Red cat stretching on a red car

14 Easy Ways to Keep Cats Off Your Car

Are you looking for ways to save your car from the unexpected mischief of neighborhood cats?

Maintaining a car goes beyond keeping its engine running smoothly; it’s also about preserving its flawless exterior. After all, no car owner wants to see scratches and dents marring the elegant paint job of their prized possession.

However, our furry friends, the cats, often find cars an enticing playground, leaving potential damage in their wake.

Would you believe it if we told you that the problem of cats clambering over cars is more widespread than you’d think? Though there might not be any formal research pointing this out, many car owners can attest to their vehicles becoming a fun exploration ground for these adorable culprits.

But don’t panic, there’s a solution at hand!

We’ve rounded up 14 simple yet effective strategies to keep cats at bay, ensuring your car remains free from feline frolic. These tips can be your ultimate guide to deter these four-legged explorers from treating your car like their personal adventure park.

Tips to Keep Cats Off Your Car

White cat on a blue car

#1. Use a Cover

Car covers are typically inexpensive, and while they won’t keep the cats off the car, they will keep your car from taking any damage from the cats’ claws. They also provide other benefits, like keeping your car free of bird droppings, fallen leaves and other debris, and even sun damage.

This, of course, is much more of a protective measure than a preventative one, though it would be entirely remiss not to mention this very simple solution to protect you from damage. Most car covers are very affordable and easy to use.

A good car cover will protect your automobile from the harmful effects of cats wandering around on it at night.

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#2. Utilize Your Garage

This tip only applies to people who have a garage. Though you may be surprised to learn most people who have garages use them for things like tools, storage, and pool tables, not actually for keeping their cars inside.

You might want to relocate those boxes to the basement or nix the idea of that barroom-style billiards table, and instead park your car in the garage at night. As long as the door remains shut, cats are not going to wander in there and get in the car.

Like the cover, this also helps protect your car’s paint and surface from other damages that may arise from keeping it outside.

#3. Buy Some Cat Repellent

There are a ton of different options out there when it comes to cat repellent. As we told you, this is a much bigger problem for automobile owners than you may realize. Millions of people deal with cats (and sometimes other animals) crawling all over their cars and messing up the paint with scratches.

You have repellents that come in spray bottles, powder form, washes, oils, and more. Just make sure you’re using these products per the manufacturer’s suggestions so you don’t get anyone or anything sick. You’re not looking to harm anything here; you just want those cats to scram!

Your average bottle of cat repellent, be it granules, powder, or spray, comes in at under twenty bucks, so it’s well worth the investment, as a few pounds of this stuff can last you for a very long time.

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#4. A Mixture of Herbs Can Help

You can also go the do-it-yourself route and create a mixture of potent herbs to spray on your car. While this will cause no harm to your paint, the pungent aroma of the herbs will scare the cat away. You’ll simply need an empty spray bottle and some herbs for this method. Mix them with water.

You can use a wide range of herbs in your bottle mixture, including:

  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Orange peel/zest
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic
  • And more

Basically, you’re looking for herbs and aromatics that have a strong, pungent aroma. Cats will run the other way when they smell these items.

#5. Sound Devices Work Well

Cute cat on a car

Over the past few years, ultrasonic animal-repellent devices have been used to scare mice out of the home and stop dogs from barking in the yard. They’re affordable, easy to set up, and work by emitting an ultrasonic pulse in a pitch so high that only animals can hear it.

When cats walk in range of one of these devices, they cannot stand how it sounds and thus will turn the other way. All the while, you and the people in your home won’t be able to hear what’s going on. These devices are 100% inaudible to the human ear.

There are a variety of sizes and shapes from which you can choose with these devices. You can pick up smaller ones that are housed on ground stakes, and you can push them in right beside your driveway to keep the cats away.

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#6. Got Any Cayenne Pepper?

A lot of you who have cat problems may already have cayenne pepper in the home to cook with. This is a very strong spice that cats won’t dare come near. A little bit of this is in their nose, and you’ll likely never see the cat on your property again.

You won’t have to risk your paint by putting this stuff on your car. Simply go spend a buck or two for a discount bottle of this spice, remove the lid, and walk around the car while sprinkling it on the ground. This will definitely keep the cats away.

Just remember: this is only going to be an effective method while the pepper’s on the ground. Winds and rain will wash or blow it all away, so you must repeat this process every few nights to ensure there’s still pepper on the ground.

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#7. Mothballs Can Work

Mothballs have been working for decades to keep the moths away from people’s clothing items hanging in their closets. What happens with these items is that the balls, made out of solid chemicals, start dissolving and releasing gas. The gas repels moths, and will also work for repelling cats.

The same gas that drives moths away will keep cats away as well. Those small felines want nothing at all to do with that pungent gas. The only issue here will be in keeping those mothballs in place.

If you feel like taking the time, a great way to keep the mothballs around is to put them on toothpicks and then arrange them in a circle around your car. You won’t need a solid circle of mothballs. About one every two feet or so should suffice to keep cats away.

#8. Invest in a Car Alarm

Grey cat sitting on a grey car

A car alarm is an ideal solution. Cats touch your car, the alarm goes off, and they take off running from the noise, exactly how a car thief would, theoretically. Of course, unlike the ultrasonic option, the rub here is that you can also hear this noise. It could go off all night and keep waking you up.

You can tweak sensitivity levels on a car alarm to ensure the slightest touch is not setting it off. Then again, cats are light, and if it’s so sensitive to where a cat would set it off, the wind blowing hard might also result in the same.

So this option all depends on how you’re able to handle the noise. If it’s not a big deal to push the button every now and again to reset the alarm, it’s a fantastic way to keep cats away from your car.

