Skip to Content

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing? 13 Fragrances To Try Out

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing? 13 Fragrances To Try Out

Today we’re talking about what smells deter cats from peeing. I’m not going to specify where at this part because I’ll share some details with you later. If you’re training your cat to pee in a litter box, or your neighbor’s feline is constantly ruining your plants, we’ll find a solution. Or two!

So, as you already know, cats have a strong sense of smell and their little noses can detect a lot of fragrances. Their nose is approximately 14 times better than ours because they have over 200 million odor sensors, compared to 5 million for us.

This being said, it’s easy to conclude that their olfaction is extremely important. Our little furbabies will go around sniffing just to find out the latest neighborhood gossip or to discover where that delightful smell is coming from.

There’s no doubt that these furbabies will determine what they like or dislike based on the smell. Therefore, they’ll eagerly wait for certain meals that you’re serving them and will completely ignore some others. Are you wondering what smells deter cats from peeing?

Is it even possible to finally have a beautiful garden AND a feline? I’ll tell you that it is and I’m also sure that you already have some of the essentials in your home. Are you ready to find out how can you stop your cat from urinating where she shouldn’t? Let’s go!

What smells deter cats from peeing?

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing: 13 Fragrances To Try Out

As I previously told you, you already have some things that can help you with this problem. You don’t believe me? Tell me, do you like cinnamon rolls or curry? Are you using essential oils to make your room smell better? Do you like coffee?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions, you’re already halfway there. It’s true that certain smells deter cats from peeing, hell, from even staying at that specific place. In the next part, we’ll analyze all those in detail. Ready?

1. Cayenne peppers

When your feline is really stubborn about not peeing in her litter box and choosing to “water” your plants, you have to do something about it. If you want to deter your cat from peeing in your garden, you can use cayenne peppers in your favor.

They contain a chemical called capsaicin, and cats utterly hate the smell of it! Even though there are a lot of speculations about whether consuming cayenne peppers can be lethal for cats, don’t worry. Ingesting large quantities can make them sick, but that’s about it.

Their paws, mouth, and tongue may be irritated and they may get diarrhea and start vomiting. Eating spicy food may put her through hell, but it’s definitely not taking her anywhere close to kitty heaven. Using cayenne peppers is beneficial for your plants, so you can easily try this method.

You can create a little barrier for your feline by strategically planting the peppers at the entrance to your garden or simply burning one of them in the corner. Make sure, however, that there are no children or pets close when you light the pepper on fire, because the smoke may cause eye irritation.

The other two methods are pretty similar to what we’ll talk about the most. Use the cayenne pepper powder, mix it with water and spray it around. You can also cut the fresh ones and sprinkle them in the garden. This will cause mild irritation to your cat’s paws and it will deter her from peeing there for sure.

2. Cinnamon

Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly made apple pie on cold autumn nights? Apparently, your cat. This strong, pungent fragrance is something your feline absolutely hates. So, if you want to stop your furbaby peeing or pooing where she shouldn’t, cinnamon can help you there.

Don’t use it as a powder or stick, though, because things can get messy. If your cat ingests it, she may have irritation in her mouth and tongue. Also, in large doses, it could cause problems with clotting since it contains a compound coumarin that is used as a blood thinner.

So, if you opt for using cinnamon as a deterrent, mix it with water and spray it all over the place which you want your feline to avoid. You can use cinnamon tea bags as well and leave them randomly in your garden.

If you’re afraid that your cat may tear them apart, try putting them in plastic bottles and making holes in them. This may not be the best option for the environment, but the smell that comes out through those openings will definitely deter your cat from peeing in your garden.

3. Citrus

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing: 13 Fragrances To Try Out

No matter how refreshing the citrus scent is to you, your feline despises it. For that particular reason, you can use it to deter your cat from peeing in your garden or inside your home. You don’t have to be worried that she may lick it or eat it; she won’t.

Lemons, and citruses in general, are harmful to cats. However, their strong survival instinct won’t let them risk their health, so you don’t have to be worried that you’ll hurt your feline. In case you’re concerned, feel free to secure this deterrent before letting your cat wander.

The easiest way that you can use citruses is to toss their peels all over the place randomly. Cover them with soil and have a win-win situation. The scent will deter your cat from peeing there and it will also decompose with time and be a natural fertilizer for your plants.

You can also make mix lemon or orange juice with water and spray it around the places your feline constantly keeps returning to. Another option is to simply soak tea bags in citrus fragrance and do the same thing as with cinnamon.

