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How to keep cats off cars and put a stop to dusty or dirty footprints or worse, scratches in the paintwork from claws or a torn soft top.

We do want to do this in a way that shows we are sane and doesn’t involve any shouting or waving arms around. Not a good look!

You may think about leaving your cat indoors to keep it away, but sometimes it’s the neighbor’s cat or even strays or neighborhood cats doing the damage. It’s a problem!

You will be happy to know that there are solutions. Some are less intuitive than others, so read on to find the best methods to keep cats away from your car.

Products That Will Keep Cats Off Cars

Some of these products may be in your home and used for other purposes, while others are entirely specialized animal repellent devices and products. Below we discuss some of the most popular types of cat repellents. 

Cat Deterrent Sprays

There are many cat deterrent sprays.  Some are for indoor use or primarily for use on furniture.  

This spray whilst not designed particularly for paintwork on cars cars but is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, has been successful with keeping cats away, using these modifications. 

  1. Spray onto the bumper area of the car (do a test first) and also around the car on the ground/road. This particular spray has a sturdy large trigger spray that would make spraying around the car a quick job. I couldn’t imagine doing this with a product that has a small nozzle.  It would quickly become tedious.

  2. Do a test on a non conspicuous part of the car where there is paintwork, for example, under the bonnet. The product does not state that it can be sprayed directly onto the car, so this is something that you would do at your own risk. Remember also, that the heat from UV rays can have an adverse effect with any product that may be sprayed directly onto the car. 
     
  3. Another option is to spray small pieces of cloth with the product and leave them on the car, e.g. under the wipers, on the roof or the bonnet secured with a small weighted object.  A little bit of organization and experimentation initially but then easy to implement and worth the success.
Four Paws Keep Off! Cat Repellent Spray Outdoors & Indoor 16 Ounces

Mothballs

Maybe you have some mothballs lying around for pest control. If not, they’re a cheap way to deter cats who don’t like the smell. The mothballs I have linked to are already in individual packets.

For convenience, get a couple of bags and put a handful of these pest control balls in each. Leave small openings (or holes) in the bags and place them around your car, focusing primarily on the feline’s hotspots.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

We all know water is the arch-nemesis of cats. Perhaps this is what first came to mind when you were thinking of how to keep cats off cars. 

A motion-sensor sprinkler can get the job done nicely. They won’t drench your driveway, spraying just enough,  two to three cups of water, to keep the cats away. This motion activated sprinkler is specifically designed to keep animals away. We are talking about keeping cats off cars but this sprinkler will deter any animal that comes too close. If your car is parked in your driveway this is an excellent solution.

Havahart 5277 Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler, 1 Pack,green

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Don’t forget to turn it off before heading for your car. You don’t want to be keeping yourself away from the car (sorry – bad joke).

Ultrasonic (High-Pitched) Alarms

These ultrasonic alarms use sensors to detect motion, and if they do detect motion, they go off to spook any intruders.

But don’t worry about the noise! These alarms produce a sound so high in pitch that it’s above the human hearing range but is well within that of many animals like cats.

PREDATORGUARD PestAway Outdoor Animal & Cat with Motion Sensor Stops Pest Animals Destroying Your Gardens & Yard

Make Your Own Cat Repellent!

If you’re a long-time cat owner, you know how picky cats can be with their food. They’re just as picky with smells, too, so some everyday household items can be used or mixed to make a potent feline repellent.

Cats typically don’t like the smell of citrus, so you can pick an orange or lemon, squeeze it, then add some lavender or peppermint essential oils along with dry herbs like rue, garlic, cayenne, pepper, rosemary, or thyme. Mix your solution with 2-3 times as much water, and you’ll have an excellent homemade feline repellent.

Other Methods to Keep Cats Away

If you’re not a fan of repellents or don’t have the time to get one right now, you can take some quick measures to try and keep cats off your car.

Car Covers

A car cover is an obviously good solution. You can purchase a car cover or if that is not an option ask a family member if they have an old tarp lying around. A tarp can be used as a car cover. If you don’t mind the car cover itself getting scratched, then you can zip it around your car when you’re home and not worry about paw prints or cat scratches on your car’s paint job. 

Covers get bonus points for also protecting your car from dust and the weather in general.

You don’t want me here? Why?

Get Rid of Food

Maybe you dropped a sandwich wrapper in your car after eating or have some snacks lying around the car or garage. If that’s the case, the scents can easily attract cats to your car, so getting rid of food remnants can help alleviate the problem.

Trim Their Nails

Cats are small beasts with wild claws. If they’re scratching your car, they might as well be tearing your furniture.

Many people trim their cats’ nails every week or two to prevent the damage they cause with their scratches, and you can do the same. Note, however, that this solution won’t help you get rid of paw prints. 

Note: Trimming a cat’s nails is a very delicate process and if you feel anxious about doing it, talk with your vet who will be happy to help you.

Talk to Your Neighbor

If the cat in question sneaks in from your neighbor’s place, maybe consider talking with them about restricting the feline’s playgrounds. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a few ideas up your sleeve and have some ideas about how to keep cats off cars. Remember that you will need to be persistent with some of these methods.  Even if they work initially, you may think the problem is solved and hopefully it will be.  However be prepared to repeat your actions as  drumroll – the cat may return!

To recap, you can either use repellents, be that substances or devices, or use some of the other suggestions to keep the cat from taking its sunbath on your car.

My advice is to take some time this weekend to make your own repellent and try that first or order one online. If you are short on time get a cover for your car or, if possible, trim your cat’s nails.

There are some ideas in this article that could be helpful to in learning how to keep cats off cars. These ideas are for keeping cats away from plants. They do include training the cat to keep away from plants and if you are willing to persevere the same method could be used for your car. If it is neighborhood cats that are sitting on our car this would be difficult to control by training.

how to keep cats off cars
The bonnet is so temptingly warm dear. What if I wore socks to eliminate paw prints or claw marks?

Here are some more articles about cat behavior.

How to keep cats in the yard is a perennial problem. Like keeping cats off cars there are some solutions.

Have you ever had to give your cat a pill? Yet another situation where we need to outsmart the cat. This article explains how to give your cat a pill.

Why do cats poop randomly on the floor? This is not always easy to solve but there are many ideas you can try.

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