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6 Smells That Deter Cats From Peeing Where They Shouldn’t

Home » 6 Smells That Deter Cats From Peeing Where They Shouldn’t

Some days you wake up and find that your cat had another accident in the same place as last time. It’s the third time in a row at the exact same place. How can we get our furry friend to stop peeing there and start using the litter box like they are supposed to? There’s a lot of natural smells that can help push a cat away from a specific area. 

The first thing to keep in mind with cats is that you need to bring a lot of patience to the table. They are quick learners, but they are also pretty stubborn. If something doesn’t work in the first day, have a little patience with them. After all, they love you. 

Starting With The Basics

As with most things related to cats, we need to start with the very basics. The first is, is their litter box clean? If you aren’t cleaning it every day that is probably the reason your cat is peeing in other places. We had this issue with Yavapai and once we created a hard schedule to clean it every day, he stopped peeing on everything else. 

The second question to ask is, where is the litter box? If you put it somewhere hard to get to, or a place that is not always accessible for them, there’s your answer. You can see our post on where to put a litter box for more info regarding this. 

Finally, make sure that your cat isn’t displaying any other strange habits. If a cat is peeing on household items, it could be a way for them to tell you something is wrong with them, and that they need help. Generally, they will do this and a few other things, like constantly meowing for your attention if that is the case. 

Now, let’s discuss one important point before we get into the smells to use. 

Liquids vs Leaves

A lot of the items here can be used in liquid form, meaning you can take that smell and mix it with water to create a spray that you can use on practically anything. The main problem we have with liquid solutions is that you need to constantly be reapplying them, which can get tiring. 

We’ve found that leaves, or peels, or beans, or anything hard, is actually a much easier long term solution. For this, we strongly recommend picking up some cotton pouches so you can place different things in them and drop them in the area you’re trying to get them to avoid peeing on. 

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing In The Wrong Places

So, let’s jump into the essential items you're going to need to strike the perfect harmony in your household with your cat. Remember, all cats are different and some scents work better on some cats than others. Don’t get discouraged, just keep trying. And these smells can also help deter your cat from climbing on furniture as well. 

1. Rosemary

Rosemary is one of our favorite plants since it is delicious and pairs well with so many foods and drinks. Rosemary is also relatively easy to keep alive, if you want to have a rosemary plant. 

As we mentioned earlier, we have a neighborhood cat who loves to sleep (and maybe pee) on our front mat outside our door. We can simply take a rosemary plant and put it near our front door to deter her from hanging out at our front door. This makes our entry way more beautiful, and gives us quick access to fresh rosemary. It’s a win, win. 

If you want to use rosemary inside, it’s very common to find in essential oils which can be an easy way to mark an area or piece of furniture as “off-limits” to a cat.

2. Citrus

The easiest way to use citrus to deter cats from peeing on things, or even going on them, is to take a few peels of oranges or lemons and wrap them in something like a sock or cotton pouch and place it on the object you are trying to preserve. 

This creates a powerful aroma that cat’s really don’t like and you won’t need to replace it too often. Just be sure to keep stocking up on oranges, which you should be doing anyway! 

One note to make on this is that lemongrass is harmful to cats, so please do not include that in your citrus mix. 

3. Coffee

I’m sure you have some coffee lying around in your house, but do you have coffee beans? If so, this is an easy way to keep cats from peeing in specific places. They don’t like the smell of coffee, so if you can throw some beans in your cotton pouch, it should really help. Plus it’s really easy to find more of when it begins to lose it’s aroma, and in the meantime your house will always smell like a coffeeshop. 

4. Lavender

Disclaimer: lavender is toxic to cats, so please make sure you use this carefully

Lavender is a beautiful smell that cats hate. Unfortunately, you can’t just drop lavender all over the couch or carpet to get your cats to stop peeing there. As lavender is toxic to cats you need to be careful. You can place fresh lavender in a small thick cotton pouch as a deterrent. It’s got such a strong natural aroma you can just leave it there and it will help your house smell great all the time. 

You can also use lavender outside if you have an outdoor cat problem like us. This works great as the fresh lavender can grow freely outside, placed strategically so that it’s deterring cats from peeing on anything important, and close to your house so you can fill your cotton pouches with. 

5. Peppermint

Peppermint is commonly found in essential oils, but, like air fresheners, we really don’t recommend these as they contain ingredients we just don’t want our cats near. If you want to use peppermint we suggest planting it outside and crushing the leaves to mix with water to make a spray. The main concern here is that with sprays, you need to keep reapplying them and it gets rather tiring. 

6. Vinegar

Vinegar, as I’m sure you know, is a really powerful natural cleaning agent. We use vinegar for cleaning almost everything in our apartment. But it can also be used as a deterrent to keep cats from peeing in the wrong spot. All you need to do is create a mix with water and spray it on the area.

The downside here is most people don’t like the smell of vinegar, so it can be rather unpleasant. As with most sprays, this needs to be reapplied daily for maximum results, so it can get tiring. 


There’s lots of natural smells that can deter a cat from peeing where they shouldn’t, so there’s really no need to get some commercial spray to keep them from peeing. If none of these work, you may want to try a commercial spray, but be extra careful and read the ingredients to ensure they aren’t harmful to your cat. 


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