Best cat scarer and repellers for outdoors [UK]: Ultrasonic and solar cat repellers reviewed and compared (2021 Updated Review)
This article was last updated on July 31st, 2021 at 1:19 am
Cats, as cute as they are, are a law unto themselves and if you have neighbours that let theirs wander around freely, there is a good chance that your garden will become its playground.
Our feline friends can be a nuisance in a number of ways, from chasing the birds away from the feeder or bird bath, to just straight out taking a number two right on your freshly mowed lawn.
If you are having frequent problems with cats, and believe me I know how frustrating it can be, it could be time to spend a few quid on a cat scarer to let the cats know they are not welcome.
In this article, we will review the best cat scarers you can currently buy so you don’t have to waste time shopping around. First though, let me explain a few things about cat scarers so we are all on the same page.
What is a cat scarer and how to scare cats?
Cat scarers are devices that are designed to keep cats, and other unwanted animal visitors such as foxes, rabbits, etc. away from your garden. There are a few different designs out there, but the main ones use either ultrasonic waves, or a good old squirt of water, to scare the animals away.
Both types of cat scarer are usually staked into the ground in your chosen spot, and will have some kind of motion sensor on them. The quality of this sensor will vary from product to product, but the best cat scarers have pretty decent infrared sensors on them that reduces the number of ‘false calls’ and this saves power.
Once the sensor has detected movement, heat or both, the device is triggered. In the case of ultrasonic cat scarers, a sound that is barely audible to humans but very annoying to animals is sent out over a wide area to scare your little intruders away. The sounds frequencies are beautifully demonstrated in this video:
The other type of cat scarer will release a spray of water for a few seconds once the sensor is triggered.
Examples uses of cat scarers
I used to live abroad, and the street I called home had a ridiculous number of stray cats roaming around it, so you can imagine my ‘joy’ of coming out each day to the sight and smell of cat urine and excrement.
After looking into the issue, I decided to get a cat scarer but couldn’t decide on which type. In the end, I decided to get both as I had quite a large garden and the cats were coming over the walls from every direction.
I placed the ultrasonic cat scarer at the back of the garden and the water sprayer in the front and waited to see what would happen. After a day or two, I noticed that weren’t any ‘presents’ left in the front area, but around where I placed the ultrasonic one still had one or two.
At first, I thought the device was faulty but after giving the instructions another read through, I realised I needed to tweak the settings, and after doing so, I did get the results I was looking for, however, it does take a while to work due to animal behaviour and habits not being changed instantly.
So, from my own personal experience, I can say that I have used both the ultrasonic and water spray types of cat scarer, and they did what they were meant to. However, neither of them was perfect and, like most things, they had their flaws. I’ll explain more in the next section.
Problems with cat scarers
So, the main issues that I have encountered while using cat scarers are usually connected to the sensors in one way or another.
If the sensor on your cat scarer is cheap and not sensitive enough, even on the higher settings, the device will not even trigger and it is relatively useless. On the other hand, an oversensitive sensor will get triggered by all kinds of things, such as trees and plants blowing in the wind. This just leads to the batteries in your device running out prematurely, and a waste of water in the case of some type of cat scarer.
Other issues you might come across with ultrasonic cat scarers are that they might need some adjusting of the settings to get things working effectively, and also the incorrect placement of the machine can affect its performance. Then there is the fact that different machines use different types of frequencies, and this too affects performance.
These machines don’t work instantly either, and it can take around 2 weeks before the cat’s habits change and they stop coming around. Some people have also reported that after a long period of about a year, the cats got used to the sound and started coming back.
Although ultrasonic cat scarers are usually advertised as inaudible to the human ear, it really depends on the person. Some people will not hear anything when the scarer is activated, some will detect a very quiet hum, while some younger people are occasionally bothered by the sound. Dogs can be upset by the frequencies, so if you own a canine, it might be better to go for a different type of cat scarer.
Cat scarers that release a jet water can sometimes end up getting clogged with dust and dirt, and this will stop the spray from working properly. In addition to that, this type of scarer isn’t that effective on windy days and nights, as the water spray will be blown all over the place by strong gusts.
These products can also leak from the joints, so a good idea is to grab some plumbers tape and wrap them up well before using. This will not only stop the leaks but should improve the performance of the sprayer too.
