all have the potential to keep the furballs away.

1. Talk to the Owner

cat owner
Image credit: zavalnia, Pixabay

Though this may seem like a simple thing to do, we understand that it is not always easy, depending on your neighbors. Still, one foolproof way to keep a cat away from your car is by talking to the pet’s owner and asking them to help keep their cat away from your vehicle.

2. Get Rid of Junk Food Wrappers

One reason that you might have a cat lurking about is the smell of food in your car. If you are in the habit of tossing your cheeseburger wrapper in the backseat or leaving a few snacks in the car for the nightly commute home, they could attract wandering felines and other unwanted critters. Getting rid of the food or keeping it in a lunch box or another enclosed area will help keep them away.

3. Use Car Covers

car cover

This is another simple solution if you already have a car cover. If you do not, you can also use a tarp or drop cloth. This won’t necessarily keep them off but will provide a barrier between them and your paint job. However, if the cat is unneutered, they can still mark the material, causing a smell that can eventually creep into your vehicle.

4. Switch Up Your Parking Spot

Another alternative is to change where you park, if possible. Moving to a shady spot or noisy area can save you a lot of work in the long run. Also, if you can park in your garage, the cats cannot disturb it. In general, cats like to lie in warm, quiet locations. If you eliminate the warmth and quiet, they will not be as likely to skulk about.

5. Sound the Horn

Sound the horn
Image Credit: Car horn by VIVIANE6276, Pixabay

This option is startling, but it’s an excellent way to get rid of unwanted guests. You can also set your alarm off when the cat comes near. The trick with this solution is to do it several times before the cat will no longer come close. It can require some lengthy cat stakeouts.

6. Use a Spray Bottle Filled With Plain Water

The number one thing most cats hate is water. A handy spray bottle can do wonders for keeping a cat away. If it is not your pet, we recommend speaking with the owner before using a water sprayer on another feline.

7. Buy a Repellent Spray

keep off pet spray

A repellent spray is a good option if you can find the right one. Not all brands will be effective on all cats. It can depend on which scents your cat enjoys and which they do not. You may have to try several brands before you nail the right one. Once you do, however, you can spray it around the edges of your car and on the bumper and other non-corrosive areas. Before spraying on the paint job, spot-check to make sure it will not leave a mark or discolor your ride.

8. Make Your Own Repellent Spray

An alternative to buying a repellent is making one. For a homemade repellent, you need to use smells that naturally repel cats, such as orange, lime, citrus peels, or rosemary. There are several DIY cat repellent spray recipes online. However, we recommend avoiding spraying directly on your car’s paint. Instead, try spraying around the car’s perimeter to protect the paint from damage and corrosion.

9. Sprinkle Powders

Repellents not only come in spray form but also in powder form. Typically, powders are more effective than sprays, but they are also more expensive. However, they can be blown away in the wind or rain.

bondie cat repellent powder

10. Get Electronic Machines

High-frequency noise machines are another good solution to a feline hang-out. When installed near your car, the noise machine will let off a high-pitched noise that is undetectable to us. Cats, however, will not enjoy the noise and move away. The only drawbacks to this option are that it can cause dogs to bark and that it can be costly to purchase.

11. Install Motion-activated Sprinkler Systems

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Like a spray bottle, a sprinkler system is another way to keep your car safe. A motion-activated sprinkler will be the most effective, but you must remember to turn it off when it’s time to go to your car. Also, you should consider that motion-activated devices cannot discern humans from animals; anyone who walks by is likely to get a surprise.

12. Orange Peels

Another smell cats are not fond of is oranges. Leaving a few orange peels around your car can help rid the area of unwanted guests. However, be careful about leaving them on your hood or other areas with paint. The acid from the orange can also do damage to your paint job.

13. Set Up Lights

motion activated lights

Motion-activated lights are another excellent solution. This is especially true if you already have them installed on the side of your house. Pointing them toward your car can startle the feline and keep them away from your vehicle. If you do not have motion-activated lights, ground-posted spotlights are inexpensive and easy to set up. Before purchasing one, test your opponent by using a flashlight. Not all cats will be scared by a light.

14. Use Sounds

Another common enemy of a cat is a dog. We do not recommend sending your canine to take care of this problem, but a simple cell phone app can emulate the sound of a dog barking to scare away your joyrider.

15. Train in a New Area

Training is not the easiest thing to do with cats, but it can be done. Using positive reinforcement to reward your cat every time they sunbathe in a designated special area and a spray bottle when they come near your car, you can teach your cat that the car is not the place to be and that there is a better option.

woman gives a cat wet treats
Image Credit: Bangkok Click Studio, Shutterstock

16. Place Cat Spike Mats

Cat-spike mats can effectively deter a cat from climbing into your car. Simply place these mats over your car, and cats will no longer find it comfortable. Placing the mat over your car every day might be a bit annoying, but this method is practically guaranteed to work. Mount the mats on a soft base, perhaps one made of silicone or rubber, to prevent causing any damage to your car’s paint.

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We hope you have enjoyed these simple ways to keep your car safe and undamaged. Before using the deterrents on stray cats, ensure they don’t belong to one of your neighbors. Though some of these solutions are easier to do than others, they all have a shot at keeping little paws and claws from damaging your paint job and lowering your car’s value.

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Featured Image: Ruwadium, Pixabay

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