There are several sites that suggest using coffee grounds in the garden, to keep out cats. I haven't tried it, but there are some beds on my property which could do without cats digging around and occasionally attacking plants (beats me why they do that). I guess the best way to find out is to try it myself, but before I go around sprinkling coffee grounds on the beds, does anyone here know:

Are coffee grounds really effective at deterring cats from living in garden beds?

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    I own a Sangrado de Birmania and there is nothing other than put a mini-fence in big pots. Or an automatic water-spray with move detection :)
    – BYJ
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 0:19
  • This might deter some cats because of the odd smell or texture but I doubt it will affect all of them. No harm in trying though, especially as worms seem to quite like coffee.
    – Alpar
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 8:19
  • I'm not sure if it will deter cats, but coffee grounds (within reason) is definitely good for the soil. Just don't over do it as coffee grounds will raise the acidity of the soil. You might need to balance it out with some lime. Give it a shot and answer here with your results.
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 18:16
  • @ckuhn203 It would take huge amounts of grounds to noticeably alter the soil pH, and coffee grounds are actually less acidic than most common mulches. But if I find some time, I'll try it out. Probably fresh, dry grounds would work best.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 21:02
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    To deter cats I sprinkle cayenne pepper on the flower beds which do help. Repeat after rain. It's cheap enough at a bulk store. Theory is they lick their paws and sniff their path both of which would causes them discomfort and considering their selfish nature they will not like your flower beds. My apologies to cat lover readers. Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


It may work but anecdotally I have watched my barn cats lay in the compost bin that has had bags of coffee shop grounds dumped atop it. They don't seem to be deterred by the coffee grounds.

Cats can be a pain in the garden. My one barn cat will think nothing of laying down on a bunch of seedlings if it is deemed a nice place to nap. Mine don't attack plants directly but they also don't go out of their way to avoid them.

What I do know works to deter them is the solar-charged electric wire we use for our pastures. They'll avoid that after being shocked once or twice. Not recommending you use that but it does work.

You might have success by spreading dog hair - I imagine a dog groomer will have plenty of it - around the beds. I used to do this along the back of our property to deter deer. Seemed to work but I might have been lucky.

  • What I suspected. But about the dog hair, my cats aren't afraid of dogs, necessarily, so I'm not certain it will work, but good hypothesis.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 3:37

Since I've used coffee grounds I haven't seen a dog or cat on my property. Thank God cause people walk their dogs on my property to go to the bathroom all the time. I also grounded up some orange peel and onion with the coffee grounds that also work.

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