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What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing? 6 Vet-Approved Scents

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat on carpet with urine stain

What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing? 6 Vet-Approved Scents


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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While cat owners certainly love their feline friends, having a cat that pees outside of the litter box can swiftly create a stinky situation. Cat urine contains strongly scented proteins that help them efficiently mark their territory. But when they’re claiming their space in your house, cat pee can quickly destroy furniture, carpeting, and other beloved possessions.

While it’s critical to get to the bottom of the bad behavior, you can use certain scents to deter your cat from peeing on your items. Keep reading to learn what smells cats hate to pee on and how to use them.

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The 6 Smells That Deter Cats From Peeing

1. Lavender

lavender field
Image Credit: Pixabay

A bushy, strong-smelling perennial plant, lavender can dissuade your cat’s peeing problem. While commonly used in aromatherapy to boost calmness and reduce anxiety and stress, lavender can also work wonders when it comes to cats who refuse to use the litter box.

2. Peppermint Plants

peppermint plant in a wooden bowl
Image credit:, Shutterstock

Peppermint is a popular scent to use around the holidays. Its refreshing and cool smell can immediately perk up even the groggiest of people. Cats hate the strong smell of peppermint and will try and avoid it at all costs. By placing some potted peppermint in locations your cat likes to frequent, you can add a pleasant aroma while encouraging your cat to use a different location.

WARNING: Peppermint essential oil is highly toxic to cats, so never use the essential oil or products containing peppermint as an ingredient. The plant can cause gastrointestinal upset if eaten in large quantities, but cats usually avoid it rather than eat it.

3. Eucalyptus

eucalyptus branches
Image Credit: AtlasStudio, Shutterstock

Sharp and minty, inhaling eucalyptus can open up your sinuses and clear out your head. This scent smells sweet and similar to that of honey. The strong odor of eucalyptus makes a great addition to homemade sprays to stop cats from peeing where you don’t want them to.

4. Coffee

cuo of black coffee placed under a bed of coffee beans
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Keeping a small satchel of coffee beans or grounds near your furniture may deter your cat from peeing. Due to your cat’s sensitive nose, they are immediately turned off by the harsh smell of coffee.

5. Vinegar

white vinegar on wooden table
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

While it can be used to remove the smell of cat urine, vinegar will also prevent problem-peeing. Vinegar has a super strong scent, so be sure to use it sparingly on your items.

6. Citrus

Image Credit: Andre Taissin, Unsplash

Citrus scents such as lemon, oranges, and limes are hated by felines the world over. These natural cat repellents will keep your cat from peeing on your furniture for good.

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How to Use These Scents

The best way to use these six different scents to deter cat peeing is to make a DIY solution. For this to work it is recommended to first clean all remaining cat urine smells thoroughly with either an enzymatic cleaner or vinegar. Cats tend to repeat their peeing spots, so this step will help to avoid that scenario. Then, simply collect dried orange, lime, lemon, or any other citrus fruit peels.

Put them inside a sock or small linen pouch that allows the smell to ventilate, and leave them around the area that you want your cat to avoid. Another option is to make a homemade spray to stop cats from peeing in inappropriate places.

Why Is My Cat Peeing on My Things?

Cats will urinate outside of their litter boxes for a number of reasons. These can include behavioral problems, medical issues, and a problem with the litter itself. If you think your cat is suffering from a medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, or feline interstitial cystitis, make a vet appointment right away.

Cats may spray or pee outside of their litter box if you’ve recently moved, gotten a new cat, or when they are stressed. Getting to the root of the behavioral problem will help you to effectively address the issue.

Additionally, inspect the litter box to ensure it’s usable. If the litter box is too dirty or tough to access, your pet might stop using it.

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How to Effectively Clean Up Cat Messes, Odors & Stains 

The first part of cat mess prevention is ensuring you are taking the time to properly clean any accidents -  and that starts with investing in the right products! Of course, you'll want to opt for something safe first and foremost, to protect your feline's health, but secondly, you'll need a solution powerful enough to lift the toughest, stinkiest, most set-in stains. After careful consideration, we fell in love with one product and highly recommend it to all pet owners! 

Our Favorite Enzyme Cleaner 

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
  • ADVANCED ENZYMATIC CLEANER - Penetrates the most stubborn smells and stains at the deepest molecular...
  • FOR ANY MESS, ON ANY SURFACE - This pet odor eliminator cleans your carpets, floors, furniture,...
  • FRESH, NATURAL ODOR - Our unique formulation doesn't rely on dangerous or unpleasant chemical...

There are several reasons we can't get enough of the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray.  It permanently removes the very worst smells and stains, it can be used on a multitude of surfaces and its neutral scented, meaning no odor masking! It comes in a generous 32-oz bottle and comes with 100% satisfaction guarantee. Learn more about this holy grail of a cleaner here!

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!

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While these six smells can deter cats from peeing, it’s critical to get to the root of the bad behavior. Schedule a wellness appointment with your vet to determine if the peeing is caused by an underlying medical condition. If your cat is stressed, use calming pheromones to soothe his anxiety.

Ensure the litter box is clean and easily accessible to your cat.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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