Red Pepper Spray Can Deter Cats

In a recent column, you described a cat that became extremely ill after ingesting a lily plant. You suggested distracting a cat from poisonous plants with a nearby tray of catnip, or a favorite toy. I have a really great tip for discouraging cats — and most other critters — from chewing on plants, furniture or whatever you don’t want them to chew on. Try mixing a few teaspoons of ground red pepper in a spray bottle full of water, then spray the item you want the cat to leave alone. Saturate the item and leave it to dry. This also works for outdoor plants and flowers to keep wild critters away from them. The smell alone repels most animals. Just make sure not to touch your eyes after applying! Also, thank you for the Cat Fanciers’ Association Web site, where you can find the list of plants dangerous to cats. — Stephanie L., Lawrenceburg, Ky.

You’re welcome, and thanks for the tip! I would also recommend that cat owners who have plants in their homes that are dangerous to cats make sure they are lifted well out of the reach of their pet. I’ll even go so far as to say that no plants from the lily family should be in the home, period. No repellent is 100 percent effective, especially from a determined cat. For those who missed the link to the Cat Fanciers’ Association Web site, here it is again so that you can review the list of poisonous plants:

Send your questions or comments to, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit © 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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