What Smells Deter Cats from Peeing

Published by Hala Zaqqout on March 10, 2022 | Last updated on August 12, 2023

As much as we love our furry little friends, they can stink up the house if we’re not careful. When it comes to cats, they do their business in the house as well. This annoying cat behavior could drive anyone crazy!

If you’re already dealing with this issue, the solution lies in your kitchen cabinet. The good news? There are some smells and scents in the natural world that your pet will definitely avoid.

You may be wondering now “How do I stop my cat from peeing in the house?”, and more specifically “What smells deter cats from peeing?”.

If you want to have a clean, odor-free home while still hosting a bunch of cat buddies, you’ve come to the right place to get the answer of “what smells deter cats from peeing?”.

In this Cleaners Advisor article, we’ll find out what smells deter cats from peeing so you can get rid of this daily annoyance.

And you’ll learn tips and tricks that can help you in establishing healthy rules for your cat. But most importantly, you’ll know the reason why cats pee outside the litter box.

Why is Your Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Before we tell you about what smells deter cats from peeing, let’s find out the reasons for such mishaps.

This problem is most common among owners who adopt or purchase stray cats from local shelters. Unfortunately, these cats are accustomed to using their urine to mark their territories.

However, if you’ve properly trained your cats and they still refuse to use the litter box, there could be a variety of underlying issues at play. The following are some of the most common issues:

1. Urination that is frequent or uncontrollable due to an underlying medical condition. Make an appointment with a vet right away if you suspect your cat is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, or feline interstitial cystitis.

2. Old Age.

3. Conditions that make sitting in a litter box uncomfortable, such as arthritis.

4. Unfavorable arrangement of the litter box.

5. Longstanding habits or behavioral issues.

Before you take any drastic measures to prevent your cat from peeing in your house, it’ll be easier to effectively address the issue if you can get to the root of the behavioral problem.

Inspect the litter box as well to make sure it’s usable. Your pet may stop using the litter box if it is too dirty or difficult to access.

What Smells Deter Cats from Peeing?

While it’s important to figure out what’s causing the problem, you can use certain scents to keep your cat from peeing on your items. So it’s important to know what smells deter cats from peeing. Here are the most effective smells for deterring cats from peeing.

Just like other strong scents and odors, the vinegar of almost any kind can be used to keep your cat from urinating. It can be diluted in water and sprayed in the house to clean up pee accidents.

1. Vinegar

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Just like other strong scents and odors, the vinegar of almost any kind can be used to keep your cat from urinating. It can be diluted in water and sprayed in the house to clean up pee accidents.

Vinegar can help neutralize the odor of cat urine, preventing your cat from thinking that places, where they’ve peed before, are okay to pee in again.

2. Coffee

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While brewing your morning cup, you most likely make coffee grounds, which you discard in the trash. But did you know that placing these grounds near your carpets and furniture can prevent your cats from peeing on them?  

Coffee is a great option for deterring cats from urinating in a specific area because it has a strong scent. You can put coffee in the soil of your houseplants to keep your cat from urinating in the area while also nourishing them.

Keep it out of reach of your cat in case its curiosity wins; to keep it safe, the cat should not be physically able to lick the coffee off.

3. Citrus

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Courtesy of “factsofindonesia.com”

Another simple way to freshen up the environment in your home while deterring cats from peeing in unusual places is to use citrus oil or juice. Oranges, limes, and lemons have a fruity scent that cats hate.

All you have to do now is scatter these scents throughout your home. This will keep them from peeing on your valuable furniture and direct them to their litter boxes.

4. Rosemary

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Rosemary is a great option for preventing your cat from urinating inappropriately because it can also be used as a fresh seasoning for your food. It has an unmistakable herbal scent that is both strong and delicate.

You can add potted rosemary plants in areas where your cat likes to urinate. To deter your cat, try to put rosemary leaves or powder in sachets or other breathable items. Some commercial cat-safe cleaning products with a herbal rosemary scent may also be effective.

5. Lavender

blooming lavender flowers
Courtesy of “gardeningknowhow.com”

Another effective solution for your cat’s peeing problem is using lavender oil to stop cat peeing. Frustration and confusion can lead to cats peeing outside of their litter boxes.

The lavender plant’s calming and anxiety-relieving scent can help relieve their stress and keep them from peeing all over the house.

