How Do You Deter Cats Not Hedgehogs?

Do you love cats but can’t stand the mess they leave in your garden? You’re not alone. Many homeowners face this problem, but it’s even worse when you worry about harming the cute little hedgehogs that come to visit. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

There are plenty of ways to deter cats without causing any harm to our spiky friends. With the right methods, you can keep your garden pristine and protect your plants while also ensuring that hedgehogs stay safe and sound.

So, how do you keep those pesky felines away without endangering hedgehogs? In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best methods for deterring cats naturally, including using plants and scents that cats can’t stand. We’ll also dive into physical deterrents like water sprays and mesh netting, as well as humane options like ultrasonic repellents and motion-activated sprinklers.

Are you ready to say goodbye to cat poop in your garden? Keep reading to learn more.

What are Hedgehogs?

These tiny, spiky mammals are famous for their distinctive appearance and natural defense mechanism against predators. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of hedgehogs and learn about their behavior, diet, lifespan, and pet care requirements.

Hedgehogs belong to the Erinaceidae family and are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They possess a coat of sharp spines that cover their back and sides, providing them with a natural defense mechanism against predators. Hedgehogs are omnivorous animals that feed on insects, snails, slugs, and small vertebrates such as frogs and mice. They are mainly nocturnal animals that sleep in nests made of leaves, grasses, and other materials during the day. Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months to conserve energy.

Hedgehogs have a lifespan of around 4-7 years in the wild but can live up to 10 years in captivity. They are solitary animals except during mating season when males seek out females. Although hedgehogs have been kept as pets for many years, some countries prohibit or regulate their ownership. It’s crucial to note that hedgehogs require specialized care and should only be kept as pets by knowledgeable caretakers who understand their needs.

Apart from their unique appearance and behavior, hedgehogs can be beneficial for gardeners. They eat insects and snails that can harm plants, making them natural pest control agents. However, cats can cause damage to gardens and plants while hunting for prey. To keep cats away without harming hedgehogs, gardeners can use natural repellents such as citrus or peppermint oil or prickly plants like rosemary or thorny bushes around the garden perimeter to make the area unpleasant for cats. Physical barriers like fences or netting can also be used to keep cats off specific areas, and ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds can deter cats but must be used with caution as they may affect other animals such as hedgehogs.

Why is it Important to Deter Cats without Harming Hedgehogs?

It’s important to deter cats from entering areas where hedgehogs may be present without causing harm to the latter. But why is this so crucial? Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why.

Firstly, hedgehog populations are already in decline. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) reports that the UK hedgehog population has decreased by 30% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas since 2000. One of the contributing factors to this decline is predation by domestic cats. To ensure hedgehogs have a chance at survival, it’s essential to deter cats from areas where they may be present.

Furthermore, hedgehogs play a vital role in our ecosystems as natural pest controllers. They help keep gardens and crops healthy by feasting on insects like slugs and snails. They also serve as a food source for other wildlife such as birds of prey and foxes. By deterring cats without harming hedgehogs, we can maintain balance in our ecosystems and support biodiversity.

Lastly, using humane deterrents is essential in promoting coexistence between cat owners and wildlife advocates. Methods that harm or kill cats not only cause unnecessary suffering but also create tension between different groups of people. By using non-lethal deterrents, we can work together towards protecting all animals while avoiding conflicts.

Natural Repellents for Deterring Cats

Fortunately, there are several natural repellents that can be used to deter cats from entering your outdoor space without causing harm to the feline friends.

One of the most effective natural cat repellents is citrus. The scent of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits is something that cats dislike. Therefore, you can collect the peels of these fruits and scatter them around your garden or yard. You can also make a citrus spray by boiling the peels in water and then straining the liquid into a spray bottle. A few sprays of this solution around your garden will keep cats away.

Vinegar is another natural substance that cats find repulsive. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where cats tend to frequent. The strong smell of the vinegar will make cats think twice before entering your garden or yard.

Coffee grounds are an excellent way to deter cats from entering your outdoor space. The strong smell of coffee is something that cats avoid, so simply sprinkle some coffee grounds around your garden or yard to keep them at bay.

Cayenne pepper is another natural repellent that can be mixed with water and applied as a spray. The hot and spicy scent of cayenne pepper will keep cats away from your garden or yard.

Lavender oil, known for its soothing and calming properties, can also be used as a cat repellent. Mix lavender oil with water and spray it around your garden or yard to create an unpleasant scent for cats.

It’s important to use these natural repellents responsibly and avoid using them in areas where other animals may be affected. While these substances can be effective, they may not work for all cats. Some cats may be more persistent than others, so it’s important to try different methods until you find the one that works for your outdoor space.

Prickly Plants as a Deterrent

However, if you’re also an avid gardener, you may have experienced the frustration of your plants being used as a litter box or being destroyed by curious cats. Luckily, there’s a natural solution to this problem – prickly plants.

