What Smell Repels Raccoons but Not Cats: 5 Pet-Friendly Solutions

what smell repels raccoons but not cats

“What smell repels raccoons but not cats?” is a common question for pet owners seeking effective yet pet-friendly solutions to keep unwanted visitors at bay.

Raccoons possess a strong sense of smell, making odors a powerful tool for deterring them.

What smell repels raccoons but not cats?

Raccoons strongly dislike the scent of peppermint, cayenne pepper, citrus peels, garlic, and eucalyptus oil. These odors are known to be effective raccoon repellents, creating an environment that discourages their presence while being generally tolerable or even pleasant for other animals like cats.

Peppermint Oil:

  • Raccoon Repellent: Raccoons find the scent of peppermint oil overwhelming, deterring them from your property.
  • Cat-Friendly: Cats are generally indifferent or unbothered by the pleasant aroma of peppermint, ensuring their comfort.

Cayenne Pepper:

  • Raccoon Repellent: Raccoons have a strong aversion to the spicy scent of cayenne pepper, making it an effective deterrent.
  • Cat-Friendly: Cats are not sensitive to the heat of cayenne pepper, allowing them to roam freely without discomfort.

Citrus Peels:

  • Raccoon Repellent: Raccoons dislike the scent of citrus, particularly orange and lemon peels, keeping them away.
  • Cat-Friendly: Cats are generally unaffected by the citrus aroma, making it a safe option for a cat-friendly repellent.


  • Raccoon Repellent: Raccoons find the pungent odor of garlic repulsive, making it an effective deterrent.
  • Cat-Friendly: Cats are not typically bothered by the smell of garlic, ensuring their well-being while deterring raccoons.

Eucalyptus Oil:

  • Raccoon Repellent: Raccoons are repelled by the scent of eucalyptus oil, making it a natural deterrent for them.
  • Cat-Friendly: Cats generally tolerate or are indifferent to the aroma of eucalyptus oil, allowing them to remain undisturbed.

Cat-Friendly Plants that Raccoons Hate:

Certain plants carry scents that raccoons find unpleasant while being harmless to cats. Consider adding these to your garden:

PlantRepellent Properties for RaccoonsCat-Friendly
Coleus CaninaEmits a smell that repels raccoonsSafe for cats
LavenderStrong aroma disliked by raccoonsSafe for cats
RuePungent scent deters raccoonsUse cautiously with cats
RosemaryAroma repels raccoonsSafe for cat

DIY Raccoon Repellent Spray

Raccoons wandering into your yard can create quite a nuisance, especially if you’re concerned about the well-being of your pets. Instead of turning to commercial repellents with potentially harmful chemicals, consider making your own DIY raccoon repellent spray using simple and natural ingredients.


  1. Peppermint Oil: Raccoons find the scent offensive, but it’s generally harmless to cats.
  2. Cayenne Pepper: The spiciness deters raccoons while being tolerable for cats.
  3. Citrus Peels: Raccoons dislike the citrus aroma, and cats are generally unaffected.
  4. Garlic: Raccoons find the smell repulsive, but it’s not bothersome to cats.
  5. Water: Serves as a base for the spray.


  1. Peppermint Power:
    • Add 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to a cup of water.
    • Mix well and pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  2. Cayenne Kick:
    • Sprinkle a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into the spray bottle.
    • Shake the bottle thoroughly to combine the ingredients.
  3. Citrus Splash:
    • Place the peels of oranges, lemons, or limes into the spray bottle.
    • Fill the bottle with water, ensuring the peels are submerged.
  4. Garlic Guard:
    • Crush a few garlic cloves and add them to the spray bottle.
    • Pour water into the bottle, allowing the garlic to infuse.
  5. Mix and Apply:
    • Shake the spray bottle well to combine all ingredients.
    • Spray the mixture around areas where raccoons frequent, such as garbage bins, entry points, or garden spaces.

Usage Tips:

  • Reapply the spray after rain or watering to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Test the spray on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to plants or surfaces.
  • Store the repellent in a cool, dark place when not in use.

By utilizing this DIY raccoon repellent spray, you can create a pet-friendly solution to deter raccoons while ensuring the comfort and safety of your beloved cats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Scents that Repel Raccoons but Not Cats:

Q1: What smells can deter raccoons without affecting cats?

A: Raccoons find scents like peppermint, cayenne pepper, citrus peels, garlic, and eucalyptus oil repulsive, making them effective repellents. These odors are generally tolerable or even pleasing to cats, ensuring a pet-friendly solution.

Q2: How do I apply these scents effectively to repel raccoons?

A: For peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, citrus peels, garlic, and eucalyptus oil, strategically place soaked cotton balls or create sprays in areas frequented by raccoons. This targeted application helps deter raccoons while keeping your cats unaffected.

Q3: Are there DIY repellent sprays I can make at home to keep raccoons away from my garden?

A: Certainly, mixing water with ingredients like hot sauce, vinegar, and citrus peels creates an easy DIY spray that repels raccoons without causing any discomfort to cats.

Q4: Do raccoons dislike certain flower or plant smells that cats are okay with?

A: Raccoons tend to be averse to marigolds, daffodils, and geraniums, while cats generally don’t mind these floral scents, making them a natural and aesthetically pleasing raccoon deterrent.

Q5: Can raccoons tolerate the smell of catnip, and does it affect their behavior?

A: Raccoons are usually indifferent to catnip, which is enticing to cats. While catnip can attract cats, it won’t repel raccoons, making it a unique option to consider in a cat-friendly approach to pest control.

Q6: What other things do raccoons hate?

A: Raccoons also dislike bright lights, loud noises, and water. Incorporating these deterrents alongside the recommended scents creates a multi-sensory approach, enhancing the overall effectiveness of repelling raccoons while ensuring a cat-friendly environment.


In conclusion, deterring raccoons while keeping a cat-friendly environment is possible through strategic use of scents. Experiment with these natural methods to find the most effective and pet-safe solution for your home. Remember to monitor your cat’s reactions to ensure their comfort while successfully keeping raccoons at bay.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind racoonpet.com. My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.