Top 5 best cat scarers (November 2020 Updated Review)
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 8:18 am
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Let’s get straight to the point, you need a cat scarer because stray cats, (or worse) your neighbours aren’t considerate enough to keep tabs on their felines, yes, harsh but true.
I’m going to be honest here, I’m definitely not what you would call a ‘cat person’.
Back in the day, if you’d have asked me if I preferred cats or dogs I would have honestly replied that I didn’t really have a preference and would go out of my way to stroke or play with any felines or canines I came across.
This all changed for me when I moved to live in France for a while. I knew that there was a problem with the number of stray dogs lurking around over there, so I found myself a nice house to rent down a closed off private road next to the beach where there weren’t any stray dogs to come and dig up my flower beds.
What I hadn’t realised, was that the absence of stray dogs produced another problem – a stray cat mass invasion!
My new, beautifully crafted lawn soon became a mass public toilet for every cat within miles (or so it felt at the time) and having to go out and deal with the mess, not to mention the strong smell of cat urine on a daily basis was enough to drive me round the bend.
I tried out some cat repellent granules that a friend suggested but they had little to no effect, nor orange skin peels, or lemon for that matter, so I was left to running outside to scare the cats off with the hose pipe whenever I saw one coming to use my garden as a public toilet. It was hardly ideal.
That was a fair old while ago, and well before the internet became a thing in our daily lives so my options were very limited. These days, there are some incredible products out there that really do what they say they will – scare off cats and other animal intruders without causing them any physical harm, and I have taken advantage of this and my garden here in good Old Blighty has a system set up that I’m very happy with.
I know this is a common problem for keen gardeners, so I thought it would be a good idea to review the best cat scarers that money can buy in the UK for you. Let’s crack on shall we?
1. Pestbye® Waterproof Cat Repellent Ultrasonic Repeller Cat Scarer with Ground Stake
Easy to set up, simple to operate, and a proven effectiveness in its intended field, have made this cat scarer from Pestbye a best-selling product.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, the Pestbye cat scarer uses ultrasonic sound waves to ward off any unwanted guests from the animal kingdom such as cats, dogs, foxes, and squirrels.
The sound it emits is actually very loud but can’t be detected easily by the human ear because of its high frequency, a bit like a dog whistle, so it won’t disturb you or your neighbours when it is triggered.
So, how is it triggered? The device is fitted with a PIR sensor which uses infra-red technology to detect body heat from animals. This is a step up from some earlier cat scares that worked on motion technology as they could be triggered by things like fast moving foliage in strong winds and this would drain battery life quickly.
The fact that the sound is constantly blasting out like this also gets the cat used to it being a general background sound and so it becomes less effective.
With PIR sensors, the ultrasonic sound is only set off by animals and so it saves your battery and also shocks them because they are not used to hearing the sound.
The simple design of Pestbye’s best-selling cat scarer only requires you to either fix the device to a wall, or mount it on the supplied stake and stick it into the ground. The plastic housing feels strong enough to not warrant any worry about damage, and it is also completely waterproof so you can leave it out in the garden 24/7 without issues.
Operating it is also very straightforward as there are only 2 dials on the main unit, one that controls the sensitivity of the sensor, and the other that alters the frequency. There are instructions about what frequency settings work best for different animals.
With the sensor turned up to full, it will detect in an 80 degree arc up to 23 feet but this will drain the battery more so than if you turn the dial down to have the sensor cover a smaller area.
For best effects, you should have the device pointing at an unobstructed area. This is because obstacles such as garden sheds, fences, etc. will have an effect on the sound and will probably block it. This is also a good thing too though, as the sound will not upset your pets inside the house.
If you’ve never used one of these devices before, please be aware that they don’t work instantly and it can take a one to a few weeks in some cases for the animals to associate the noise with their own movements and become deterred, especially if it has become a habit for it to use your garden as a lavatory.
Use a little bit of patience, keep on top of the battery situation to ensure it is working, and this handy little animal repeller should see you good, and at such a low price, you don’t really have any excuses not to give it a try.
2. zonpor Cat Repellent, Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
I would say that the Zonpor cat scarer is the closest competitor of Pestbye’s ultrasonic models, and some would even say it has features that make it a superior product that warrants the 10 pounds or so extra that you have to pay for it.