With that being said here’s our picks for the top cat scarers and repellants:
- Best Jet Spray Cat Scarer and Repellant: PestBye® Jet Spray Battery Operated Motion Activated Cat Scarer & Repellent
- Best Ultrasonic Cat Repeller: Pestbye® Battery Operated Motion Activated Waterproof Cat Repellent
- Best overall cat scarer and repellant: Pestbye® Battery Operated Motion Activated Waterproof Cat Repellent
- Best alternative cat scarer: Aokeou 2021 Animal Repellent, Tri-face Ultrasonic Pest Repeller with PIR Motion Sensor
Best cat scarers reviewed
Now it’s time to take a good look at the top cat scarers currently available. We’ll compare them for price, durability, and effectiveness, and sum things up neatly for you in our pros and cons bullet points that accompanies each review.
1. Pestbye® Battery Operated Motion Activated Waterproof Cat Repellent
Probably the most popular product out there, this set of two battery operated cat scarers from celebrated brand Pestbye is also our pick of the bunch when it comes to ultrasonic products and the best cat scarer overall too.
These fully weatherproof products are encased in a high-quality plastic that feels strong and sturdy, and you should have no worries about leaving them out in any weather conditions, whether staked into the ground or hanging from your fence.
These cat scarers are extremely easy to set up and operate and there are very few controls involved. All you need to do is read the instructions that come with the devices to find out that the preset for cats is activated by turning the right dial to numbers dot numbers 3-5, and then use the left dial to adjust the sensor sensitivity.
After this, the machine will basically run itself and will only need you to keep an eye on the batteries and make sure the sensor or speaker isn’t covered in dirt or damaged. This cat scarer runs on four AAA batteries, and they should last between 2 and 4 months, depending on how high of a setting you have the sensor on, and how often the device is triggered.
The maximum range for this cat scarer to be effective is said to be between 7-10 metres, but it all depends on what obstructions are in the way. You also have the option to change the range of the sensor, but strangely there is no on/off button. Instead, you either have to turn both control dials completely to the left, or take the batteries out if you want to switch the machine off.
What I like about this particular product is that the sensor is a PIR infra-red unit, and that means that it isn’t triggered by anything that doesn’t give off a heat signature. Ultimately, this results in the batteries lasting longer which is always a good thing, especially when you need to unscrew the compartment to change them on this machine.
At the current price of around 35 quid for a set of machines, complete with ground stakes, and having good build quality, this product offers great value for money and is our choice as best ultrasonic cat scarer.
2. PestBye® Jet Spray Battery Operated Motion Activated Cat Scarer & Repellent
Our best water spray cat scarer also comes to us courtesy of the Pestbye brand, and is available to buy for around 30 pounds or so at the time of writing, but is it worth it?
Having spent some time with this cat scarer, and others similar to it, I would have to say that it is indeed the best of the bunch, and worth paying that little extra for it.
This machine works in much the same way as the ultrasonic scarers: the sensor is triggered and then that causes the device to spring into action. In this case though, it is a spray of water rather than an ultrasonic sound.
The spray of water can be modified using simple controls on the main unit, and you can adjust how far the sprayer turns in each direction, the height of the spray, and how wide the spray will spread.
With a maximum arc of the spray is 120 degrees, and the maximum range of around 10 metres, it can cover a good bit of ground. However, a lot will depend on the water pressure of your house and outdoor tap, as well as the quality of your hose, connections and fittings. If you have low water pressure, you might not get the best results from products such as this one.
Like the Pestbye ultrasonic scarer it has a sensor that is activated by motion, and can be triggered accidentally by the movement of other things, so try your best to set it up with a clear path in front of it or you’ll be wasting water. The sensitivity of the sensor can be altered though, and the controls are really simple to use.
Some of our customers have reported a couple of problems with their jet spray cat scarers, but they were usually easily solved. For example, there have been instances of the main unit leaking at the joints and connections, but this is a simple fix with some PTFE tape.
Another issue was that the device was being triggered all the time, even with the sensor turned right down to the lowest setting. After a lot of testing and messing around, we figured out that the water pressure on this person’s house was very high, and a simple turning of the tap to reduce the flow solved the problem.
I would say that this is an effective cat deterrent. The spray of water, plus the sound it makes when activated, certainly shocks the cats into running away, and it doesn’t take 2 weeks for them to change their habits like with the ultrasonic models either. Funny how a 5 second blast of cold water can change things huh?
The only thing I didn’t really like about this cat scarer was the plastic stake that is used to stick it into the ground. I don’t know why Pestbye didn’t give it a metal one like with some of their other products, but I think it was a poor decision on their part. The plastic feels ok, but as this is a machine that moves around, you need the base to be as strong as possible.
Like any product, this cat scarer isn’t without a flaw or two, but overall, it is a good product, and does what it is meant to very effectively.
3. Selections Solar Powered Battery Operated Ultrasonic Cat Repeller
This Ultrasonic cat scarer from Selections appears in many ways to be extremely similar to the Pestbye version we reviewed earlier in this article, and that’s not a bad thing.