However, you have to be aware that acid from citrus juice may bleach some surfaces, so test it on a little, hidden part beforehand.

4. Chili powder

Even though chili powder will irritate your cat’s paws and tongue if ingested, solely the smell of it will deter her from peeing in your garden, not giving her the opportunity to come any closer. If you’re struggling with that mischievous feline of yours, you can sprinkle the powder on the soil.

Try to use the one with a very strong smell, otherwise, you’ll need to put greater amounts of chili all over the place and this gets tricky if you have a big garden. Another simple method of using this magic powder as a deterrent is diffusing it in water or vinegar.

Once you do this, you can spray it around and keep your feline away. Also, you can soak tea bags in the same liquid and protect them inside plastic bottles. Make some holes in those bottles later on, and place them in your garden.

The smell will distribute all around, but you’ll have to repeat the process once you notice that it doesn’t have an effect anymore. You can also sprinkle chili flakes in your garden if you have them.

5. Coffee

If you’re a die-hard fan of coffee like I am, then you, beyond any doubt, have it in your home. Whether we’re talking about coffee grounds or instant coffee, cats can’t handle the smell of it. I’m not going to say “hate” because my love for it isn’t letting me put that word close to coffee.

You can sprinkle coffee around your garden and cover it with soil. This will ensure that your nosy feline or your neighbor’s little devil won’t eat it. The reason why I’m saying this is because coffee can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested in larger doses (even fatal in extreme cases).

Another, a bit safer way is to soak tea bags in very strong coffee and place them in your garden. The smell will definitely deter your cat from peeing there and she won’t be able to get close enough to lick it. Even though you enjoy that smell early in the morning, your feline will run away from it.

Chances are close to zero that your furbaby will voluntarily eat some grounds, but if you don’t want to use coffee as a deterrent, there are plenty of choices left. If you’re suspecting that your cat ingested a certain amount of caffeine, make sure to contact your vet right away and monitor her behavior.

6. Curry

Okay, don’t start panicking about how most of these things are toxic for cats simply because curry contains garlic and onion in traces. Your feline is a very intelligent being, and even though I understand your concerns, she knows what’s best for her.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, her survival instinct will keep her away from things that may be harmful to her. So, all of these fragrances will deter her from peeing and pooping and certain places where you don’t want that to happen.

One of the ways you can use curry is to scatter the powder all over your garden or particular spots where she likes spending her time, like under the trees. You can also make some sachets and leave them in those places that are special for her.

Another thing that you can do is actually mix curry powder with water, add other herbs from this list and spray it around. That way you’ll create your own home cat repellent spray that you can use all the time.

7. Essential oils

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing: 13 Fragrances To Try Out

Of course, essential oils have strong scents, but only some of them will deter cats from peeing in forbidden places. So, in order for this one to work, you need to choose carefully. What doesn’t prevent them to spend time in a particular place, will surely attract them.

The two options, when it comes to essential oils, are tea tree oil and Olbas oil. Even though tea tree oil may be dangerous for cats when ingested, a well-diluted one won’t harm them. So the safest option to use this is to turn it into a spray, mixed with water.

You can also soak cotton balls in the oil and place them around the plants (again, use the watered-down oil). Making an air freshener is one of the solutions as well!

Also, you don’t need to dilute tea tree oil for this use. Just put soaked cotton balls in a plastic bottle, cut holes in some places, and leave it in your garden.

Olbas oil is made from eucalyptus and may harm your feline if ingested. But, if you follow the same rules as for the tea tree oil, chances are minimal for that to happen; non-existent even.

8. Eucalyptus

Similar to the essential oils mentioned above, eucalyptus can be used that way too! It has a very strong scent that will unquestionably deter your cat from peeing in the places where you spray it. Mix it with water and you have your own, homemade repellent.

Another thing that you can do with eucalyptus is to plant it in your garden. You can make a little fence, and keep your feline out of the area with vegetables or flowers. The sharp, minty, and sweet smell will open up your sinuses, and will undeniably keep your kitty away.

9. Lavender

Maybe lavender is your favorite fragrance and all those skin care products you own are lavender-scented. That’s clearly going to help you relax after an exhausting day, but it will put an end to unlimited cuddles from your feline.

Don’t be surprised if your cat starts avoiding you after that long bubble bath. She simply can’t stand that strong lavender scent. Congrats, you just found it! A pleasant smell that will deter cats from peeing, pooping, or spending time at places they shouldn’t.

Lavender oil will definitely repel cats from your garden, so you can use it to your advantage. However, you have to pay attention so it does not get on her fur! She’ll lick it until it’s clean and that’s when problems may occur.

