A clever (and pretty!) way to keep cats away from breakables

March 3 | Guest post by Miranda Whittaker
Little Joey and the green goblin...goblet..gobbledegook?
By: stratman2CC BY 2.0

When I moved into my just-off-University-campus apartment, I discovered a few things that the previous owner left behind in my new closet. Loose change and dust bunnies were there, of course, but so were two perfume bottles: both Britney Spears scents in fancy, coloured bottles. Not knowing the room's previous resident and not having any way to contact her meant that the bottles were mine to deal with.

I don't really wear perfume, and it is becoming increasingly common for workplaces to ban the stuff because of the allergies and respiratory issues that many people have, but I've always had a soft spot for perfume bottles. So what to do with the shiny, pretty bottles that came my way?

My dilemma was solved when I returned home, because once again I was living with cats.

My cats like jumping up onto high shelves. Unfortunately, that's where I prefer to keep my delicate collectables and assorted breakable things. Figurines, souvenirs, glassware, picture frames — all things a cat might knock off a shelf while jumping up… or knock over just to see what will happen. But after finding those left-over perfume bottles, I came up with a way to stop the "Catzilla" moments that I dreaded.

Cats don't appreciate fine perfume, or cheap perfume for that matter. They hate scented soap, as anyone who washed their hands with a Body Shop soap and then tried to pet the cat knows. Cats especially hate anything citrus scented, including citrus peels. But if you don't fancy leaving orange peels all over the surfaces that you want to keep your cats away from, then I recommend the following:

1. Acquire pretty perfume bottles.
There are nice ones around in home decor stores or in beauty sets, but garage sales are often just as good. Thrift stores or vintage shops often have some fun vintage bottles. Go ahead, load up on pretty little bottles!

2. Buy inexpensive perfume or body spray.
Essential oils are good too, but a little pricy; you want quantity, not quality. You should like the scent — your cat will not. I recommend choosing a scent that has some citrus notes in it.

3. Pour the scent into your various pretty bottles.
Leave the cap slightly unscrewed so that the stuff can evaporate into the nearby air. This will let the scent diffuse around the area that you want cats to keep away from. You'll need to replace the liquid eventually, but while there's still some in the bottle, the cats won't come near it.

4. Use a bit of non-staining sticky tack.
Stick it onto the bottom of your bottle to keep them from being knocked over next time you reach for something on your shelf.

Enjoy the sight of your lovely-looking bottles and cat-free shelves.

What are YOUR clever hacks for keeping kitties from breaking your pretties?

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  1. Kitties have very sensitive sniffers, and I would not want to make the home into a labyrinth of scents to avoid. It's important to know that some essential oils are harmful to cats too, so do please research which ones are safe if you end up using them around the house for any reason.

    20 agree
  2. This is genius. I have 3 kids who are all in the Godzilla developmental stage. Everything and anything in their arms reach gets pulled onto the floor (at best) or ripped up (at worst). To keep the kids from wrecking my favorite signed books and other (very fragile) collectibles I have started putting them up high. Unfortunate that is cat territory. Between the toddlers and the aging cat who isn't as graceful as she once was and the 1-year old hyper active kitty all my nice things aren't safe anywhere. I'm going to do a little research into cat-safe and kid-safe scents. I might not want my entire house perfume smelly but it would definitely work in the bathroom and kitchen.

    2 agree
  3. Cool idea, thanks! One of our bedrooms is my office/dressing room, and I find different jewelry and/or crap off of high shelves on the floor every day. Last night I came home to find that one of them had gotten on the shelves, knocked down a bag, managed to open the bag, and find two feather boas that I ended up not being able to use for my wedding, and ripped them apart. I sort of lost my shit, and had decided to make that room off limits, even though the cats love hanging out on my desk and looking out the window. I'll try storing some perfume up there and see if it makes a difference, I hate closed doors almost as much as my cats do!

    1 agrees
  4. Framed plexiglas panels hinged on shelving, like barrister bookcases. (Much cheaper than barristers, too.)

    Cats still haven't figured out how to open and get into them.

  5. I read somewhere that cats dislike lemon and orange scents, so I got some orange essential oil. I put a drop wherever I want my cats to avoid (mainly scratching at a certain door jamb and clawing at the arms of a certain chair) and so far it's worked. I refresh it every few days or so. I bet this would work the same for breakable bottles….a drop of orange oil in each to discourage the cat.

    1 agrees

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