Now, I’m not a car person at all, but I can understand why many people – whether or not they are car people – would want to keep cats off the hood of their car.
Even if you’re not all that concerned about paw prints or the overall aesthetic of your car, cats can easily scratch up the paint on the hood while getting up and down with their sharp nails, and, to my knowledge, even those tiny bits of exposed metal that a cat’s small nails leave behind can lead to bigger problems relating to rust damage down the road.
Obviously, the one thing that’s more important than preventing cats from hopping onto the bonnet of your car for a cat nap or two is making sure what you do to keep a cat off isn’t going to result in more damage than the cat scratches would have in the first place. That would be counterproductive.
Again, I’m not a car person at all, so if you are, I’ll be counting on you to let me know if any of the tips I found on the net or thought up myself could do further damage to the paint job than an actual cat’s nails. Hell, tell me if any damage is possible at all from any of the tips I’ve recommended, because I’m sure that information will come incredibly handy for those who are trying to keep their car as pristine as possible.
I’ve split the tips I found into three sections: tips that use repellent devices that ultimately train cats to keep away from cars, techniques that have to do with repelling cats based on deterrent smells, as well as a few miscellaneous techniques I’ve found across the web for limiting the chances a cat is going to scratch up the roof your car.
You likely wouldn’t be able to use all these tips even if you wanted to, as I’m sure there are quirks about where you park that make it so some of these tips are impossible or really inconvenient to implement. Still, I did my best to list as many options as I could so you could find at least a few tips that were viable to try, whether you’re parking in a shared underground lot, a car port, a large parking lot, or a full on private garage.
Let me know if you’re thinking of trying any of these techniques in the comments, and whether or not you’ve tried any on this list before, as well as what the result was. Ever had this problem and fixed it? What was the solution you used?
Repellent Devices & Tricks to Train Cats to Stay Away from Cars
1. Outdoor Use Ultrasonic Animal Repellent Devices
Now, there seem to be a lot of these types of products on the market, and while I’m always skeptical devices like this (how do you really know for sure they’re working if you as a human can’t hear them?), a lot of these products, like Wikoo’s Outdoor Solar Animal Repeller, have pretty decent reviews, even from specifically those who are trying to keep cats away from their vicinity. The Wikoo one in particular is solar powered, waterproof, has a 9 meter motion sensor that only sets the emitter off when motion is detected, and can be set to different frequencies in case you only want to chase away one type of animal (like cats) and not others (like if you or your neighbour have a dog).
Again – I am always super skeptical that they work the way they’re intended, but they’re reasonably cheap and seem to have a lot of positive reviews, so I do think they may be worth a shot.
2. Indoor Use Only (i.e. Inside Garages): Shock Training Mats
If you’re trying to keep your own cat off your car and you always park your car in your garage or a weather and waterproof shed at night, shock training mats like the PetSafe Scat Mat that are battery operated and give a very safe, but highly annoying low voltage shock to your pet when he or she leaps onto the mat will probably work for you like a charm.
Not only can you train your cat to stay off the bonnet of your car using one of these, but they’re also excellent for training your cat to keep off counters, or to stop scratching up your sofa as well. Definitely are multiple uses for this kind of thing, but make sure you’re only using these types of devices indoors, unless you’ve managed to find one that directly states it’s weatherproof and outdoor approved. I personally haven’t found an outdoor-use one myself to share, but if you do know of one, leave the name in the comments below.
3. Automatic Water Sprinklers
There are a few different types of automatic water sprinklers around, and while the regular types that go off at the same time every day may seem like a good idea for deterring cats (after all, no cat likes water!), I do think motion activated sprinklers would work a lot better for this.
The reason why? Let’s be honest – cats are way too clever for their own good (or ours!) – they’d eventually figure out the timing of your sprinklers and realize if they waited until the sprinklers went off, they’d have a good 10 or 20 minute nap on the roof of your car with no risk of getting wet. With a motion activated sprinklers, however, no matter when they decide to test their luck and try venturing near your car, they’ll be met with an unpleasant surprise.
I’d personally recommend setting the water sprinklers to go off around the premises of a car, so that a cat’s chased off well before he or she can actually climb up to the roof. If a cat’s already up on the hood when a sprinkler goes off, you’re going to be left with some really deep scratches into your paint, doing more harm than good.
Smell Based Repellents to Try Keeping Cats Away from Cars
I feel it’d be incredibly redundant for me to expand on each and every one of the variations of ideas I had in this department. Basically, there are two variables when it comes to using any and all smell based repellents to keep cats away from your car. You can change:
- The deterrent itself.
- Where the deterrent is placed/sprayed.
