How To Keep Cats Off Your Car

  • By: Bob
  • Last updated: June 11, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Free roaming cats have a habit of sitting on car hoods which can result in paw prints and even scratches on your paint work. Discovering how to keep cats off your car can be tricky as its not a one size fits all solution so below I’ve listed the best methods I’ve found for you to try.

First though, why do cats like to jump onto vehicles?

Cats are known for perching on car hoods. This behavior can be attributed to a phenomenon known as “thermal selection” in which cats seek out locations that are warmer than the ambient air temperature. Car hoods also offer an elevated vantage point, allowing cats to scan for potential predators and food sources.

how to keep cats off your car

So now you know why, here’s how to keep cats off your car.

Get Yourself a Car Cover

A car cover is the perfect solution for keeping cats off your car. Whether you own a small coupe or a large pickup truck, there’s a car cover to fit your vehicle and keep it free of kitty hair and scratches. A car cover is designed to be lightweight while still providing maximum protection against the elements and unwanted visitors like cats.

Not only do they protect from scratches, but they also act as an effective barrier against dirt, dust, bird droppings, tree sap, and more – all without causing harm to the environment.

Car covers come in many sizes and materials so you can choose one that perfectly fits over your car and provides enough coverage for whatever climate you live in. They provide superior protection from both sunlight and rain with some like the one below even featuring waterproof fabric technology so that moisture doesn’t seep through the seams.

Our Pick
EzyShade 10-Layer Waterproof Car Cover

Protects your vehicle from UV rays, snow, rain and of course, cats.

Available in over 20 sizes, fully water proof and comes complete with storage bag.

More info
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 07:51 pm GMT

Ultrasonic Repellent

Cats hate ultrasonic cat deterrents which is why they are an effective method of keeping them away from your pride and joy. The ultrasonic sound is motion activated and is pitched so as to be only heard by cats, human ears can’t pick it up.

These devices will scare cats and often they don’t return. Ultrasonic cat deterrents come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are easy to use. All you need to do is place the device near where you park your car, such as on a fence or windowsill, and it will emit a high frequency sound that the approaching cat will find uncomfortable.

This effective cat repellent works best when used in combination with other measures such as using a cat repellent spray or removing any food sources that may attract them in the first place.

Ultrasonic cat deterrents have been found to be highly effective at scaring pesky cats away from cars without harming them in any way. They also require minimal maintenance and will continue working for years if properly taken care of.

Best Buy
Solar Powered Motion Sensor Cat Deterrent

Updated for 2022

  • Excellent value for money with zero running costs
  • Uses lighting as well as ultrasonic sound
  • Set and forget thanks to the solar panel
  • Works on foxes, dogs and rodents as well as cats
  • Small and unobtrusive
  • Around a 25 yard range so may need a few if your garden is large
More info Read my review here
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Motion Controlled Sprinklers

Water repellent devices are an innovative way to keep cats off your car. Whether you want to stop a cat from scratching the paint or just taking a nap in the sun, these high-tech gadgets can provide an effective and humane solution.

The latest water repellents are solar powered and use motion sensing technology that detects when an animal approaches, triggering a brief but powerful spray of water from the device.

This harmless spray startles the cat and repels them away from your car while also helping to protect it against further damage. Not only do they provide reliable protection for your vehicle, but they also help deter other pests such as birds and rodents at the same time.

The installation is straightforward and requires no tools or wiring; simply mount it on any desired surface and connect it to a hose pipe.

Hoont Cobra Solar Powered Water Blaster
  • Motion sensor activated
  • No more mains cable or batteries to worry about
  • Extremely robust and well made
  • Range of spray is fully adjustable
  • The noise and movement already has the cat running before the water actually sprays
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 1 year warranty
  • Cats absolutely hate the Hoont Cobra
  • Also works on dogs, foxes, rabbits, heron etc.
  • May be overkill for very small gardens
Buy here Read my review here
I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 12:01 am GMT

Motion Activated Lights

Motion activated lights are a simple way to keep cats off your car. By installing motion sensors near your vehicle, you can deter cats from getting too close. The sudden light will surprise the cat, causing it to jump away.

Motion activated lights can be placed around your property in order to protect multiple vehicles as well as other outdoor items like furniture and grills. With these lights installed, any feline intruders will be immediately alerted with a bright light that is sure to make them run away in fear!

Note that if you go for an ultrasonic repellent, many have lights built in that activate at the same time as the noise.

AloftSun Solar Powered Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights
$24.99 ($12.50 / Count)

Simply stick these into the ground near your drive. When a cat or other animal walks within range the lights come on and scares them away.

  • Solar powered - no batteries or lead required
  • Detects movement and lights up
  • 30 LEDs in each light
  • Waterproof rating IP68
  • Available cheaper as a 4 pack
Buy Now
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 09:03 pm GMT

Set off Your Car Alarm

Using your car alarm is a great way to keep cats off cars. It may mean a few late nights but the results will be worth it. Just sit at your window watching for the offending cat to show up, give him 5 minutes to get nice and cosy and then activate the alarm with your fob and watch it bolt like a cat out of hell. The only downside to this is that it may take a few nights before the cat gets the message.