It has the same practical features, such as a passive infrared sensor for detecting movement and heat signatures, and a front mounted speaker that emits a high frequency sound when the sensor is tripped by something.
The controls are pretty much identical, with two simple dials controlling the frequency presets and the sensitivity of the sensor, and that’s pretty much all there is it. Child’s play to operate, really.
Where this product differs from the Pestbye one, is that it is solar powered, and the solar cells will pick up sunlight and charge the batteries. Now, I know what you are thinking: “solar cells in the British gloomy weather?” and you are right, but Selections have thought of that and it is possible to top up the batteries when needed by using a USB charger.
If you don’t like the idea of a solar powered cat scarer, this near identical model is available in a battery-powered-only version for the same price, which is around 25 quid at the moment (July 2021). When compared to the PestBye set of 2 cat scarers for 30 pounds, that might seem a little expensive to some, and that’s why we chose the Pestbye as our number 1 over this product.
This is a high-quality machine though, the plastic used is very tough and I have no doubts that it is a durable product. The ground spike that comes with the cat scarer is made from aluminum, and so it will not have problems with rust. This is quite important considering you’ll be leaving the machine outside all the time.
We got a friend of ours to test this for us as he was having problems with a local cat being attracted to his fish pond. He reported to us that at first, the cat didn’t seem too fazed with the machine, but after a few nights he tuned up the frequency to a higher setting. This seemed to get the cat’s attention and it started to have the desired effect, so that’s something to keep in mind if you go with this type of cat scarer.
4. Defenders Jet-Spray Pond & Garden Protector
With this product, the Defenders brand are trying to compete with the Pestbye jet sprayer cat scarer, but for me, they just fall a little short.
The design of the Defenders pest scarer is almost identical to the Pestbye product and it works in the same way. You stick it in the ground via the plastic ground stake, connect it to a hose and your garden tap, and you’re ready to go. So far, so good.
The little problems arise when you start trying to adjust the spray. The small plastic pieces that you use to set the arc seemed to be overly stiff to me, and sometimes wouldn’t budge at all. After playing around with it, I figured out the way it should be operated, but at first it was frustrating.
Adjusting the range is much easier, and only takes a turn of the dial that is situated on the back of the sprayer. Again, the maximum range is 10 metres, but you will need the right amount of water pressure to get that out of the device, and most will have to settle for less range.
Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust the width of the spray on this particular pest scarer, but by changing the range, you can get it to spray at different heights. Unfortunately, just like with the Pestbye spray scarer, you can’t modify the height separately to the range.
You can adjust the sensitivity on the PIR sensor though, and the sensor itself works well if placed with an unobstructed view, but will have the same problem of false alarms if you have a plant placed in front of it.
The Defender pest scarer is mostly solidly built, although once again we see that it has a plastic ground spike instead of a metal one. However, after giving it some thought, I think plastic was chosen to prevent rust that could happen due to the water flowing through there and the inevitable leaking.
Battery life is very good, and the two AAA batteries will get you around 3 months of use before the need for swapping them arises. Getting into the battery compartment is a little fiddly at first, but you soon get used to it, like with the spray controls.
All in all, this is a decent product but it just has one or two niggly little things that, in my mind at least, make it a second-place product when compared to the Pestbye one, which is in the same price bracket.
5. Aokeou 2021 Animal Repellent, Tri-face Ultrasonic Pest Repeller with PIR Motion Sensor
This is the new 2021 version of Aokeou’s (don’t ask me how to pronounce that or I think I’ll have a seizure) ultrasonic animal repeller, and it has some nice features to offer the potential buyers out there.
First of all, its three-sided design means that you get a full 360-degree coverage instead of the usual, single direction offered by most of its competitors. Each side has the same features, such as sensor and speaker and this means that not only will the Aokeou cat scarer detect in every direction, but will emit the ultrasonic sound in all of them too.
This cat scarer doesn’t only rely on ultrasonic frequencies to get rid of animal pests, it also has an audible alarm sound intended to shock the intruder, and on top of that, a flashing light. When all three are used, it does a great job of scaring animals away.
Of course, you can’t have a loud alarm or flashing lights at night or your neighbours will soon have something to say about it, but thankfully, you have the option of selecting a silent mode.
One thing you can’t switch off is the flashing blue LED light that comes on at night or on dark, rainy days. It isn’t the brightest thing in the world, but if you have the device placed near to a window, it might get a bit annoying, and it would have been nice to have the option to switch it off.
The modes are swapped by using the only two control buttons found on the bottom of the machine and these are marked in English. However, with them being on the underside, you can’t really read them, so you just have to remember which is which.