So, let’s talk about the similarities and differences between the two products, starting with what they have in common. Firstly, the designs of the housing are very similar, with both cat scarers having two dials that are used to control the sensitivity and frequency, respectively.
They are both constructed of heavy duty plastic and are highly waterproof, allowing them to be left outside even in heavy rain, which of course is essential for the UK.
They also share the ability to be mounted up on a wall or dug into the ground on a stake and have PIR infrared sensors.
Now, for the differences. While Pestbye’s model is powered by 4 AA batteries, Zonpor’s cat scarer is actually solar powered, and for those winter months when there isn’t much sun shine going on, you can simply use a USB charger to top up the power instead. I really like the convenience of having to go out and buy batteries every couple of months (you can fit this model with 3AAA batteries in the back if you like ). However there is just one downside to USB charging, and that is that the infrared sensor won’t work while the device is being charged.
Another extra feature that the Zonpor has is that when you set the device to mode 4 or 5, the ultrasonic sound is also accompanied by flashing LED lights intended to scare away bats, birds, and other wild animals.
With a 55 degree vertical angle, and a 110 degree horizontal arc, the sensor in this model covers a wider area than Pestbye’s device, and also has a longer range of 9 metres, that’s 2 metres longer than its rival.
One thing I did notice about this model was I could hear the sound that was being emitted when it was more than I could with the Pestbye cat scarer. This didn’t bother my wife though, so I think it is different for everyone and depends on your hearing sensitivity.
Overall, this cat/animal scarer is a good product and available at a fair price point considering the extra features it has over some of its closer competitors.
3. Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Animal Deterrent
Although ultrasonic cat scarers are becoming the most popular mode of getting rid of animal pests, some people still prefer the physical deterrent of spraying water at them.
Unlike my old method of sitting on the sofa and running out to the garden, armed with the hose, these automated devices are far more convenient.
To set this Scarecrow model from Contech up, you just need to insert the supplied 9V battery into the main unit then connect it to any standard garden hose and you’re good to go,
This is a very lightweight cat scarer, being made mostly out of plastic, but it doesn’t feel flimsy at all which is a good job considering the high price tag (just under a hundred pounds at the time of writing) that Contech gave this scarecrow model.
Included in the box are the 9V battery, stake to stick the unit into the ground, sensor head, instructions, and, rather strangely I thought, some decal stickers that sort of make the device resemble a large bird.
Detection of intruders is handled by a motion sensor that can be set to be triggered by even the smallest movement using the sensitivity adjustment, so you will have to carefully think through where you will place it so it doesn’t get unnecessarily triggered by things like cars going past, or trees blowing in the wind if you want to have it on the highest setting.
When the sensor does detect movement and heat signatures within its very large, 1000 sq/ft (claimed) range, the scarecrow cat scarer will be triggered and do a number of things to scare the animal away. The combination of water burst, sudden movement from the unit, and noise is very effective and will scare away even larger animals such as foxes.
The water spray is adjustable and you can alter the both the height and length of it. With good water pressure, you can expect the water to reach about 30 feet, however to sustain that pressure, I would change the hose connectors that come with the product for some better ones such as hozelock, or some high quality brass ones.
If you have a recurring problem with animals coming into your garden, and you really want to have this cat scarer set up all year, I would seriously suggest that you invest in a water butt or two just in case there is an all too common UK hosepipe ban.
I have to say, that this cat scarer did indeed work very well, but I also think that the price is a little bit too steep for some people. Then again, thinking about my own cat poo problem, I would have gladly paid a fair old sum to be rid of it.
4. Pestbye® Battery Operated Cat Repellent V2
This is the latest model from pestbye (version two, hence the V2 in the name) and has been designed as an upgrade of the previous cat scarer.
The V2 is fundamentally the same device as its incredibly popular predecessor but with various improvements. For a start, the sensor has been taken up a notch and now has an effective range of 32 feet. It also seemed to be more sensitive and could be triggered by even small animals on the higher settings. The width of the arc has been increased from 80 degrees to a far more useful 128 degrees.
In addition to the ultrasonic sound waves, the Pestbye V2 also now has an LED light which can act as a good indicator that the device is working as expected.
Durability is also something that has been improved, with better waterproofing and dust protection, and is now IP44 rated. The old model was already able to sit out in bad weather, but it’s always nice to have more protection from the elements.