Additionally, a lot of high end car alarms come with motion sensors which detect movement around your vehicle and sound an alert if anything passes by too close. This can act as a strong deterrent for a cat looking to make themselves at home on top of your hood or roof.

Sprinkling Cayenne Pepper

Sprinkling Cayenne pepper has been used for years as an effective and natural way to keep cats away.

Most cats are very sensitive animals and do not like the strong smell of cayenne pepper. When sprinkled onto surfaces around your car, it will act as a strong cat deterrent and keep them away from your vehicle. All it takes is enough pepper to create an unpleasant aroma that cats don’t enjoy – just don’t go mad, it only takes a little to do the job!

Best value
Ground Cayenne Pepper Powder - 1 Pound
$11.99 ($0.75 / Ounce)

Bulk Spice with shaker top, Red Pepper ground, 100% natural, freshly packed

Buy Now
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 07:26 pm GMT

Use a Cat Scat Mat

To keep cats off your car, one popular solution is the rubber Cat Scat Mat from Homarden. This ingenious device discourages cats from climbing on your car using harmless rubber spikes. They come in packs of 10 16″ x 13″ mats so can be easily and quickly laid on your roof or bonnet. If you park on your drive you can surround your car with them.

Our pick
Homarden Cat Scat Mat (Set of 10)

Soft rubber ensures they won't damage any surface yet the 1" spikes are strong enough to deter all cats from walking across these mats.

More info
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Make Your Own Repellent Spray

A cheap method that’s always worth a shot is to try a homemade cat repellent and a spray bottle. Sprayed around your car (not on it) it will hopefully discourage cats from approaching the vehicle and prevent them from damaging your paint job.

Check out our vinegar repellent or a few of our other home made cat repellent recipes here.

Citrus Peel

Cats might be cute and cuddly, but they can also be very destructive. If you’ve ever had a cat jump on your car and scratch the paint, you know just how upsetting it can be. Luckily, there is an easy solution – citrus peel! Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it’s also fairly inexpensive and quite effective at keeping them away from your car.

The key to using citrus peel for this purpose is to choose a strong smelling variety of citrus fruit such as a few orange peels. Take the peels off the fruit and sprinkle them around the perimeter of your car.

The strong scent will deter cats from jumping onto your vehicle because they don’t like the smell of citrus fruits. This method has been proven to be extremely successful in keeping cats away from cars without harming them in any way.

Use Your Garage

When it comes to keeping cats off your car, just about the best strategy of all is to make sure that your garage is used for its intended purpose. Your garage should be a place where you both store and protect your vehicle from the elements as well as any pesky animals.

Instead of leaving your car outside surrounded by trees and other places cats like to frequent, park it in the safety of your own garage. Not only will this keep cats away from your car but it will also help protect its interior from fading due to sunlight.

In addition to using your garage for storing and protecting your car from cats, there are many other ways you could utilize this space whilst you’re having a clear out to make room for the car. Why not transform an area where you can work on projects or set up that workshop you always planned.

Change Things Up

Parking in different spots is a great way to keep cats off your car. By changing where you park your car, a cat that frequents your area won’t expect it and will be less likely to approach. It’s also important to keep in mind that a cat is more likely to hang around areas that have a nearby food source, such as outdoor trash cans or restaurants.

By parking in different spots, you can reduce the chances of a cat being attracted to your vehicle for potential food sources.

In addition to regularly switching up where you leave your car, there are other simple steps you can take too. Try not leaving any food or drinks inside the car that may attract a cat; even seemingly harmless items like mints or gum should be avoided.

Other Helpful Tips

There are several things you can do to lower the risk of your paint job being damaged by a night prowling cat. First and foremost, keep any food or garbage well away from your car. They have an incredible sense of smell and will be attracted to food sources in the open air.

When it comes to special scenarios such as feral cats or a cat that simply will not leave, the task of keeping them off your car is more difficult.

When dealing with feral cats, it’s essential you take extra precautions as some may carry diseases that could be harmful to humans. If there are multiple feral cats in the area, using a commercial cat deterrent is the way to go to keep them away from your car and other areas where they shouldn’t be.


Discovering how to keep cats off your car can be a challenge. Smells that some cats hate, others won’t mind, some won’t like the high pitched sound of an ultrasonic repellent while an older cat might not even hear it.

The one sure fire cat deterrent is water. Unfortunately, a motion controlled sprinkler isn’t ideal for the front of a property for obvious reasons but if you have a large private driveway this would be my first choice.

For those without the luxury of a private driveway try a quick and affordable way first such as sprinkling cayenne pepper or a spray bottle full of home made repellent spray before moving on to a more expensive long term solution. All cats are different and you just might strike lucky at your first attempt without spending a dollar!

Be sure to come back and let me know in the comments what worked for you.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Will Vinegar Deter Cats

Previous Post

Does Vinegar Keep Cats Away?

Next Post

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away or are the Risks too Great?

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away?