Does Vinegar Keep Cats From Peeing?

When I first brought my cat home from the shelter, it was like hell on earth. As much as I love my cat, he was really bad with his toilet habits back then.

He was pooing and peeing outside of his litter box too often and it was really stinking up my home.

I tried many ways to deter him but the thing which worked best was good old common vinegar.

Vinegar can keep cats from peeing as many cats are not fond of the smell. It makes a good cat training repellent to stop them from peeing in forbidden areas. Vinegar is biodegradable and safe for cats.

In this article, we will learn how to go about using vinegar to deter cats from peeing outside of their litter boxes.

Do Cats Hate Vinegar?

Hate might be a little strong of a word but many cats definitely are not fans of vinegar. The white vinegar that is commonly found in homes is made from a mixture of acetic acid and water.

It is the acetic acid that gives the vinegar its sharp and strong characteristics.

The smell of vinegar is off-putting not only to cats but to many humans as well.

But why is it such a good cat deterrent?

This is due to the cat’s acute sense of smell which is almost 14 times more sensitive than ours. Cats have a good sense of smell to communicate, sniff out their prey and avoid predators.

Unlike humans, cats don’t communicate visually or with sound with other cats. They communicate by rubbing or leaving their own scent on objects or other cats.

Scents that we humans cannot detect are picked up easily by cats. And when you use something as strong smelling as vinegar, it would smell like a dinosaur farted in your cat’s nose.

Definitely not pleasant.

How Can Vinegar Deter Cats From Peeing Around The House?

Preparing your homemade vinegar deterrent is actually a simple process.

Here are the ingredients that you need.

  • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

I would recommend just using white vinegar since you can just buy a big bottle for cheap at the supermarket.

Apple cider is more costly but can be used as well.

Avoid using balsamic vinegar as it is made from grapes which are very toxic to cats.

Mix one part vinegar with three parts water.

If you are using vinegar as a cat repellent for the first time, I would suggest going easy on the vinegar.

Cats have very sensitive noses and there’s no telling how your cat might react to vinegar.

You can gradually increase the vinegar component when it starts to be less effective with your cat.

Whatever you do, do not spray the solution on your cat!

It can injure their skin and eyes which will require medical attention.

Spray areas on the house where your cat has been peeing. The smell of vinegar will discourage your cat from going near that area.

The smell of vinegar doesn’t last forever so you will have to refresh the scent with the spray bottle every few hours.

Using Vinegar As A Deterrent Outdoors

vinegar spray for cats

If you grant your cats access to your garden and front yard, they might be up to no good and start peeing at your flower pots or digging up your plants.

You can spray vinegar around the outdoor spaces as a cat repellent to keep your cat away from your potted plants.

Some avid gardeners advise against spraying vinegar on your plants and soil as this would make the environment too acidic for the plants and cause them to wither.

This method also helps to keep feral cats and stray cats from peeing and pooping in your garden.

The waste of these cats can contain bacteria and parasites that can harm you and your cat.

Is Vinegar Safe For Cats?

As bad as vinegar tastes and smells, it is actually safe and non-toxic for cats. There are some pet owners that actually dilute apple cider vinegar in water for their pets to drink.

This is because apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals and vitamins.

I would be surprised if a cat would even want to have a sip of that water.

Even if your cat were to lick a few drops of vinegar off the floor, it might foam or drool at the mouth to get rid of the awful taste.

One thing to take note of is that vinegar can cause irritation to your cat’s skin and eyes. If your cat has gotten vinegar solution onto its paws or body, please wash it off thoroughly with warm water.

Do Vinegar Deter Cats From Pooping?

Yes, vinegar can also deter cats from pooping at places where it shouldn’t. Just use the same method and practices as stopping your cat from peeing in restricted areas.

What Other Smells Deter Cats From Peeing?

Besides the smell of vinegar, there are a couple of other scents that cats hate and work well as a cat repellent.

  • Citrus scent
  • Mint leaves
  • Coffee
  • Black pepper

The thing about using the above scents is that many of them can be toxic to your cat. Not only can they irritate your cat’s nose and mouth but some can also even cause vomiting, diarrhea and altered behavior.

If you plan to use any of the above, keep them sealed in porous sachets to prevent your cat from coming into contact with the contents.

Do not use any types of essential oils as a deterrent for your cat. Essential oils are toxic to cats because cats lack a particular enzyme that can break down the essential oil in their system.

This can cause health issues to them over the long term as the toxicity levels build up in their bodies.

Will Bleach Keep Cats Away?

Cats are not fond of the smell of bleach and will keep a wide berth when they smell it. Even though bleach might smell and work the same way as vinegar, you should not be using it as a cat repellent.

Bleach contains many chemical compounds that are toxic to cats like alcohol, chlorine and hydrogen peroxide.

Many of these compounds can burn or badly irritate your cat’s nose and mouth when inhaled or ingested.

If you have a pool at home, make sure to not let your cat drink pool water as it contains chlorine.

Chlorine poisoning in cats can cause seizures, difficulty in breathing and even unconsciousness.

Keep all bleach and chlorine products away from your cat.

If your cat has come into contact with or consumed any such solutions, please bring your cat to the vet immediately for treatment.

Why Is Your Cat Peeing Outside Its Litter Box?

It isn’t normal for domestic cats to be peeing or pooing outside of their litter box unless. Cats are creatures of habit and can resort to weird behavior if something doesn’t feel right.

Here are some common reasons that can make your cat urinate outside of the litter box.

  • Change in type of litter box
  • Change in type of cat litter
  • Change in environment
  • More cats than litter boxes
  • Newly adopted or fostered cat
  • Medical conditions

If you have recently changed your cat’s litter or litter box to something that it isn’t used to, your cat is peeing elsewhere because it doesn’t like the change.

You will need to make the change slowly to give your cat time to adapt.

For cat owners with more than one cat, most cats aren’t fond of sharing litter boxes. A cat’s waste contains its own signature scent which can discourage other cats from using the same litter box.

If nothing has changed but your cat has been peeing indoors, it could be due to an underlying medical condition.

  • Observe your cat when it tries to pee
  • Is it meowing loudly and straining to pee?
  • Is it going in and out of the litter box many times but without peeing?
  • Is there blood in your cat’s pee?

Such symptoms could mean that your cat might be suffering from a urinary tract infection. It needs immediate medical attention as peeing is painful and difficult for your cat.

Most cats will be ok after a course of antibiotics.

How To Get Rid Of Cat Pee Smell?

The smell of cat pee is strong enough to make your eyes water. The longer that it is left in the open, the stinkier it gets.

This is due to the chemical compound called feminine in cat urine. The more it breaks down, the worse it smells.

To try and get rid of cat urine smell effectively, vinegar is a good cleaning agent. It helps to break down the scent particles and remove the smell.

You can also get pet cleaners that are specific to cleaning cats’ pee and poo. There are enzymes in the cleaner that can also break down the smell.


Having to deal with your cat peeing everywhere in the house can be very tiring. It is worse when your cat pees on materials that absorb cat pee like sofas and carpets.

Using something safe like vinegar is a good way to repel cats from peeing outside of their litter box.

If you suspect that it is due to a health issue that is causing this problem, please get your cat checked by a vet.