I didn’t like the fact that every time you switch the machine on it goes into ‘initial mode’ and the lights flash and the alarm sounds, leaving you rushing to find the sound button and switch it into silent mode. This is particularly frustrating if you want to set up at night and end up waking the street up in the process.
This is a solar powered machine, but just like the Selections cat scarer it can be charged via a USB cable when you need to. Charging takes roughly three hours, but that full charge should see you good for about a month, even if the weather isn’t good enough to recharge the battery through the solar cells.
The build quality of the Aokeou is decent, and it has been waterproof tested and certified to IP44, so it is good to be left out in the rain, as long as it isn’t an abnormally heavy downpour. I thought the ground stake could have been better quality, and not come in multiple parts that click together. I know it’s good for height options, but I just think it will make the stake weaker.
This is a good cat scarer, and it’s really nice to see people trying to improve on the basic design instead of just making carbon copies with a different brand name attached. I haven’t had time to test this over a long period of time yet, so I can’t speak to its durability, and this, plus a few other things, have kept it out of the top spot for now.
6. Your's Bath 6 Pcs Cat Scat Mat with Spikes, Cat Repellent Mat
If you don’t fancy using neither the ultrasonic nor the water spraying cat scarers, there is still another option for you to consider. It’s very low tech, but actually very effective if used correctly.
I’m talking about prickle strips, sometimes called prickle mats or scat mats. These are strips of plastic that are covered in hundreds of little blunt spikes, and can be bought in big rolls or, as in the case of this product, in smaller sections that can be clipped together.
I actually prefer the strips that come separated over the larger rolls because they are easier to use straight out of the packaging. When you buy a roll, you will find that the piece you cut off will bend, and you’ll have to spend time bending it back the other way in order to get it to stay flat.
The recommended way to use this kind of cat scarer is to bury them just under the surface of your flower beds, or wherever else the cats are doing their business, and when the cat stands on them, it will be so uncomfortable they will move on somewhere else.
Now, the problem that sometimes arises is that the cats just move a few feet to your lawn and leave a souvenir there instead, but again, there is a solution. When I used these a few years back, I cut them into very thin strips and fixed them to the top of my fence, and also on the ground along the inside of it. The local cats didn’t want to walk on top of there and were in for a shock when they tried to jump over.
I really like these strips because you can place them on top of anything or anywhere that cats might be frequenting. A friend of mine was fuming after a neighbourhood cat had climbed up onto his motorcycle seat and clawed it to pieces. So, after buying a new seat, he made mini prickle mats that he could fix in place there and never had problems again.
If you’re thinking it sounds a little inhumane, don’t worry. These mats are designed to shock and make the animals uncomfortable and won’t cause any harm to them. What’s more, they don’t emit any ultrasonic sounds to disturb your pets, or alarms to disturb your neighbours, and on top of that, they are inexpensive.
Cat scarers FAQ
What are the most effective types of cat scarer?
Different people have differing opinions on this, but for me, I’d say that a jet spray type of cat scarer is the one most likely to do the job each and every time. The simple fact is cats hate water, and a good blast of it when they aren’t expecting is going to make them feel very unwelcome.
Prickle strips are really effective, but they do take a bit of setting up in the right places, and if you get it wrong, you just find that the cats have changed their route of entry and are still using your garden as a communal toilet.
Ultrasonic cat scarers take time to work, and this can put some people off, especially if they’re not the most patient human beings out there. However, I have had success with them, as have friends of mine, so I would have to say that they are effective too.
Still, if I had to choose just one type of cat scarer, I’d go with the ones that squirt water, or maybe an ultrasonic one that also has flashing lights and an optional alarm feature.
How much should I pay for my cat scarer?
I would be happy paying between twenty-five and thirty-five pounds for a decent device, with the water jet cat scarers usually costing a little more. Ultrasonic scarers can usually be bought as a pack of two for under 30 quid, but some of the newer models with extra features such as solar cells can cost that for just a single unit.
Prickle strips are the cheapest option, and you can get a 4 metre roll for around twenty pounds. However, as I explained earlier if you buy a roll, you’ll probably have to do some bending back into shape before you can use it, and it’s better to spend a little more and buy the flat strips that connect together.
Are there any hose free water cat scarers?
As there are some sprinkler systems out there that are hose free, I’m sometimes asked if there are similar products when it comes to cat scarers. Unfortunately, at least as far as I know, there aren’t any water squirting cat scarers that don’t require any connection to a garden hose or mains supply. Now, I could be wrong, so feel free to trawl the depths of the internet looking for one, but I haven’t come across one myself.
That last question concludes this article on the best cat scarers currently available, but we will of course update this page as newer products and promotions become available, so be sure to check back from time to time if you haven’t seen anything to your liking today.