Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away? What You Need To Know

Coffee grounds being used to keep cats away

Using coffee grounds to keep cats away is a method that many people question. They hear about it often, but it seems a bit too good to be true!

Fortunately, this method can actually help you with your cat problem. This guide will cover everything you need to know.

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away?

Cats can be a nightmare pest. While they can undoubtedly be lovable as housepets, feral cats have a bad habit of ruining gardens, pooping in yards, and being general menaces. Whether you’re dealing with annoying strays or a neighborhood cat who seems to favor your yard, there are many ways to address this issue.

People try all kinds of commercial and DIY methods to keep cats away. You might have heard of people using coffee grounds to keep cats away, but does it really work?

Generally, coffee grounds do work to keep cats away. But remember, there are no guarantees. It’s an effective method for repelling most cats. However, cats are a lot like humans in the fact that they all have personal preferences. 

Some might not mind the grounds as much as others, making this DIY deterrent a matter of trial and error!

The good news is that most cats will absolutely hate the stuff! Coffee grounds have an intense aroma. If you’re a coffee drinker, you know that and probably love the smell coffee gives off. 

However, this natural cat repellent is too overbearing for the strong sense of smell these animals have. Cats have more olfactory sensors than we do, so any intense odor can throw things off and send them into a sensory tizzy. It’s not just cats that will be deterred by coffee grounds, many mammals and rodents hate it as well.

When you use coffee grounds to keep cats away, you’re banking on the fact that the smell is too much for the animals to handle.

Is This Method Safe?

When compared to some of the other methods out there, using coffee grounds to keep cats away is very safe.

Coffee beans are an all-natural product. Sure, they go through processing and roasting. But even after a brew, the remnants of those beans will degrade naturally in your yard.

You can’t say the same about chemical-based repellents. The solutions at big-box stores typically use toxic chemicals to keep cats away. While effective, it’s not safe for you or the animal.

The safety risks aren’t nearly as significant when it comes to coffee grounds. Like other substances, cats can experience illness if they eat tons of coffee. But most won’t attempt doing that. The smell should be enough to keep them far away, making worries of ingestion impractical.

As a whole, coffee grounds are one of the safer and more humane ways to deter and keep cats away. It beats the alternatives, so you shouldn’t feel any guilt or hesitation about using spent coffee grounds.

How To Use Them Effectively

Using coffee grounds to keep cats away is a straightforward process. But like other natural solutions, how you use them can make a big difference.

Start by collecting used coffee grounds. It’s crucial to utilize brewed grounds rather than fresh dry grounds. New grounds don’t have that same strong aroma.

The heat and moisture bring the smell out. While dry coffee still smells good, it’s not nearly as effective at keeping cats away as used coffee grounds.

Collecting coffee grounds shouldn’t be an issue if you’re a java-lover. Instead of tossing them out after brewing, store the coffee in an airtight container. After a week or so, you should have a decent amount to use as a deterrent.

If you don’t drink coffee, turn to family, friends, and neighbors. You can even go to your local coffee shop and ask for their grounds. Most will give it to you without any issues.

Once you have a decent amount of used coffee, apply it to the problem areas of your property. Focus on spots that cats like to go into and wreak havoc. Gardens are usually a target for these pest animals.

Cats love to tear up gardens and ruin plants. Sprinkle a layer over the soil. The layer doesn’t have to be more than half an inch thick. You can pile it on a little thicker, but don’t exceed an inch.

Spread the coffee to get as much coverage as you need. You can also put the grounds around yard entrances, flower beds, or walkways.

Coffee grounds don’t last very long. If it rains, the water could wash the smell away. That means frequent reapplication is a must.

Check on the grounds every morning. Give them a good spritz with clean water if the grounds remain. The moisture will bring out the scent and maintain the intensity cats hate.

Expert Tip: If the grounds are becoming less noticeable, add more! Generally, reapplication every few days or once a week is all you need.

Benefits Of Deterring Cats With Coffee Grounds

There are many benefits to using coffee grounds to keep cats away.

Not only is it safe and effective for most cats, but the coffee grounds can also keep other pests out. It’s effective against squirrels and other small rodents who like to dig up gardens. Some even swear by its efficiency against slugs and snails!

But beyond that, the biggest perk is the effect on your soil. As a natural product, coffee grounds will break down and amend the soil over time. It’s a slow process, but it eventually lowers the pH level.

Not all plants will appreciate the acidity, but most have no problem with it. Those that love the acidity will thrive. But even the plants that don’t care either way will experience a boost in nutrients thanks to nitrogen from decomposing coffee!

Changing the acidity of soil takes time. It’s not an instant effect. But the fertilization happens a little quicker. Coffee grounds are like a cheap slow-release fertilizer that will continue to infuse nutrients as it breaks down.

Gardeners frequently use coffee grounds as a simple fertilizer, so there’s definitely merit here. While your main priority might be to keep cats out, the benefit to your soil and plants is icing on the cake!


Using coffee grounds to repel and keep cats away is surprisingly effective, so we recommend giving it a shot! Sometimes the simplest methods are the best.

If you have any questions about using this method to deal with cats, let us know. We’ll help you out as much as we can!

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