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#9. Use Pungent Liquids

This is a similar solution to the aromatic herb spray mixture, but it’s also the exact same principle at work here. If you took a pungent liquid, like bleach, ammonia, or some pine floor cleaner, you could keep cats well away by pouring this liquid in a circle around your automobile.

However, as with the cayenne pepper, the elements are going to quickly get rid of this stuff. So, in reality, you would have to do this every night or two. The upside here is that you can buy a bottle of cheap ammonia for a dollar at any dollar store, so it’s not an expensive method at all.

Just remember that you don’t want to start pouring this stuff on your grass, flowers, or anything you want to save. It’s only a good method if you use it in your driveway.

#10. Motion Lights Are Effective

Cats are very skittish, even more so than other animals. They’re wandering out there at night, without people, and typically, the slightest noise, smell, or motion makes them scatter. A motion light can also have the same effect on them.

If the cat’s getting too close to your and that bright light suddenly clicks on, the cat’s going to scram over to a neighbor’s yard somewhere, not mess with your car. The added benefits here are that you get some increased security for your car and home from potential burglars and thieves.

Motion lights are typically inexpensive and easy to install. Just make sure you keep them pointed at the car and not at your neighbor’s house.

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#11. Clean Up Around Your Car

Cat near a white car

Believe it or not, nine times out of ten, cats are lurking around your home because there’s some sort of food there. If you’ve ever heard that old adage about never feeding a stray cat because you won’t be able to get rid of them, it’s very true. They’ll keep coming back if there’s food.

Maybe you don’t even realize it, but there could be some garbage out there, food wrappers in the driveway, or food actually inside of your car that they can smell. So take an hour or two when you get the time and go out there and thoroughly clean in and around your car.

This step by itself usually doesn’t act as a full deterrent against cats climbing onto your car, but it will help, especially when combined with other methods you learn about from this piece.

#12. Speak to the Cats’ Owners

A lot of time, cats that jump onto your car are stray cats, just neighborhood cats that no one owns. However, there’s also the possibility that someone owns the cat that’s climbing onto your car and just lets the cat out at night. This is when speaking to the owners can help.

Most owners are going to listen if only because they’re liable for any damages the cat causes, in the same way, dog owners are liable if their dog bites someone. So most pet owners will want to do the responsible thing and stop their cat from wandering onto their car.

It’s definitely a big help if you can find the owner. If not, look no further than the next tip.

#13. Call the Local Animal Control

Almost every town, county, and/or city will have some sort of animal control, usually as a specialized local law enforcement branch. It’s not as if they’re going to show up instantly and hunt down the cat. But if you report that cats are wandering around as strays, they will get there and try to capture them.

Your tax dollars are already paying for this service, typically through property taxes, so there will be no fee involved in having animal control come out to handle the cats for you. Just make sure you stress the seriousness of the situation so that you’re not ignored.

The best part about this method is that if they manage to catch the cat(s), then it’s a permanent solution that won’t cost you a penny, and you won’t have to enact any labor to keep the cat off your car.

#14. Train the Cat

This tip is last because it’s only going to work if it’s your cat getting onto your car. This isn’t that uncommon. Many cat owners let their cats out for the night, and many of these cats will climb onto the car for normal reasons like food or play or even because they smell your scent.

Cats can be trained pretty well to be obedient. Maybe not quite as well as dogs, but they can certainly learn not to climb atop your car. They can be trained to avoid this, which is great, too, because it also keeps them from climbing onto anyone else’s car, which would leave you liable for any damages.

If it’s your cat who’s acting as the culprit, this is definitely a solution you may want to entertain.


There are all sorts of ways by which you can keep those pesky cats off of your car.

All the tips above are easy to implement, and most are affordable. Some are even free of charge.

With tips like these, there’s no reason to ever have to deal with cats on your car again.

How to Stop Cats Going On Your Car (Video)

Related Questions

#1. What materials are safe and effective for creating a DIY cat-repellent spray?

To create a DIY cat repellent spray, use a mixture of strong-smelling herbs and other safe and effective materials to keep cats away. Some potential ingredients include rosemary, lavender, peppermint, orange peel or zest, spring onions, and garlic. Simply mix these herbs with water in an empty spray bottle and use it to deter cats from approaching your car.

#2. How can ultrasonic devices be used to ward off cats from cars?

Ultrasonic devices work as cat deterrents by emitting high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to humans but bothersome to cats. When a cat comes within range of the device, the sound is irritating enough to make the cat turn away and avoid the area. These devices come in various sizes and can be placed strategically around your car to keep cats from jumping on or getting too close to the vehicle.

#3. How can motion-activated lights help deter cats from cars?

Motion-activated lights can be an effective way of deterring cats from climbing on cars. Cats are naturally skittish creatures, and when their movement triggers a sudden burst of light, they will likely be startled and run away. Installing motion lights near your car helps keep cats away and increases security for your car and home.

#4. Why is it important to keep the area around your car clean to prevent cats from approaching it?

Keeping the area around your car clean is essential in preventing cats from being attracted to your vehicle. Cats are often drawn to food sources, so any garbage, food wrappers, or even food left inside the car can lure them to the area. By thoroughly cleaning in and around your car, you eliminate potential attractants, reducing the likelihood of cats treating your car as a playground.

#5. How can speaking to cat owners help in preventing their pets from climbing onto your car?

If you suspect a neighbor’s cat is causing damage to your car, speaking to the cat’s owner can be a helpful solution. Most pet owners would want to be responsible and prevent their pets from causing any damage, especially since they could be held liable for it. By addressing the issue with the cat’s owner, they may take actions to prevent their cat from wandering onto your property and climbing onto your car.

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett

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