Hyper Resonance Frequency (HRF) is the method that the V2 uses to provide maximum shock to the animals in the garden. It works by alternating quickly between different frequencies and is supposed to be a more effective way of deterring cats than the gradual step up in frequency levels that some other models use. How true this is, I couldn’t say, but after a week or so of using this device I did notice that it seemed to be having the desired effect.
I also noticed that I could detect the sound myself, as did my friend’s young daughter when they visited us. While it didn’t really have too much of an effect on me, she complained that gave her a headache when she was in the garden.
Like the first version of this cat scarer, the V2 requires 3 AAA batteries to run, and based on 10 activations per day, they should give you about 3 months of working life. It would have been nice to have a solar panel on top like the Zonpor cat scarer or a charging option, but 3 months’ worth of use isn’t bad for a few batteries.
To sum up, the V2 is an improvement over its older sibling and also has the very good price of 14.99. There are some people who say these types of cat scarers don’t work, and with some animals they can be ineffective, but I have used them and I would have to say that I have seen results, and this one was particularly fast producing those.
5. PestBye® Jet Spray Battery Operated Motion Activated Cat Scarer & Repellent
If you are looking for a water spray cat scarer but don’t want to spend the kind of money that Contech are asking for their scarecrow model, you might want to take a look at this one from Pestbye priced at just under 19 quid at the moment on Amazon.
The makers claim that the sensor has a 120 degree arc and that the water spray will reach 10 metres. After our tests, I would say the effective arc of the sensor was more like 70 degrees, which is still pretty good, you just need to set up the device properly to get the most out of it. We didn’t measure the water spray but it did have decent range on it.
For the low price, the build quality of this cat scarer is actually very good and not too dissimilar to the much pricier Contech machine. Having said that, the hose connectors did have some small drips coming out of them, but this is an easy fix with inexpensive brass replacements.
You also have to be aware though that both this model and its rival, the Scarecrow, are mainly plastic constructions and so are not really suited to be left out in cold weather as it will no doubt lead to cracking and warping. They should be fine for spring and summer use though.
Like any device of this kind, decent water pressure is a must if you want it to be effective. It doesn’t have to be super high pressure, but if you have lower than average pressure in your home, it will affect the range of the water spray. My place has what I’d call slightly better than average and it was able to spray about 8 metres in a burst that lasted about 4-5 seconds. Like the Scarecrow cat scarer, the height and length of the water burst is adjustable.
When this machine is triggered by an animal, not only does it spray water but it also emits a noise which is audible to both animals and people and is actually quite loud, so you might get some complaints from the neighbours if you live in a terraced house with a narrow garden.
So, in conclusion I would say that this is a good cat and animal scarer that can be bought for relatively cheap. Just be prepared to change the hose connectors and have good water pressure to get it work the way it was intended.
Cat Scarer Buyer’s Guide
There are a few options available to you when it comes to scaring away unwanted guests from the animal kingdom, and it can be hard to know what to go for. To make things a little easier we have put together this little buyer’s guide for you.
Ultrasonic cat scarers
These models use high frequency sound waves that cats and other animals find shocking or uncomfortable to be around and thus they act as a deterrent to them.
The pros of these devices are that they are easy to set up and operate and are relatively inexpensive.
Cons are that there are some animals that won’t be affected by the noise and also that the effects aren’t instant and make take weeks to become noticeable.
Water spray cat scarers
Water spraying cat scarers do offer the user instantly seeable results. The animal gets squirted with water, and it runs away.
However, effectiveness is usually reliant on your home’s water pressure, and often the hose connectors that come with these devices aren’t the best and need to be changed.
There is also the problem of their plastics cracking in cold weather and leaving the machine useless.
Cat repellent gels, pellets, etc.
These products used to be very popular back in the day, but these days most people prefer to use an ultrasonic or water squirting cat scarer instead.
The problem with these repellants is that they are a bit hit and miss and may only work on some cats while others are not bothered by them at all.
Prickle strips can be a good way of stopping dogs digging up your flower beds and can work on cats too. Although they have spikes on them, they are designed to only be uncomfortable for dogs and cats to jump or walk on and won’t cause them pain.
of course these strips won’t stop cats leaving fecal matter on your lawn, but they can protect your prize botanic areas.
Those four types of cat scarers are the main ones available on the UK market, and each has their own positives and negatives. We hope this guide and reviews will help you to make a more informed decision on the right type for you.