Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Cats?

I know cats are some of the most beloved pets in the world, but in reality, these so-called “domestic” house cats tend to be highly invasive apex predators that obliterate local populations of birds, reptiles and insects.

cat napping next to plastic forks planted in the garden
cat napping next to plastic forks planted in the garden

They can even tear up your garden and leave their nasty droppings all over the place.

Most cat owners have no interest whatsoever in containing cats, so it’s up to you to try and repel them preferably without hurting them.

There are some people that assert Irish Spring is actually a highly effective feline repellent. Is it possible? Does Irish Spring soap repel cats?

Yes, it seems that Irish Spring soap has a strong deterrent effect on cats. This is probably due to its strong aroma rather than any inherent repellent ingredient. Irish Spring is also safe for cats to be around.

Well, color me surprised. I’ve heard lots of tall tales in my day, and surely expected my research into this to put another one on the tally, but it looks like it’s definitely true.

This bar soap is safe, effective, cheap, and readily available and that makes it a perfect deterrent for protecting your property from marauding cats.

I will tell you everything you need to know down below…

Is There a Precedent for Irish Spring as a Cat Repellent?

Yes, as it turns out, there is. You can talk this up to what would otherwise be internet rumor or urban legendry proving true after all. Irish Spring has long been recommended as a repellent for all sorts of animals.

Usually, you see it recommended as a mosquito or horse fly repellent, but it’s sometimes called on for getting other animals out of gardens and off your property.

I’ve looked and looked, and was unable to find where this info first popped up, but I will attest that the notion has been around for a long time.

When I was a much younger man, I can remember some of the adults talking about it for protecting gardens from deer and other critters that were notorious for munching on vegetables.

We might not ever know who the inventor of Irish Spring-as-animal-repellent is, but the idea has persisted, and I’m happy to say it is true – at least when cats are concerned!

Does Irish Spring Have Any Repellent Ingredients?

No, or at least, the soap doesn’t contain any active ingredients that are in various animal repellents, and especially in cat repellents.

That is another component of the urban legend depending on who you hear it from: supposedly The soap contains active or inactive ingredients that are identical to those found in bug sprays. That’s usually how the story goes…

It also happens to be just plain false, although there’s probably some sort of product out there that has at least one or two ingredients that are also found in Irish Spring.

But Irish Spring does work to repel cats by its iconic fragrance. Cats have incredibly sensitive olfactory systems.

In fact, it is known that a cat’s nose is anywhere from 13 to 15 times more powerful and sensitive than our own.

Every cat has hundreds of millions of scent receptors in their noses that are all highly tuned, and that fresh, bracing fragrance of The soap just seems to be intolerable to them.

Not for nothing, cats also seem to be particularly sensitive to citrus fragrances and Irish Spring has exactly those Supposedly it is bergamot scent, but I can’t really smell it.

It just smells like freshness or some kind of oceanic aroma to me. Nonetheless, cats hate it and will avoid it.

Will Irish Spring Hurt Cats?

No, Irish Spring will not hurt cats unless you go out of your way to bathe them with the stuff. The aroma isn’t going to hurt them and even contact with the soap is harmless for the most part.

I don’t imagine that any cat would ever try to eat soap considering how much they dislike it, but even a little nibble is unlikely to cause them any serious harm.

Will Irish Spring Body Wash Keep Cats Away?

I don’t know, truly, and was unable to find any evidence one way or the other, but my instincts tell me that Irish Spring bar soap is going to be more fragrant and more effective than the artificial detergent that we call body wash.

In any case, this classic soap can be had anywhere and is very cheap, so stick with that.

Can Irish Spring Soap Actually Attract Some Cats?!

No, I don’t think so, although it isn’t totally out of the question either. Truly, all evidence I’ve been able to find suggests that cats are absolutely repulsed by the smell of Irish Spring so I can’t imagine it actually attracting them.

Even so, if you shower or bathe with Irish Spring I suppose it is possible that your cat or someone else’s cat might have learned positive associations with it and so if they smell it in your garden or on your property they could come looking.

I do believe this to be a very fringe case, however.

How Should You Use Irish Spring to Repel Cats?

You have several good options for employing Irish Spring as a cat repellent.

The simplest method is just to take a bar of soap and cut it up into a few chunks before scattering it in your garden or anywhere else that you want to keep cats away from.

But, you got a lot more bang for your buck, better coverage and much greater intensity of fragrance if you finely chop or shred the Soap before you scatter it.

One of the best methods I’ve heard of involves shredding a new, dry bar of soap using a cheese grater and then making up little sachets of soap shavings using tea bags or even old socks.

From there, you can hang or scatter the bags to form a perimeter that will probably keep cats out for the duration.

Keep in mind that the aroma of Irish Spring will wear out in time, and rain can wash it away so be prepared to make a new batch periodically.

Can Cats Get Past a Barrier of Irish Spring?

Yes. To be clear, Irish Spring isn’t a force field. It’s not like with witches and vampires that cannot cross running water or something!

Cats hate the smell of Irish Spring and will try to avoid it, but if they jump over a barrier of it or are far enough away from it, they might hang around.

Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to thoroughly sow the area with the soap as described above so that, no matter where they go on your property or in your garden, they can’t get away from the aroma.

You Can Also Make an Irish Spring Spray to Keep Cats at Bay

Let’s say you’ve got some particularly determined cats that don’t seem bothered by Irish Spring in the least.

If they’re causing trouble by chewing on things around your yard and home, it is possible to whip up a batch of soap spray that will make them think twice.

All you need to do is dilute your fine shavings into a spray bottle full of water until it has a consistency like milk.

The solution should smell very strongly of Irish Spring. Then, simply spray anything you want to keep cats off of or keep them from chewing on.

When these pets will walk over the residue, it will stick to their paws and become absolutely intolerable when they go to lick them.

Likewise, nibbling on anything that you have treated with this spray is also going to leave a bad taste in their mouth. Periodic reapplication is quick, easy and painless so you can keep this up until the cats hit the trail for good.

Don’t Ever Spray or Wash a Cat with Irish Spring!

One thing I should point out before we wrap up is that you should never spray a cat with that solution I mentioned above, and if you have a cat you’re responsible for don’t wash them with Irish Spring as a punishment or for correcting bad behavior.

Yes, I said this soap is safe for cats to be around and I stand by that, but you shouldn’t wash them with it or squirt them with it because it isn’t pH balanceded for them.

Accordingly, it can degrade the quality of their fur and cause serious skin irritation. Not for nothing, getting soap in your eye is always a painful experience.

If it doesn’t feel good when it happens to you it sure isn’t going to feel good for that poor cat!

You should have good enough results using soap shavings or the spray solution method made from bar soap I talked about above.

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