Regardless of how well-trained your cat might be, there will be times when it decides to use your furniture, carpet or laundry basket as its litter box.
Many cat owners use essential oils to deter cats from peeing around the house. However many essential oils are known to be toxic to cats.
In this article, we will be discussing the dangers of essential oils and what you should be using instead.
Why Does Cat Pee Smell Bad?
We know for a fact that cat urine consists mostly of water. It also has ammonia, urea and uric acid which are the usual components when protein is broken down.
Another interesting fact about cat urine is that it is more concentrated than human or dog urine.
But what gives cat urine its distinct strong smell?
Cat’s urine consists of an amino acid called Felinine. Felinine by itself doesn’t stink when the cat urinates.
But once it starts to break down after some time, it will release a very unpleasant odor. And the more it breaks down, the worse the stench gets.
One thing to note is that this compound is found in abundance in male cats that are not neutered. The strong smells help them to mark their territory and ward off other cats.
What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing In The House?
The good thing for cat owners is that there are a number of household items that can be used as natural cat repellents.
Cats have an amazing sense of smell and can pick up scents that we humans are oblivious to.
This is because cats have up to 200 million odor sensors in their noses making their sense of smell 14x better than ours.
You might have come across some articles online recommending the usage of essential oils as a natural cat repellent.
But please do not do that as essential oils are very toxic to pets, especially cats.
Dangers Of Essential Oils And Cats
Cats do not have certain enzymes like humans to break down certain compounds found in essential oils, especially phenol.
Phenol is primarily derived from plants and has a very high concentration level in essential oils.
Many studies have proven that essential oil when inhaled or applied to cats can cause very serious liver damage and lead to death.
Without the necessary enzymes, cats can’t break down and eliminate the toxin buildup in their bodies.
So even if your cat doesn’t show any adverse symptoms at first, it can suffer from gradual toxin accumulation over time.
Cats that have an existing medical condition like asthma, respiratory issues o allergies, can have stronger adverse reactions to essential oils.
Symptoms Of Essential Oils Poisoning
There are certain common symptoms that your cat will show if it experiences toxic poisoning from essential oils.
- Lack of appetite
- Watery eyes and nose
- Irritated skin
These symptoms are also rather common with many other medical issues.
But if you have been using aromatherapy recently or for a while, it is most probably due to exposure to essential oils.
Essential Oils That Are Very Deadly For Cats
Please do take note that if you have the following types of essential oils at home, they are known to be very toxic to cats.
- Peppermint oil
- Pine oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Lemon oil
- Orange oil
This list isn’t exhaustive but any essential oils that are made from citrus fruits or have mint in them are more toxic to cats.
Proper Use Of Essential Oils With Cats
Does this mean that you can no longer use your favorite essential oil if you have a cat?
But you need to be careful when using it.
Here are some necessary precautions that you need to take:
- Don’t diffuse aromatherapy in a locked room with your cat
- Ventilate the room after diffusing it with essential oil
- Keep your essential oils away from your cat
- Make sure to wash your hands after handling the essential oils.
Keep to these safe practices and your dear feline friends will be fine.
Can I use Incense To Deter Cats?
You might be thinking that using incense is a better alternative as a deterrent.
The difference between incense and essential oil is that incense requires a heat source to work.
Studies have shown that the smoke created when burning incense can cause cancer and other respiratory problems.
The problem here is that a cat’s sense of smell and respiratory system is a lot more sensitive than ours.
It is best to keep your cat away from incense just to be safe.
What Scents Are Safe To Deter Cats From Peeing
Now that we are aware of the dangers of essential oils when it comes to cats? What else can we use at home to deter cats from peeing outside of their litter boxes?
Vinegar has a smell that isn’t pleasant to cats and for many humans that I know of. And the good thing is that vinegar isn’t toxic to cats even if inhaled.
There are many types of vinegar available on the market but you can just use normal white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Most households would already have them in the kitchen for cooking and making salads.
The best way to use vinegar to stop cats from peeing is in a spray form.
Add one part vinegar and three parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas that you don’t want your cat to pee on.
Given the strong smell of vinegar, most cats aren’t even keen on going close to those areas once they catch a whiff of that sharp odor.
It is a good way to solve your cat’s peeing problem.
Rosemary is a common herb found in the kitchen and used regularly as a marinade or seasoning.
And it also works as a great way to repel cats from peeing out their litter boxes.
Although rosemary isn’t toxic to cats, you don’t really want your curious cat trying to make a snack out of it.
You should put some rosemary in an enclosed porous sachet.
One that has enough holes to let the smell through and is tough enough to withstand your cat’s curiosity.
Black Pepper And Citrus Peels
Cats hate anything that smells spicy or citrus smells.
The downside is such things are also toxic to cats.
Even though they work great as natural cat repellents, you need to be very careful when using them.
You definitely do not want your cat ingesting them so like the Rosemary, make sure to enclose them in a porous bag that your cat can’t get it.
You don’t have to use a lot to repel cats as they have such a sensitive sense of smell.
A little goes a long way.
Why Is Your Cat Peeing Out Of The Litter Box?
Besides using methods to stop your cat from peeing outside of its litter box, it will be also very helpful to understand why is your cat doing so.
Here are some reasons why your cat is having a peeing problem.
Not A Fan Of Its Litter Box
Have you recently changed your cat’s litter box?
If you did, it is your cat’s way of showing you that it doesn’t like its new litter box.
Cats hate change and are creatures of habit. If something is out of the norm, it can affect their behavior.
There are many types of litter boxes available in the market and if your cat has been using the same type for years, it won’t take well trying to adapt to something different.
For example, if your cat has always been using an open lid litter box and you changed it to a closed version, it might feel spooked up peeing or pooing in an enclosed box.
Ask yourself why you are changing your cat’s litter box in the first place?
Is it for your own convenience or your cat’s?
Not A Fan Of The Litter
Another important component of your cat’s litter box is the type of cat litter that you use.
There are many types of cat litter in the market ranging from pine wood to silica gel, clumping or non-clumping and scented or non-scented.
Some cats are very particular about the texture of the litter and may not like it when it feels hard on its paws like pellets.
Many cats dislike cat litter that is scented as it irritates their sensitive noses.
You might have to experiment with different types of cat litter before your cat can agree with one.
The Litter Box Is Too Dirty
How often are you cleaning out your cat’s litter box?
If you are only doing it once a week, it is no wonder your cat refuses to use its own litter box to pee.
You wouldn’t use your own toilet if you could only flush it once a week.
Cats are particular about cleanliness and prefer a clean litter box all the time.
Make sure to scoop out your cat’s waste at least once a day to prevent it from getting too dirty.
Not Enough Litter Boxes
Cats are territorial pets and do not enjoy sharing their personal belongings with other cats.
If you have more than one cat at home, make sure that you provide a separate litter box for each of them.
Cats do not enjoy sharing litter boxes as other cats tend to leave their own scent when they pee in them.
This can discourage some cats from using that one litter box as they feel it is already ‘taken’ causing them to pee elsewhere in the house.
Give each cat its own litter tray and you’ll solve the peeing problem.
Underlying Medical Condition
A urinary tract infection can cause your cat to pee anywhere except in its litter box.
A cat with a urinary tract infection finds peeing painful and will associate its litter box with pain.
Once that happens, your cat will somewhere more comforting to pee on like your closet or carpet.
If you notice your cat meowing loudly when using its litter box or going in and out continuously without peeing much, take your cat to the vet for a check-up.