How to Keep Cats Off Your Cars – 8 Effective Methods

Pets, especially cats, are fun to keep, but they can get out of hand at times. Even if you do not own one, every neighborhood has a cat. Most cats love staying around vehicles. You will find them comfortably sitting on the vehicle under the hood. These little animals can scratch up the paint from your vehicle with their long nails or damage components under your vehicle’s hood. You should, therefore, learn how to keep cats off your cars. 

Every car owner understands how annoying it is to find scratches or dirty cat footprints on their vehicle. Sometimes it gets to the extreme when the cats climb on your vehicle after just re-painting, washing it, or even when it is new. You can wipe them off for cat prints, but scratches make them quite serious. You may be a cat lover, but no one wants to keep re-painting their vehicles due to cat prints. Here are solutions on how to keep cats away from parked cars.

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how to keep cats off parked cars

Why are Cats Attracted to My Car?

When cats frequent your vehicle more often, even when there are other cars around, you wonder why cats are attracted to my car? 

Well, cats love to stay in warm places. Therefore, when you drive in, the engine heat is attractive and offers a comfortable place for the cat, especially during winter.

It is advisable to always check under your vehicle’s hood before driving off the vehicle on chilly mornings to see if there are any small residents curled inside. Another thing that may attract felines is if they scent another cat’s body odor in or around your vehicle. Just like any other animal, they want to be around their mates.

The smell of food coming from your vehicle is another reason cats may be lurking around it. If you are the type who throws burger wrappers at the backseat or leaves snacks in your vehicle, then their smell will attract the little paws prints. Make it a habit to keep your food in an enclosed area like a lunch box or remove it from the vehicle to keep kittens away.

How Do You Know If a Cat Is in Your Car?

Cats love a warm place, but this makes cars offer a serene environment. They may at times hide under the hood, windshields on wheels. The only way to know if there is a cat in your car is to check. It is advisable to check for any unwanted passengers before starting your vehicle.  To ease your task, beeping the horn or banging the hood will scare away any cats hiding in your vehicle.

Always take a peek at the tires and under your car to ensure it is clear and safe to drive. Other signs are if you note animal hair on your car or dead rodents around the yard or driveway. If you own a cat or there is one in your household, make it a habit to do a quick check before starting your vehicle.

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how to keep cats off your car at night

How to Keep Cats Off Your Cars

Having seen what attracts felines and how to know if there is one in your vehicle, you now need to understand how to keep cats off parked cars. There are so many ways you can use to prevent cats from coming into your vehicle when parked, which include:

1. Using Mothballs

Mothballs are among the cheapest and easiest ways of keeping cats away from your vehicle. They have been used to keep away moths from clothes hanging in the closet for many years. Mothballs are made from solid chemicals. When it starts dissolving, it releases a gas that helps in repelling moths and cats.

Cats cannot handle the smell of mothballs. The challenging part of using mothballs is keeping them in place. The best method is putting them on toothpicks and placing them around the vehicle. The toothpicks should be approximately 2 feet apart. Mothballs do not have a pleasing odor. Therefore, you may need to use an air freshener in your vehicle before driving.

2. Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper

A quick and affordable way of keeping cats from your vehicle is sprinkling cayenne pepper around your vehicle. Cats hate the taste and scent of cayenne peppers. This method may take some time for the felines to stay completely away, but it will eventually work. Continue using the pepper until they learn the boundaries. You can also use black pepper in place of cayenne pepper.

3. Buy a Cat Repellent

Cat repellants are among the best bets on keeping felines away from your vehicle. There are different types of cat repellants on the market. They come in the form of oils, washes, powder, and sprays. Read and follow instructions given by the manufacturer for maximum effectiveness and to avoid any harm.

The challenge of using these repellants is that felines are sensitive to different smells. Therefore, what works for one cat may not work for another. Check the reviews given by previous users to get the best spray to keep cats off cars. Some spray repellants may also be made with corrosive elements. Buy all-natural cat repellant sprays that will not damage your vehicle paint job.  

Suppose you decide to use cat powder repellants, chemical-free and organic repellants safe for plants, children, and other household pets. The cons of using powder cat repellants are that they can be blown away by the wind or rain. However, the repellants are not costly, and you will easily get them online or in pet stores.

4. Use Ultrasonic Animal Repellant

 These are motion-activated sensors that activate when cats come around your car. When animals near your vehicle, the sensor trips produce a loud noise undetectable to humans but scare the cats away. Most ultrasonic repellants use sounds such as dogs barking, which cats don’t like.

