Your cat just peed on your rug and, no matter what you do to clean it, it always comes back to the same spot to pee again and again. If only there were some way to use smells to help your cat “forget” where it went in the past, so it doesn’t do that again. What smells deter cats?
Cats are deterred by citrus, mint, prickly plants, and vinegar. You can place several plants in your garden to keep other cats out, including Roses, Holly, and Hawthorne. You can create a citrus spray to treat areas that your cat has peed in to help your cat forget to pee there again.
Cats are creatures of habit, so if you want to create some natural boundaries for your cat, keep reading to learn how to do that safely.
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Cats Have an Insane Smelling Capacity
With over 200 million olfactory senses, cats have an insane capacity to detect smells that humans don’t even know exist. When cats smell things that are offensive to them, they naturally avoid those areas or items. In the wild, offensive smells usually mean the items are toxic to the cat, so this ability to detect toxins is useful for survival.
However, there are some things that cats don’t like the smell of, but they are not toxic to cats. Citrus and coffee are two smells they don’t like, but these things are not poisonous.
When cats mark their territory by urinating outside of the litter box, and you clean it, cats will still go there because they still smell their scent. If you used these scents to discourage your cat from going there again, they would most likely forget about that spot.
Because cats have a strong sense of smell, they will return to any spot that smells like them even though you can’t smell what they smell.
Citrus Scents Are Off-Putting to Cats
Oranges, lemons, and limes are not toxic to your cat, but cats hate the smell because of how acidic they are. Cats don’t like acidic smells because, in nature, most acidic things are toxic to cats.
If you have a garden that the neighborhood cats love visiting due to the plants you chose, you might try putting orange or lemon peels around the perimeter to keep them out. Citrus is an efficient deterrent because it is very strong.
In your home, essential oils are thought to be toxic to cats, but some suggest that a small amount of citrus essential oil mixed with mostly water will help dilute the oil while still effectively deterring your cat from going where they shouldn’t go in your home. When you spray the oil and water mixture, the oil itself will evaporate quickly, but the smell remains for several hours.
While this will be discussed later in the article, you can use citrus scents on any spot that you cat peed on to help your cat forget they marked their territory in that spot. They will avoid that spot, which means you will be able to clean it up completely without them further going in that spot.
Put These Plants In Your Garden to Keep Other Cats Out
As with the citrus scents, you can put actual plants around the perimeter of your garden to keep the neighborhood cats out. Some of these plants include thorny bushes such as roses, raspberries, and blackberries. You might also try planting lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, and geraniums in your garden to keep cats out. These plants also keep deer and other animals away.
Some herbs like Rosemary and thyme can be placed inside your home in strategic areas to keep your cat from exploring the parts of your home that are off-limits to them. One piece of advice: make sure that the plants you do place in your home are not toxic to cats if they eat some of the leaves. While Rosemary and thyme are not toxic to cats, lavender and eucalyptus are somewhat toxic.
If you want to deter cats from your garden without planting toxic plants, place pine cones or gravel around your garden. Cats hate the feel of these substances on their feet and will avoid it at all costs.
Mustard plants are not toxic to cats, but the seeds can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, which could be fatal to cats. If you want to avoid this, you may want to leave the mustard plant at the store.
Do Cats Hate the Smell Of Vinegar?
Vinegar is a very strong smell that cats don’t like at all. Again, it is an acid, and cats don’t like acidic scents. If you want to keep your cat off your kitchen counters, try using a vinegar-water-lemon juice solution to clean them with. Once the smell is on there once, your cat will keep smelling it even after the solution dissipates.
You can put vinegar in your washer when washing anything that your cat peed on to remove the urine smell, or you can mop the floor with vinegar to remove anything that will attract your cat to that area.
Cats Love Catnip, But Hate Mint
Catnip is part of the mint family, but cats don’t like spearmint, peppermint, or wintergreen scents. While peppermint or spearmint is not toxic for cats, wintergreen and menthol will cause diarrhea and vomiting if your cat eats those plants. They still do not like any mint smells, even though Catnip is a part of that family. However, Catnip is a scent that attracts cats from miles around and is used in several cat toys to entice play.
Try putting some peppermint essential oil in water to use in areas you don’t want your cat to be. The oil will dissipate quickly, but the smell will remain, keeping your cat away from certain areas.
Use These Smells to Keep Cats From Peeing On Your Rugs
Cats can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to them peeing on your rugs, clothes, shoes, or even plastic bags. If there is a stack of papers on the floor, you can bet that your cat will pee on them at least once. After your cat pees once on papers stacked on the floor, the smell will remain on the carpet even though you’ve cleaned it.
To keep your cat from going in the same place, even after you’ve cleaned it, you might need to spray some vinegar on the area and let it sit overnight. Or, dilute some citrus essential oil in water and spray the area.
Sometimes, after vacuuming, you might try placing some cinnamon pine cones around the area to keep your cat from coming near it. Since they don’t like the cinnamon smell and pine cones’ feel, they will probably steer clear of the area. To keep your cat from accidentally ingesting them, try keeping them in the original packaging while setting it out in the areas you want your cat to avoid.
Small animals such as cats have a surprising amount of scent receptors to determine if something is friend or foe; food or enemy. Many plants are toxic to cats and could kill them if a cat ingested them, so they are fine-tuned to avoid things that will kill them.
However, there are several things they don’t like the smell of that won’t harm them. To keep your cat from exploring areas they shouldn’t, try using one of the smells from this article in those areas.
Coffee is one smell cats don’t like, but it doesn’t harm your cat. Your cat might avoid the kitchen counters if you brew coffee daily.
- Litter-Robot Blog: Surprising Smells Cats Hate
- The Scaredy Cat: What’s The Best Natural Cat Repellant?
- Easyology: These are the 3 Smells Cats Hate, and You Probably Should Too
- Long Trail Vet Center: Pet-Offensive Odors
- Cuteness: What Are the Scents Cats Hate?
- Cat Tipper: 5 Ways to Use Vinegar In Your Cat Home
- Cuteness: Vinegar As a Cat Repellant
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.