Prickly plants like holly bushes, rose bushes, and cacti can be especially effective at deterring cats because they dislike the feeling of sharp leaves or thorns on their paws. Not only do these plants serve a practical purpose, but they also add a beautiful aesthetic to your garden. Here are some tips for using prickly plants as a cat deterrent:

  • Choose the right plants: Holly bushes are an excellent option for deterring cats, as their pointed leaves are sharp enough to discourage them from climbing over them. Rose bushes also work well because their thorns can cause discomfort to cats that try to climb through or over them. Cacti are another effective option because their sharp spines can cause pain and injury to cats that come into contact with them.
  • Plant strategically: When using prickly plants as a cat deterrent, it’s important to plant them in areas where cats are known to frequent or around the perimeter of your garden. Remember to leave enough space between plants so that cats can’t jump over them.
  • Be cautious: While prickly plants can be great at deterring cats, they can also pose a danger to other animals and humans if not properly handled. Make sure to choose plants that are safe for your specific area and use caution when planting and maintaining them.
  • Supplement with other methods: Prickly plants alone may not be enough to keep all cats out of your garden. Consider supplementing their use with additional methods such as motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices for a more comprehensive approach.

Physical Barriers to Keep Cats Out

From fences to prickly plants, here are some physical barriers that can help you create a cat-free zone.

Let’s start with the classic fence. While it may be a bit of an investment, a fence is a great way to keep cats out. Make sure it’s at least six feet tall and has a smooth top to prevent agile cats from climbing over it.

If a fence isn’t feasible, chicken wire or mesh netting can be a more affordable choice. Simply create a barrier around the area you want to protect and secure it tightly to the ground.

For a more natural approach, consider planting thorny bushes or plants with sharp leaves around your property’s perimeter. Holly bushes, rose bushes, and cactus plants are popular choices that not only deter cats but also add beauty to your outdoor space.

If you want to protect specific surfaces, cover them with netting or aluminum foil. Cats won’t enjoy walking on these materials and may think twice about returning to the area.

It’s important to note that physical barriers may not work for all cats and situations. Determined kitties may find a way around or through them, and they may not be suitable for shared outdoor spaces or areas where aesthetics are crucial. In such cases, other deterrent methods such as repellents or noise devices may be more effective.

Ultrasonic Devices to Repel Cats

These innovative gadgets emit a high-frequency sound that is inaudible to humans but can be heard by feline ears. The sound makes cats uncomfortable and deters them from entering certain areas, making it an ideal solution for keeping them off your garden beds or patio furniture.

But not all ultrasonic devices are created equal. Some are motion-activated and only emit sound when they detect movement, while others emit a continuous sound. Some even offer the option to set different frequencies, which may be more effective in deterring certain types of cats.

It’s essential to do your research and choose the right device for your specific needs as some cats may become accustomed to the sound over time. Additionally, some cats may be too stubborn or determined to be deterred by the sound alone. Therefore, it’s best to use these devices in conjunction with other methods such as physical barriers or deterrent sprays.

When using an ultrasonic device, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Proper placement and maintenance are crucial for optimal effectiveness, and some devices may require regular battery replacement.

Tips for Safely and Effectively Deterring Cats without Harming Hedgehogs

Fortunately, there are several safe and effective ways to deter cats without causing harm.

Physical Barriers:

Creating physical barriers using chicken wire or prickly plants can help prevent cats from accessing certain areas. Covering flower beds with mesh or using thorny bushes like rose bushes can also deter cats from entering. Physical barriers are effective in keeping cats out while still allowing hedgehogs to move freely.

Scent Deterrents:

Cats have a keen sense of smell, which can be utilized to deter them from entering a garden. Using scents that cats dislike, such as citrus peels, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus, can discourage them from entering an area. These natural repellents can be sprayed around the garden or on specific plants that cats tend to target.

Ultrasonic Devices:

Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to cats but do not affect other animals. However, it is important to ensure that the device is not set at a frequency that could harm hedgehogs or other wildlife. Ultrasonic devices are an effective way to deter cats without causing harm.

Alternative Areas for Cats:

Providing designated play areas, scratching posts, or litter boxes for cats can redirect their attention away from gardens and outdoor spaces where hedgehogs may be present. This helps keep cats occupied and less likely to venture into areas where they are unwanted.

Removing Food Sources:

Cats are often attracted to bird feeders, compost bins, and uncovered garbage cans. By removing these sources of food, cats are less likely to be attracted to the area and will move on to other locations.


In conclusion, maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem requires deterring cats without harming hedgehogs. While cats can cause destruction to gardens and plants, hedgehogs play a crucial role in natural pest control. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective ways to keep cats out of outdoor spaces.

Natural repellents such as citrus peels, vinegar, coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, and lavender oil offer an eco-friendly way to discourage cats from entering gardens or yards. For a physical barrier, prickly plants like holly bushes, rose bushes, and cacti are a great option. Alternatively, ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds can also be used for deterring cats.

It’s important to use these methods responsibly and avoid using them in areas where other animals may be affected. In addition to this, providing alternative areas for cats to play or removing food sources that attract them can redirect their attention away from outdoor spaces where hedgehogs may be present.

By implementing these measures effectively, we can promote coexistence between cat owners and wildlife advocates while supporting biodiversity in our ecosystems.