Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Scat, cat - get off the mat!
February 26, 2008 3:01 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my "welcome mats" unwelcoming to cats?

I'm getting ready to replace all my outside door mats (three) because they're yucky and covered in cat hair from my neighbor's cats who like to hang out on them. The current ones have been very hard to clean from cat hair, and would need constant, labor-intensive attention to keep them presentable. But I'm afraid the new ones (stiff coconut fibre, something like this) are going to be just as bad, or possibly even worse.

But I just can't bring myself to buy those ugly black rubber door mats. Is there some way I can discourage the kitty mat love? Most of the Google info on natural cat repellents focus on keeping cats out of plants and gardens. Have any of you dealt successfully with this kind of problem?

I'm going to be on the lookout for repellent spray, but so far I haven't found any (I don't live in the U.S. or U.K., and some things are not as easy to find as they are there) - and I'm picking up my mats today, so even if I am able to find a packaged repellent, I need some strategy in the interim.
posted by taz to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
 
Mint, I know catnip is a member of the mint family, but just spray some spearmint, or some spearmint oil on it. I believe that orange oil would have the same effect and possibly smell nicer outside your house if you dont like the smell of mint.

The only evidence I have of this is that my cat would avoid my mouth and if I blew on him when i had a mint in my mouth, but wouldn't mind if I didn't have a mint. He also didn't like going near oranges when I was eating them, but would usually poke his nose in at whatever I was eating to see if he wanted some.
posted by koolkat at 3:40 AM on February 26, 2008


Conversely, mint attracts some cats, and indeed has a catnip-like psychoactive effect on mine. I have also heard that citrus aromas repel cats, although my cats don’t seem too bothered by them.
posted by misteraitch at 3:46 AM on February 26, 2008


Oil of wintergreen, available in pharmacies, mixed with a bit of water in a spraybottle, should do the trick nicely. My cats wouldn't go near furniture that has been sprayed with it. Vinegar is also said to be effective, but I would worry about the acidity of vinegar eating away at the mats. You could also crush some mothballs and place them under the mats - that wouldn't smell as nice to human noses as the wintergreen, but would be more effective against cats.
posted by fish tick at 4:05 AM on February 26, 2008


I've also heard that cats don't like citrus oils - so maybe rub an orange peeling on the new mats?
posted by Theresa at 4:47 AM on February 26, 2008


I was just checking on Petsmart the other day about this very topic. There are a few cat repellents that you can try, but all of them have mixed reviews.
posted by fusinski at 6:08 AM on February 26, 2008


I would try citrus. It would probably be even more effective if you can manage to catch the cats on the mat and spray citrus oil at them.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 6:14 AM on February 26, 2008


Possibly qualifying as "tough to find," but mothballs have worked for me in the past in repelling cats.
posted by GPF at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2008


When I managed an apt. building this used to happen. What we figured out is that for some reason cats perfer to target the doors and mats of smokers. Do you smoke? I have no idea what the kittie walnut sized brain rationale is, but it was unmistakable where I lived.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:38 AM on February 26, 2008


"Cats are not keen on the smell of citrus either. So you could try using orange or lemon peel in your yard as a deterrent. Similarly some folks advocate coffee grounds, blood meal, cayenne pepper, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil."
posted by hermitosis at 6:42 AM on February 26, 2008


In addition to putting some sort of repellent on your new mats, put your old mats in a place that's warm and/or out of the wind. Maybe then they will preferentially go with the old ones, and stay off of your new mats?

won't somebody think of the kitties?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:59 AM on February 26, 2008


Mothballs contain napthalene, which is highly toxic to cats. Here are some other ideas using herbs to deter cats safely: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/keeping-cats-out-of-the-garden.html
posted by vers at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2008


Dogs :)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:14 AM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


For a while, I used Citrus Magic to keep the cats away from my roommate's spider plants. (Little hint: spider plants DO NOT like citrus spray.) It worked pretty well on the cats. Googling "citrus spray" pulls up a bunch of results, some of them advertised as pet-safe. The stuff I used can be found here.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 11:14 AM on February 26, 2008


I'd definitely recommend citrus, and caution against the mint. As has been mentioned above, catnip is related to mint; my neighbour's cat loves catnip and LOVES mint, and will try to lick my neighbour's mouth after she's brushed her teeth. Ew.

It would probably be even more effective if you can manage to catch the cats on the mat and spray citrus oil at them.

Citrus oil is a major skin/eye irritant (I can personally attest to this--ouch), so don't spray it directly on the cat because it'll be very painful for them. Just spray it on the mat.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:53 PM on February 26, 2008


Chili pepper. All over that thing. Then shake it out. Enough should remain that it won't be pleasant for them to lie on.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 6:18 PM on February 26, 2008


Wow, 45moore45, that's so weird... and, yes, yes we do. Another reason to quit!

Well, I wasn't able to pick up the mats after all... a workers' strike has delayed shipment (see? not the U.S.!), but I am going to try orange and wintergreen essential oils, one on each, then if those don't work, chili pepper. I'll let you know what my results are.

Thanks, folks!
posted by taz at 9:15 PM on February 26, 2008


« Older Can I make a freestanding fluo...   |  Say you're a real estate inves... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.