November 1, 2009 "Ask Seth"

How can I teach my cats to stay off my car?


Dear Seth,

I have 5 cats and they just love to climb all over my cars. Is there anything I can do to break the awful habit?

Melinda, Martin KY


Cats have been known to walk on car hoods. Personally, I noticed this more in the colder months. This is because the car is warm and the cats enjoy laying on them. I have asked some of my peers and these are some of the solutions I got:

  1. Use a car cover. I know this is not so practical but this was the most common answer I got. It makes sense, but who wants to fuss with that every time they go out? Below are some other suggestions.

  2. Place aluminum foil on the hood. It will make a crackling sound when walked upon, which will discourage your cats from walking on the car.

  3. Use a plastic rug protector (like the one you put under a computer chair). Place it upside down on your car hood. The little raised bumps will be uncomfortable for your cats’ paws and will discourage them from continuing this behavior.

  4. Cats dislike the smell of bitter apple. You could spray just a little on your car hood. Please be careful for I do not know what exactly that may do to paint or a clear coat.

  5. Orange peels and tea bags have been placed in gardens to keep cats out. Try lining the driveway with these and see if this works.

  6. Finally, speak with your vet about animal repellants. These are designed for foxes and coyotes, but would most likely work on cats. Find a product that is non-toxic and biodegradable. One product called Shake Away for domestic cats uses the scent of foxes and coyotes to keep cats away from a particular area.

I hope this helps and please let me know which works for you. I am excited to hear back from you in the near future.


Seth Mayersohn, CVT


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