What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing Where They Shouldn’t

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

what smells deter cats from peeing

As adorable as cats can be, their pee can really stink up the place. What smells deter cats from peeing in places other than their litter box? Anything that has a very strong scent will actually turn them away.

If you want to prevent this bad habit, there are simple solutions you can use. Here are some suggestions you might want to try.

The Best Homemade Cat Pee Deterrent

1. Vinegar


It doesn’t matter what kind, but you should get one with a strong smell. All you need to do is dilute this in water following a 2:1 (two cups water with one part vinegar) ratio.

This solution is best used to deter cats from peeing on carpet as it can also neutralize the scent of their pee.

2. Citrus Fruits


If you’re not too fond of your home smelling like vinegar, try Citrus fruit peels as an alternative. Its refreshing scent might be great for humans, but cats greatly dislike the strong smell.

That said, do avoid Lemon Verbena and Lemongrass since these are known to be toxic to cats.

3. Rosemary


The strong herbal scent of this beloved plant is effective as a cat pee deterrent. You can also plant some in the areas where outdoor cats pee most.

While most people use dried leaves or powder, using Rosemary essential oils to deter cats from peeing on your furniture is just as good.

Read more: How to keep cats off furniture in 6 simple ways.

4. Cayenne Pepper


For something a bit more potent, try Cayenne Pepper. This method is best used in outdoor areas such as your garden, lawn, or porch. Using it indoors can cause potential issues and may make your cat sick if they accidentally lick it off.

5. Cinnamon


If you want smells to deter cats that are also pleasant to humans, Cinnamon is a good example. When using this, the best choice would be Cinnamon-scented sprays. Using the stick or powder variety can be messy and may also make your cat sick if ingested.

6. Coffee Grounds


It’s no secret that caffeine is toxic to cats, but the scent of coffee is a very effective cat pee deterrent. To safely use this, place it outdoors or in places that your cats cannot reach. You can also mix it with your garden soil or hang it using sachets.

7. Lavender


It may be calming for humans, but you can use Lavender essential oils to keep cats from peeing on carpet. If the essential oil variety isn’t accessible to you, dried Lavender flowers will also do the trick. Just make sure to keep it out of your cat’s reach, so they don’t end up chewing on them.

8. Eucalyptus


Eucalyptus essential oil can be mixed with water to create a strong-smelling solution that you can spray on all the places your cat has been peeing in. Growing Eucalyptus plants will also help keep your outdoor space free of cat pee, though making an essential oil spray is the most efficient method.

9. Peppermint


Peppermint is a cat pee deterrent that will also leave your home smelling fresh. Using essential oils is recommended because it is accessible and much easier to use when compared to dried peppermint leaves. You can also mix this with your cleaning solution to neutralize the odor of cat pee.

10. Black Pepper


If cats use your garden as their litter box, try mixing black pepper with some hot water in a spray bottle. Spray this on the topsoil, and it will help deter cats from going near it again. You will need to repeat this process again and again, but it certainly beats having your plants covered in cat pee.

11. Citronella


We know Citronella as a mosquito repellent, but it is an equally effective cat peeing deterrent. You can plant a few of them in your garden to keep cats away. However, the most effective is mixing Citronella and water in a 1:4 (one part essential oil and four parts water) to create a spray.

12. Garlic or Wild Garlic


The pungent odor of garlic is effective for keeping cats at bay. All you need to do is steep an entire bulb in some hot water, then transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Because of how strong the smell is, you might want to restrict the use of garlic water in your outdoor space.

13. Oregano


Like garlic, oregano has a very strong smell that cats will certainly stay away from. You can plant these herbs in your garden to work as an outdoor cat deterrent. Another option is the use of oregano oil applied to a tea bag, which you can then hang in the affected areas of your home.

14. Pipe Tobacco


What smell do cats hate to pee on? Give Pipe Tobacco a try. All you need to do is spread some on the soil of your garden bed. Another option is to steep it in some water to create a strong-smelling tea, then spray it where you don’t want cats to pee.

15. Asafetida


Often used in both Indian and Middle Eastern recipes, Asafetida is a spice that’s stronger than onion and garlic. Its pungent nature makes it an effective repellent for cats. To use this spice, mix it with some water and spray it on the areas of your home to stop cats from peeing there.

16. Geraniums


As lovely as Geranium blooms are, these plants actually give off an odor that cats find very unpleasant. So if you’ve been having trouble with neighborhood cats peeing and pooping in your garden beds, add Geraniums to your collection.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Use Acetone to Deter Cats from Peeing on Carpet?

While cats do hate the smell of bleach and other solvents, they are very sensitive to these products. As such, you should avoid exposing them to it and always use natural solutions instead.

Will Bleach Keep Cats Away?

Cats can have varying reactions to bleach. Some are turned away by its smell, while others are attracted to it. You shouldn’t use it as a deterrent because it is toxic to them and other animals.

Do Bananas Work as a Cat Deterrent?

Bananas emit ethene or ethylene, a chemical scent that cats are afraid of. It is an effective cat deterrent, but it may attract fruit flies and other buys as it decays. As such, it isn’t always the recommended solution.

In addition, to prevent your cat from peeing where they shouldn’t, you should also know why they behave like that, check out the following article and find out the reasons:


By using herbs, spices, and essential oils, there are many effective and natural ways to prevent cats from peeing where they shouldn’t. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on commercial products, which might even pose certain dangers to your health.

Instead, try to understand cat behavior and learn more about what smells deter cats from peeing where they shouldn’t. Do give some of our natural cat deterrents a try, and we hope you find the best solution for this issue.

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