Is Vinegar a Good Cat Repellent? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Is Vinegar a Good Cat Repellent

Looking for ways to stop cats peeing or pooping around your home? Need to repel them from your flower beds and other areas?

You’ve probably heard it said that cats hate the smell of vinegar, amongst other scents.

So, is vinegar a good cat repellent? Will it solve all your cat-related issues?

It just might. It’s worked for me in the past.

This is why I wanted to share what I did and how you can also try to use vinegar as a cat repellent.

Do Cats Really Hate the Smell of Vinegar?

Do Cats Really Hate the Smell of Vinegar

First of all, I want to make something clear that I don’t see other people talking about.

I’ve used just about all the well-known scents that cats hate over the years; pepper, citrus, lavender, mouthwash, vinegar, and more.

Some cats are too stubborn, determined, or just aren’t affected in the same way by scents and will ignore them.

It’s not fair to make you think you’re going to have a 100% success rate.

That said, there is a very good chance that you’ll be able to deter most cats using strong scents. I’ve done it a few times, and I also know other people who have had success doing the same.

So, it’s absolutely worth trying.

Vinegar is one of the best natural solutions to try too. It’s definitely one of the scents that offend cats.

According to Wikipedia, a cat’s sense of smell is somewhere between 9-16 times as strong as ours.

Just put your nose up to a bottle of vinegar, it’s powerful stuff! Imagine your nose was 10x as strong, that’s going to make you think twice about smelling it, isn’t it?!

So, it’s no mystery why cats don’t like the smell of vinegar and why it’s an effective repellent.

Related How to use mouthwash to stop cats peeing on furniture.

How to Use Vinegar to Repel and Deter Cats

Vinegar is a powerful acidic liquid. You have to be careful when using it as it can damage plants, materials, and other items.

Two of the best types of vinegar to use are white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

You can either use them full-strength or diluted. I’d try a diluted solution first as it’s less likely to damage surfaces, and you can gauge how effective it is and adjust as necessary.

Spraying Vinegar Outdoors

You can be more liberal with the use of vinegar outdoors as you’re not going to have to smell it yourself.

Plus, it’s not going to last as long outdoors against wind and rain etc.

I’ve used it to stop cats digging around, urinating, and pooping in one of my flower beds. I’d tried orange peels first, but this didn’t stop the neighbor’s Tom.

So I sprayed some vinegar around the wall surrounding my flower bed. I actually saw the Tom sniffing the area intensely later that day. He didn’t turn and run, but he sat there without jumping up for several minutes.

If you’re going to spray the solution on your plants, double-check it’s not going to harm them first.

Some plants will not be affected by vinegar. But others will turn brown and spoil, and that’s the last thing you want when trying to protect them!

Related How to use orange peels to stop cats peeing on your plants.

Spraying Vinegar Indoors

The same applies when spraying vinegar indoors, you should check if it’s going to damage the surfaces you want to spray it on before using it.

You’re also going to have to put up with the smell of vinegar yourself. Which isn’t the worst smell there is, and it’s worth it to correct your cat’s behavior.

But it’s something to be aware of. Visitors are certainly going to ask why they can smell vinegar.

You’ll need to keep spraying the area for the first few days. It’s important that you change your cat’s behavior before reducing the usage.

In my experience, once a cat has associated an area with a smell they really don’t like, it’s unlikely they’ll return in the future and repeat the behavior that you wanted to correct.

Will the Smell of Vinegar Keep Cats Away From Where It’s Sprayed?

Will the Smell of Vinegar Keep Cats Away From Where It's Sprayed

Yes, vinegar is one of the smells that is very effective at keeping cats away from where it’s being sprayed.

Their sensitive noses do not like the strong acidic smell of vinegar. Some cats will be able to tolerate it, but few will stay in an area where vinegar is present.

Does Vinegar Deter Cats From Peeing?

Yes, this is one of the most common uses. Whether you own a cat and want to stop them peeing indoors or on your plants, or you’re being bothered by feral cats peeing around your yard – it’s one of the best natural and easy to use solutions.

I’ve used vinegar myself to stop neighbors’ cats from peeing on and around my plants. It took a couple of weeks, but once they stopped turning up, they never returned to the same area.

What Other Scents Work as a Cat Repellent?

As I mentioned above, there are two downsides to using vinegar as a cat repellent:

  • It’s a strong acidic liquid that can damage plants and surfaces
  • You might hate the smell as much as the local cats do

If either of these is an issue for you, you could try some of the other scents that cats hate instead. Some of which smell great to us.

Try any of the following:

  • Lavender
  • Pepper
  • Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, etc)
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus (my personal favorite)
What Other Scents Work as a Cat Repellent

Essential oils work perfectly for all of these scents.

These oils are the pure concentrated form extracted from the plants and fruits and provide a strong scent either used pure or in diluted form.

In Summary

Vinegar is a good cat repellent, yes. It’s one of the many scents that cats hate and can be used to deter and train cats not to go in certain areas.

It’s worked well for me a couple of times. So, I always recommend it to friends when they say they’re having problems with cats peeing in places they shouldn’t.

The only drawback is that it’s so powerful and you might not like the smell. If this is the case, I’ve given you some better-smelling alternatives above.

Have you used vinegar to put a stop to undesirable kitty behaviors? How did you get on?

Feel free to leave a comment below. I always enjoy hearing about any experiences from the community. Thanks.


Image credits – Header photo by Uriel Soberanes, cat in bush photo by unscriptedMe, and essential oils photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


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