However, the device is expensive to purchase, and it may disturb dogs in your neighborhood. Another option would be to use your car alarm. When the felines touch your vehicle, the alarm scares the cats. The downside of using a car alarm to scare cats is that the noise will wake you up.

5. Install an Automatic Sprinkler

I have found my neighbor’s cat climbing on my car. What should I do? Cats do not like water and that is what makes this method quite effective. The motion-controlled sprinklers sprinkle water to the cats whenever they try to get near your vehicle. After using the sprinkler for some time, the cats will learn that they are not welcomed anywhere near your vehicle.   

Set the sprinkler strategically near your car. You can purchase two horses to cover both sides of your vehicle. There are a variety of these sprinklers in the market. The disadvantage of this method is that it will wet the cats and anything or anyone who comes close to the vehicle.  

6. Use Car Covers

This is among the most effective and simplest ways to prevent cats from scratching my car. The car cover will not necessarily keep the cats away from the vehicle, but it offers a barrier between its paint job and the cat. However, if the feline pees on the car cover, it can leave an odor which will eventually get in the vehicle.

7. Use of Natural Remedies

If you find the above methods difficult, we still have home remedies to keep cats off your car. Felines cannot stand the smell of oranges. Therefore, just peel an orange irrespective of the type and put them near the vehicle. Be careful not to place the peels on the car paint job. Acid from orange peels can damage your paint job.

You can also use essential oil to make a homemade cat repellant. The most challenging part is discovering what smell will work. Cats are irritated by different scents, and thus you need to know precisely what smell the specific cat cannot stand. Also, ensure that the essential oil is not poisonous to the feline.

8. Park in the Garage

If you have a garage, then it is the best solution for how to keep cats off your car at night. Clean the garage and get rid of all unwanted junk, and have enough space to park your vehicle at night. This makes it easy to keep the cats away and the vehicle safe.

How to stop cats going on your car YouTube Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What Can I Spray On the Car to Keep Cats Off?

There are various ways of keeping cats off your vehicle, and using a spray is one of them. There are lots of spray cat repellants on the market. Read the ingredients to ensure that they are not harmful to your pets. You can also make a homemade cat repellant spray by mixing water and essential oil. Use essential oils such as peppermint, orange, or lavender. The challenge is to get the exact smell that will work with your cat in both cases.

Q: How Do I Stop Cats Climbing On My Car Engine?

Cats love to climb in the car engine, especially when it is still hot, to get some warmth. However, they destroy some parts and ruin the car’s paint job through scratching. Some of the ways you can keep the cats from your car engine are putting mothballs around your vehicle, sprinkling cayenne pepper around the car, or using motion-activated lights and sprinklers or animal alarms, among others.

Q: What Smells Will Keep a Cat Away?

Cats are different, and different smells chase them. What works for one feline may not work for another one. Some odors that keep cats away are orange, pepper, mint, rosemary, citronella, rue, lavender, or vinegar smells.

Q: What Smell Do Cats Hate Most?

Felines are rather sensitive when it comes to smell. There are some scents that these felines cannot condone. They dislike rosemary, thyme, rue, mint, lemon, cayenne pepper, pipe tobacco, and coffee grounds scents. They also cannot stand the smell of some essential oils like lavender, peppermint, lemon grass, citronella, mustard, and eucalyptus oil.

Q: Why Are Cats Afraid of Cucumbers?

Cats are created with the fear of snakes. Cucumbers have some resemblance to snakes, and this is what makes the cats terrified. When you put a cucumber near a cat, it will run away from it. Therefore, you can use the cucumbers to scare the little felines away from your vehicle.


The list of how to keep cats off your car cannot be exhausted. We have, however, listed some of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting your vehicle from the felines. On top of carrying out the above advice, it is good to talk to the owner about keeping their pets indoors. If it is your cat, ensure you trim their nails to avoid scratching the vehicle. Always use chemical-free and organic cat repellants to prevent harming the pets and your vehicle’s paint job.

Purity Wachira

Hi, I am Purity a researcher and technical writer since 2015. I hold a Masters in Supply Chain Management working in an automotive company. I am a resourceful lady with vast knowledge and interest in vehicles. My enthusiasm for cars drove me to more research, and the more information I got, the more I felt the need to share the knowledge through writing. My biggest win is to leave a positive impact on the automotive field and solve people's problems through articles, product descriptions, and product reviews.

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