In general, lavender oil is not toxic for cats, but since it’s concentrated, consuming greater amounts may make your feline suffer some severe illnesses. She may have stomach problems and damage to her liver and nervous system.

Dilute the oil in some water and then spray it in those places that are supposed to be forbidden for your feline. You can also simply soak some cotton balls in the liquid that you’ve made.

Another, safer version would be to plant some lavender in your garden, so if you truly adore it, opt for this method to deter cats from peeing in your garden. It will also help you to get rid of moths, flies, fleas, and mosquitoes, so I guess you won the game, right?

10. Pepper

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing: 13 Fragrances To Try Out

I can bet that there’s at least some pepper in your home at this exact moment while you’re reading this article. Whether it’s black or white, one of the most common spices that we use while preparing our meals will definitely keep your furbaby away from your flowers.

Pepper has a really pungent smell that deters cats from peeing in places that are not her litter box. So, if you’re trying to train her or you simply want to keep her out of your garden, make a pepper line and don’t let her cross it.

Do you know how it burns inside of your mouth if you put too much pepper in your meal? The same will happen to your feline as well. Her paws will be irritated too in case she steps on it, but looking on the positive side, she surely won’t repeat it again.

Besides drawing lines with pepper powder, you can also mix it with water and spray it around. This is a bit safer option since the odor will keep her away, not letting her harm herself.

11. Peppermint

If it’s on the list, then the answer is clear. Yes, peppermint will deter cats from peeing in your garden. If you’re arguing with your neighbor because his feline can’t stop digging holes in your garden, try using this essential oil.

By now, you already know how this functions. Diffuse it in water, put it in a spray container, and drizzle it around. You can use it as an air freshener in case you don’t want your furbaby to enter your bedroom, for example. Also, soak cotton balls in it and place those in your garden or around the house.

However, the peppermint plant is toxic to these felines, so don’t use its smell to deter cats from peeing in your garden. They confuse its leaves with catnip and they go to town on it. If your furbaby eats a leaf or two, she may not have problems. Otherwise, issues with her digestion system are bound to happen.

12. Rosemary

What do you think about smelling rosemary instead of cat feces when you enter your garden? That sounds like a good deal, right? And on the plus side, this herb actually repels cats. Rosemary is pretty easy to take care of. It needs little water and a lot of sun, but a bit of shade won’t bother it either.

Not only will the smell of rosemary deter cats from peeing in your garden, but the shape and texture of its leaves don’t attract them either. They can’t brush upon rosemary, even if they could approach the plant itself, and that bothers them to some extent.

Rosemary is one of those non-toxic herbs for your feline, so you can plant it without any fear. So, besides planting it in your garden, you can cut it into smaller pieces, and leave them all around. Another option is to, of course, make a spray so you could drizzle it around.

Boil a couple of rosemary twigs in the water, add some pepper or essential oils and you’re good to go. This won’t make any mess and it will unequivocally help with your problem.

Rosemary has an amazing ability to keep cats away from your garden. In my opinion, it’s even better that you can use it while preparing some of your favorite meals.

13. Vinegar

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing: 13 Fragrances To Try Out

Do you like the smell of vinegar? Be honest. How many times did you actually make a weird face when opening that bottle to prepare a salad? You’re well aware of how strong that scent is. Now, can you imagine if you’d feel it 14 times stronger?

Did you shiver just at the thought of it? For your feline, that’s the reality. You already know how powerful their cute noses are. Because of that, now you know why vinegar is a good repellent for them as well. This is downright one of the best non-harmful things that you can use.

You can mix it with water and spray it around, or soak some cotton balls and be mindful of where you leave them. The strong smell of vinegar can affect members of your family and it’s not pleasant to constantly smell it.

Pay attention that you’re not using those that have darker colors, since they may leave stains on your furniture. Also, vinegar can lighten some fabrics, so if you’re using it inside your home to train your kitty, be careful about where you spray it.


Honestly speaking, there’s no one particular fragrance that will be effective for every single cat. The smell of essential oils may deter my cat from peeing outside of her litter box. However, it may have little to no efficiency at all when it comes to your feline.

Therefore, the question of what smells deter cats from peeing in your garden, your home, or anywhere but their litter box doesn’t have one particular answer. Rather, it has many.

It’s up to you to test what works best for your furbaby and be patient. Not a single change happened overnight, so this one won’t, either. In the meantime, make sure you’re enjoying the time with your little one.

Read more: Help! How To Stop Cats From Pooping In Plant Pots?

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing? 13 Fragrances To Try Out