Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away? The Real Answer

Using cayenne pepper to keep cats away is a method that many homeowners claim to have success with.

But does it actually work as well as they say?

This guide will help you understand everything you need to know about using cayenne pepper to deter and keep cats away. You’ll probably be surprised by its impact!

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Cats Away?

Cats are some of the most annoying critters that can invade your backyard. Whether you’re dealing with your own cat going where it shouldn’t or some neighborhood stray constantly ruining your vegetable garden, these animals can be a nightmare to keep away.

As a result, many homeowners and gardeners have tried countless DIY solutions to deter these animals. One popular method is to use cayenne pepper.

But does cayenne pepper keep cats away efficiently?

We’re happy to say that cayenne pepper does work to keep cats away. It’s an effective natural cat repellent that can be made from items you have in your pantry. That means no chemicals, dangerous mothballs, or anything else that could do more damage than you want.

Cayenne pepper is an easy and cost-effective solution that works pretty well if applied correctly. It’s not poisonous to cats, either. The worst it’ll do is send them running in the opposite direction of wherever you use the pepper!

What Makes It Effective?

Cayenne pepper is a commonly used spice you may even have in your pantry right this second! While not for everyone, those who like a little heat will often use the pepper in a wide range of dishes. It’s a relatively benign spice compared to other peppers with a much higher Scoville rating. Even those who hate spicy foods aren’t going to think much about smelling or being around the spice.

So, what is it about cayenne pepper that makes it useful for keeping cats away?

Cats hate the effects of capsaicin, a chemical compound in cayenne pepper. When they get around the pepper, they can inhale or accidentally ingest the compounds. It gets into the air and causes significant irritation to the feline’s sensitive sensory glands.

Cayenne pepper that can be used for cats

Capsaicin is the compound that’s responsible for generating heat. If you’re a fan of spicy foods, it’s that signature burning you love! 

The compound is very effective at deterring cats and other animals. It’s so powerful that many commercial repellent products use it! You’ll also find it in bear sprays! And if it works for bears, it’ll certainly work for cats.

Most cats will start to feel the effects of the compound as soon as they get close to it. They don’t even have to ingest it to start experiencing trouble. That’s a good thing!

Expert Tip: The earlier that cats detect the cayenne pepper, the better its effect. Most will do their best to avoid the pepper at all costs when they sense the pepper in the vicinity. That means staying out of any place you sprinkle it around. That’s how you can use cayenne pepper to your advantage.

How To Use It

There are a few ways to use cayenne pepper to deter cats. This spice is versatile, and it comes in many forms. The most common and affordable is a dry powder. 

Grab a few bottles of powder and try these methods to apply it around your property.

Wear Gloves And A Mask

First things first, put on some protection. Cayenne pepper is no joke!

You don’t have to worry too much about the pepper getting everywhere in the kitchen. But using it outdoors in your garden is a different story. With the wind blowing and pepper flakes flying through the air, a lot can go wrong.

The most important thing is that you keep it out of your eyes. You won’t go blind getting cayenne pepper in your eyes, but it will definitely hurt.

Wear gloves anytime you’re handling the pepper. The gloves ensure that you don’t accidentally wipe your eyes with pepper powder on them. You can also pop on a pair of protective gloves.

Expert Tip: If you’re applying the powder dry, you’ll want a mask or respiratory. You don’t want to breathe this powder in your lungs.

Apply It As A Dry Spice

The easiest way to use cayenne pepper to keep cats away is to sprinkle it around your property. Focus on areas that cats like to frequent. Maybe you have a dirt plot they treat as a litter box or a garden they like to dig in.

Sprinkle the powder around those hotspots to keep cats away. You can also use the powder to create a barrier.

Put a light layer around the perimeter of your yard. You can also concentrate on common entry points to tell cats to back off!

Create A Cayenne Pepper Liquid Solution

Another way to use cayenne pepper to keep cats away is to create a potent spray. This is an excellent route if you want to make the application process quicker and safer. You can whip a large batch, pop it into a spray bottle, and go to town!

Mix the cayenne pepper with water. If you have cayenne-based hot sauce, you can use that as well. In that case, a good ratio is 16 parts water to one part cayenne sauce.

Expert Tip: Want to go all out? Consider combining the cayenne liquid or powder with additional pungent liquids. For example, you can replace the water with apple cider or white vinegar. Cats hate the stuff!

Eucalyptus essential oil or citrus oil work well, too. Any of the essential oils on this list should do the trick. Adding cayenne pepper to the mix is just icing on the cake.

Reapply Often

Finally, don’t forget to reapply the cayenne pepper often if you want to keep cats away for an extended period of time. The only negative aspect of using cayenne pepper as a deterrent is that it doesn’t last long. Heavy rains can wash the powder away and dissipate any liquids.

Consider reapplying every few days or after harsh weather to maintain the results.

How To Use It On Plants To Keep Cats Away

One common concern that gardeners have is centered around the effect cayenne pepper will have on their plants. Luckily, this isn’t something you need to worry about!

Plants have no problem with cayenne pepper, so feel free to use it liberally! The best way to utilize this spice on plants to keep cats away is to actually sprinkle it on your plants directly.

You can cover the leaves to keep curious cats away as they meander through at night. Another option is to put it on the soil around the plant’s base. Both methods work surprisingly well. But that’s not all.

Expert Tip: Using cayenne pepper in your garden has another advantage: It can deter bugs as well! Many bugs hate the capsaicin in the peppers. So, you can use it in place of insecticides as an all-natural deterrent for both bugs and cats.

Does Cayenne Pepper Stop Cats From Pooping In Your Yard?

So here’s the thing about cats: They like to poop in the most inopportune places. It might not seem like a massive deal for cats to defecate in your yard, but it can pose problems if you have pets or kids.

Cats often bury their poop, but it’s not shallow enough to prevent it from getting everywhere. The light burial disguises the feces, making it easy to step on. Young children might even pick it up out of curiosity.

Dogs will often try to eat the poop, increasing their risk of parasitic infection and health problems.

So, does cayenne pepper stop cats from pooping in your yard? In most cases, it will.

Cats entering your yard will instantly detect the capsaicin and try to get away. Not all cats will react strongly to the pepper, but many of them will. If they’re not in your yard, they can’t use it as a litter box!


Cayenne pepper does keep cats away, and it’s one of the best natural options to consider if you’re having trouble with these animals in your yard or garden.

Feel free to try this method out and let us know how it works! We love hearing success stories from our readers.

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