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Does Vinegar Stop Cats From Pooping? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a jar of vinegar

Does Vinegar Stop Cats From Pooping? Facts & FAQ

You shouldn’t feed your cat vinegar directly, but if they’re pooping or peeing somewhere they shouldn’t, it can be a great option to get them back to the litter box. But how can you use vinegar, and how can you get them back in the litter box?

We’ll answer those questions below so you can get your cat back on track and back to the litter box in no time!

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Do Cats Like the Smell of Vinegar?

Cats do not like the smell of vinegar, and most will actively avoid vinegar if they can. You can use vinegar as a deterrent to keep your cat from peeing or pooping in a location they shouldn’t. If your cat feels uncomfortable in the location, they won’t return to it for any reason, even to relieve themselves!

However, remember that if you don’t address the underlying issue, your cat still won’t go to the litter box; they’ll just find somewhere else to go instead.

Apple cider vinegar discourage dogs and cats from chewing on furniture
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

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Top 3 Tips for Using Vinegar

If you’re using vinegar to keep your cat from using the bathroom somewhere they shouldn’t, there are a few tips you should follow to make it as successful as possible. We’ve highlighted three of the most important tips for you to follow:

1. Distill the Vinegar

While there isn’t anything wrong with using pure vinegar, it’s stronger and more likely to stain surfaces than if you distill it first. It’s a small step, but it ensures everything in your home stays in great shape.

vinegar and bowl
Image Credit: NatureFriend, Pixabay

2. Reapply

Vinegar works as an excellent deterrent for cats, but the smell will dissipate over time. When that happens, your cat might revisit the area and use it again. Reapply the diluted vinegar every few days for a couple of weeks until your cat no longer thinks about using the area.


3. Don’t Spray Your Cat!

It might seem obvious, but you should never spray your cat directly with vinegar. It’s unsafe for your cat, so don’t even spray it close to them so you don’t have to worry about accidentally hurting them.

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The 6 Reasons Why Your Cat Might Not Be Using the Litter Box

While you can use vinegar to deter your cat from using the bathroom in an area they shouldn’t, if you don’t address the underlying reason your cat isn’t using the litter box, you’re not fixing anything, and they’ll likely pick a new place to go where they shouldn’t.

1. Dirty Litter box

Cats don’t like using a dirty litter box, and if you’re not cleaning it enough, they’ll find somewhere cleaner to relieve themselves. Clean out the litter box daily to keep it clean enough for your cat to return to use it.

Siamese cat beside litter box
Image Credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

2. Not Enough Litter Boxes

You need a litter box on each floor of your home, and you need at least one litter box per cat plus one. If you have three cats, you need at least four litter boxes; if you only have one cat, you still need two.


3. New Litter Type

Did you recently change the type of litter inside the box? If so, your cat might not like the new litter. If you change it back to what they used before, your issues might disappear. Whenever you change litter or food, you must transition very slowly.


4. Can’t Find the Box

If you recently changed the litter box’s location, you might need to show your cat where you moved it to. You can’t blame your cat for not using the litter box if they don’t know where it’s at!


5. Stressful Location

If there’s a lot of activity around the litter box, your cat might not feel comfortable using it. You need to find a quiet location where your cat can peacefully relieve themselves; otherwise, they might find a peaceful location even if there isn’t a litter box.

Cat near litter box_New Africa_Shutterstock
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

6. Medical Problems

If your cat going to the bathroom outside of the litter box is a new habit, and you haven’t changed anything else, there might be an underlying medical problem you need to address. If you can’t figure out anything that’s changed, take your cat to a vet to rule out a medical problem.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to use vinegar to keep your cat from using the bathroom somewhere they shouldn’t, all that’s left is for you to start using it! You’ll dilute the vinegar, start in an inconspicuous area, and reapply as necessary to get your cat back into the litter box!


Featured Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

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