6. Peppermint

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Fresh peppermint bags placed around your home will deter your cat from urinating, but you can also make a peppermint infused spray by boiling 1 cup fresh peppermint (stems included) with 1 cup water. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before pouring it into a spray bottle.

Peppermint should not change the color of the fabric, but you can test a small area to be sure. If needed in a specific area, you can add potted mint plants or use peppermint-scented sprays to deter your cat.

Keep a close eye on the plant when you first introduce it; you want to make sure the cat is put off by it and avoids the area because ingesting large amounts of the mint plant causes vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Peppermint essential oils are toxic to cats, so avoid using them.

7. Eucalyptus

The smell of eucalyptus is strong and methanol-like. It is one of the many odors that cats dislike because it is pungent and minty. Spraying eucalyptus oil on carpets or around the garden is the best way to use it.

Although it’s not safe for cats to consume, most felines dislike the smell of the plant and avoid it whenever possible. You can grow it in your backyard if you live in USDA hardiness zones 8—11.

However, eucalyptus trees grow best in warm climates and struggle when temperatures fall below 50° F. The leaves are the most aromatic part of the plant, and you can deter your cat by putting fresh or dried leaves in sachets.

8. Cinnamon

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Courtesy of “masterclass.com”

Cinnamon has a distinct spicy odor and using it to deter your cat’s inappropriate urination can help cover up some of the lingering, unpleasant odor of cat urine.

Cinnamon, especially in powder form, can be difficult to use indoors due to its messy nature. Cinnamon sticks or cat-safe cleaning sprays with a cinnamon scent may be the best options for you.

Just make sure your cat doesn’t chew on the cinnamon stick because it could cause some minor tummy problems.

9. Cayenne Pepper

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Courtesy of “istockphoto.com”

Cayenne pepper is one of the more effective options for preventing cats from urinating inappropriately. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more difficult-to-use options. The problem is that it is typically found in powder or flake form, which can be difficult to contain.

This is a great option for outdoor spaces where you need to deter a cat, such as a garden, but it can be difficult to contain in one area when used indoors. If you sprinkle it in areas where your cat walks, the cat might lick it off. Cats should not eat chili powder!

10. Essential Oils

essential oils which are safe for cats
Courtesy of “tuxedo-cat.co.uk”

Essential oils do a great job of deterring cats. They are, however, a double-edged sword in that, due to their high concentration, they may be toxic to some cats. In fact, if cats inhale a significant amount of them, they may be exposed to a variety of diseases.

This does not preclude us from using essential oils in our homes or repelling our cats. In fact, essential oils are used in the majority of scent repellents. The trick is figuring out how to use them.

To ensure that you are not harming your cat, it is common practice to mix a one-part essential oil with three parts water.

You can put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray your carpets as needed, or soak cotton balls in the mixture and place them in the target area but out of reach of your cat.

And here’re the essential oils that your cat hates the most. These will be great deterrents:

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • Citronella
  • Rosemary
  • Herbs
  • Lavender & Geranium

11. Commercial Deterrents

Cat Spraying No More
Courtesy of “siquefunciona.com”

You may be wondering how to stop a cat from peeing on the carpet by using commercial products. If you still want to know more about what smells deter cats from peeing and don’t want to use the natural smells above, here we’ll talk about the commercial cat pee deterrents option.

We dislike cat pee deterrent sprays because they frequently contain essential oils, but outdoor deterrents seem more humane.

If your garden or landscaped areas are being disturbed by cats, you can install a motion-activated sprinkler that blasts them when they approach the area. A sprinkler may not be practical in the winter, but scat mats can help keep cats away.

Scat mats are rubber mats with raised spikes that make the surface uncomfortable for cats. They are safe for your pet and can be used to protect gardens, decks, and patio furniture.

Check out this video to know the smells cats hate the most.

What Smells Deter Cats from Peeing FAQ

To Wrap Up

Here we go! You now know what smells deter cats from peeing and make them go pee outside! Just try using one of the smells from the Cleaners Advisor list above in those areas.

It won’t hurt to use any of the sprays mentioned above to keep your cat away from certain areas, as long as you use them wisely and sparingly. If you notice any negative impact on your cat as a result of any of these odors, discontinue use immediately.

To avoid future stinky situations, consult with your vet to rule out any medical issues and determine whether the litter box is the root cause of the problem.

Do you want to add more tricks and ideas on what smells deter cats from peeing? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear!