If you’re just brought home two kittens for the holidays and love them to death but were surprised at how much trouble they can get in (says an author who has spent the past 3 weeks doing nothing but cleaning up after hers), natural cat repellant is a good solution to investigate. Natural cat repellant is more cost efficient, equally effective, better for the environment and often easier to implement, so it’s highly recommended as a solution for those cats who know no boundaries!
The line of defense as a natural cat repellant is barriers. If there is a room you absolutely can’t let your cats into, say because it holds fine antiques or important papers (or, at my house, my yarn stash), you’ll have to shut the door. Beware that cats are extremely resourceful, and have been known to be able to open doors (there are even reports of them being able to open freezer doors, but not by reliable witnesses), so you may want to lock them as well. If you need to confine small kittens to one level of the house, baby gates work well for a while, but eventually they’ll be able to leap over them.
The second method of natural cat repellant is behavioral modification. If the cats are getting somewhere you don’t want them to be like on the kitchen table, or on top of a $2,000 antique stuffed giraffe (strange but true story), spray them gently with a mister and they will eventually learn to stay away. Well, if I’m being accurate, what will really happen is that they’ll learn to stay away while you’re there. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come home to find my cats on the kitchen table, only to watch them leap off the moment they hear me.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about that except to use scented natural cat repellant. There are a number of plants whose scents repel cats, including coleus canina (a plant with a terrible scent that can only be detected by humans when they touch it); the herb rue, which smells pleasant to humans; a number of oils such as lemongrass oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil; orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime or tangerine peel; or even coffee grounds. With the more pleasant items on this list, you can make sachets out of them to use as cat repellant, but if you don’t want your home to smell like coleus canina or coffee grounds, there are also sprays you can purchase that are made up from these natural cat repellant ingredients where the scent is undetectable to humans. Any of these methods can be used to various degrees of success in the house or garden, so if one doesn’t work, try another until you find the right combination.