Different Cat Deterring Smells to Try
In terms of the deterrent, some cats really detest some smells, while other cats will be more or less okay with the exact same ones. Frustrating, I know, but since there are so many different smells you can try that cats normally detest, and a lot of them are really easy to obtain if you just head on over to your grocery store, it shouldn’t be too hard or expensive to test out a slew of smells one at a time. You should hopefully find at least one smell your “problem” cat hates, but you’re actually happy to sniff on the daily.
Here are a few scents you can give a try:
- Rosemary, lavender, mint, lemon thyme, & other herbs.
- Oranges & citrus fruits.
*(I find this particularly effective! My cat Avery won’t even eat snacks or catnip, which he always goes crazy for, if I’ve peeled oranges and fervently washed my hands right before offering his faves up to him in my palm. He can’t handle even the faintest smell of orange.)
- Cayenne pepper, mustard, cinnamon, & other spices.
*(Known one cat who will actually eat banana, but most cats hate the smell of it. Use banana peels to test out what your particular cat in question thinks of the smell of the stuff).
Personally, I don’t think there are any commercially made cat deterrent sprays I would recommend, not at the moment at least. A lot have mixed reviews and I think it’s because of what I’ve already mentioned – not every cat finds every commonly disliked scent an assault on their olfactory glands.
The best thing you can do to guarantee you’re going to end up with a deterrent smell a cat hates is to test by rubbing a fruit peel, a herb, or a spice all over a piece of cardboard, then placing it in the vicinity of your car to see if the cat in question avoids it. Then, if you find a smell the cat hates, get your hands on an essential oil made of that smell, to make your life a little easier with regularly re-applying that smell.
Different Places You Can Put the Deterrent
In terms of where he deterrent is placed – honestly, as I said in the intro, you don’t want to be ruining the paint on the roof of your car more than the cat scratches would’ve ruined the paint in the first place. I have zero clue what will or won’t destroy the paint, this is not at all my department of expertise, so if you know if anything on my list of deterring smells cats often hate that also won’t be an issue to place directly onto the roof of a car, please leave a comment to let me know. Otherwise, you may want to try out some of these locations/tips for not spraying a scent directly onto the hood of your car;
- Spritz your windows instead.
- Grab an old flyer or a piece of paper, douse it in a smell cats hate, then place it under your window wipers directly on your windshield.
- Grab four pieces of paper, douse them in a smell cats hate, then open up your car windows, and close them onto the paper so that it hangs out.
- Spray around the premises of your car, rather than on your car directly.
- Spray the wheels of your car with cat repelling smelly stuff.
Any other ideas for where to spritz the deterring smells so the roof of your car and the paint on it remains safe? Let me know your ideas below.
Other Techniques to Protect Car Roofs from Cats
Yes, one’s obvious. Yes, the other tip is odd and may not work at all. Still thought I’d give these suggestions a share of the spotlight.
1. Cover Your Car
I know you’ve probably thought of this, and I know his probably won’t keep cats off your car completely, but car covers are cheap and may be a good option – especially if you combine them with deterring smells by spraying those smells directly on the cover rather than on the car itself.
Some cats do detest the sensation of car covers (though others actually quite like the padding), and some car covers may be able to protect your car from the sharp nails of cats, but I have no idea which or what to recommend in this department at all because I literally have no experience with it. Please oh please let me know if you have recommendations for car covers below.
2. Provide a Different High Perch for the Cat to Enjoy Sitting On
There’s a lot of reason cats like hanging out on the roof of a car – one reason being: it’s a really nice, high vantage point for them to get a good lay of the land from. Cats love high perches, love watching things below them, why not sit on the roof of a car if it’s such a great spot to peer out from?
I’d imagine if the cat in question is yours, you may want to look into creating a high perch for your cat, or buying some sort of tall outdoor cat house (like the Petsfit Two Story Weatherproof Cat House) for your cat to hang out on rather than your own car. This by itself may do the trick for keeping your cat away from the roof of your car. That being said, there are other reasons cats like the tops of cars – they’re warm when they’re out in the sun, they’re nice and cool when they’re in the shade. They’re a nice texture that is essentially impossible to find in nature (and cats sure are attracted to sitting on unique textures, like paper for instance). So keep in mind this may not be enough, but it is an option you can try.
Your Thoughts on Keeping Cats Off Car Hoods?
Okay, that’s all I’ve got for you. Now it’s time for you to take to the comments and share your thoughts.
Do you have any suggestions I haven’t listed here for deterring cats from a car’s vicinity or keeping cats off car hoods in particular?
Have you tried anything to keep cats off the hood of your car? What worked and what didn’t?
Do you have advice for smells to try that many cats detest? Do you have recommendations for car covers that do really well at protecting cars from cat nails?
Really would love to hear any and all advice you have (so long as it doesn’t hurt the cat!) in the comments down below.