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What Smells Deter Cats From Pooping In the House? Quick and Safe Solutions

What smells deter cats from pooping in the house
Vet Approved

This information is up to date and writtenin accordance with the latest veterinary research.

Dealing with a cat pooping in the house can be challenging for many pet owners. The lingering smell, potential health hazards, and ruined furniture are enough to make anyone frustrated.

But fear not! There are some nifty tricks to keep your feline friend from turning your home into a litter box – one of the most effective being the use of scents as a deterrent.

So why do cats do this? Understanding the reasons behind their inappropriate pooping behavior is key to finding a solution that works for you and your furry companion. From home remedies to sprays and essential oils to scent deterrents, there are plenty of options to make your cat think twice before littering your home.

As a veterinarian, I’ve been asked the question of what smells deter cats from pooping indoors many times. Thankfully, I’ve accumulated some practical advice and effective solutions to share with you. So, let’s put an end to your cat’s unwanted behavior once and for all!

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the reasons behind cats pooping indoors.
  • Learn about home remedies, essential oils, and scent deterrents to help deter cats from pooping inappropriately within the house.
  • Understand the importance of safety precautions when using these deterrents to ensure the well-being of your cat.

What Are the Reasons Why Cats Poop in the House?

There are many possible causes for a cat pooping in the house; identifying and addressing these reasons before trying any smell-based solutions is essential.

Some common medical causes for a cat pooping in the house include cystitis, constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and arthritis. If you notice any signs of these medical conditions in your cat, or if your cat is unwell in any other way, then it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

On the other hand, some common behavioral reasons for your cat pooping in the house include stress, anxiety, fear, territorial marking, and litter box aversion. Various factors can trigger these behavioral causes, including changes in the environment, new pets or people, loud noises, and even other cats outside.

What Smells Deter Cats from Pooping in the House?

cat smell

Some familiar scents that may help deter cats from pooping in the house include vinegar, lavender, citrus fruit, peppermint, pine, and eucalyptus.

Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, which we can use to our advantage – cats can be deterred from pooping in certain areas by using scents like these that they find unpleasant or offensive.

You could try placing small dishes or cotton balls soaked with these scents around the areas of your house where your cat has been pooping.

However, it’s important to remember that scent-based solutions should only be used once any underlying causes of a cat pooping in the house have been addressed. You should also ensure that their litter box is always clean and accessible.

Not all cats react the same way to different smells, and some trial and error may be needed to find out what works best for your feline friend.

Home Remedies to Stop Cat Pooping in the House

Here are some simple home remedies and tips to help prevent your cats from pooping in unwanted areas:

Using household items to create deterrent smells can be very effective. Some examples include:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can be sliced and placed around problem areas.
  • Vinegar (white or apple cider), diluted with water, can be sprayed on carpets or furniture where your cat tends to poop.
  • Fresh or used coffee grounds and black or cayenne pepper can be sprinkled on the soil of indoor plants to discourage cats from pooping.
  • Lavender sachets, fresh or dried, can be placed near windows or doors.
  • Citronella oil or candles can also be effective in repelling cats from certain areas.

Remember that each of these home remedies has its pros and cons, such as availability, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, duration of effect, and potential side effects like staining. However, using a combination of these methods can be useful in discouraging cat poop in unwanted areas.

Spray to Stop Cats from Pooping on Floor

Various commercial products are available as sprays to deter cats from pooping on the floor or other surfaces in the house. These products work by emitting smells that mimic natural repellents or deterrents for cats.

Some examples of these products include:

An alternative to commercial sprays is to create your own homemade repellent using ingredients such as vinegar, citrus, coffee, eucalyptus, pine, and dish soap. Combine any of these ingredients with water in a spray bottle and apply it to the desired area.

The importance of clean litter boxes

Maintaining a hygienic litter box is essential. There’s no point in trying any of the solutions listed above if you aren’t keeping the litter box as clean as possible.

Cats are sensitive to smells, so ensure you’re using the right cat litter that suits your cat’s preference. Some cats prefer non-clumping litter, while others prefer clumping litter, so experiment with different types.

Regularly cleaning the litter box at least once daily is necessary to keep odors at a minimum. You can find more ideas on how to do this effectively at How To Attract Your Cat To A New Litter Box With Ease.

How to Use Scent-Deterrent Plants to Deter Cats from Pooping in the House

cat lavender scent deterrent

There are various plants that can be used in your house as scent deterrents to prevent your cat from pooping where they shouldn’t.

These plants that emit smells cats find unpleasant or offensive. By using these deterrents, you can create an environment within your home where cats are less likely to poop.

Some examples of scent deterrents include the coleus canina (scaredy cat plant), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and catmint (Nepeta cataria). These plants emit strong smells that most cats find repulsive.

You can strategically place plant-based deterrents in areas where cats are prone to poop. For example, you can place lavender or rosemary plants near window sills, doorways, or in particular spaces where you’ve noticed your cat going.

There are pros and cons when using scent deterrents. On the positive side, they are generally affordable, effective, and attractive, adding beauty to your home and garden while keeping your cat from pooping in unwanted areas. However, some deterrents might attract bees and other insects. They might also not be available in your region, or your cat may not be as strongly deterred as some of the other home remedies.

How Often Should I Reapply Scent Deterrents?

So, you’ve chosen a scent deterrent to keep your feline friends from using your home as their personal litter box. The next question you might have is, “How often should I reapply these deterrents?”.

As a general guideline, if you’re using a homemade deterrent, you’ll want to reapply them about once a week to maintain their effectiveness. This depends on the deterrent used and the concentration of the scent. It’s always better to apply a less-concentrated scent more often than a more-concentrated scent less often since there are potential health risks to your cat with a stronger deterrent.

If you’re going to try a pre-made scent deterrent product, you should, of course, always make sure to check the label of the product you’re using for specific instructions on how often to reapply it.

Remember, consistency is key when using scent deterrents, so keep up with the recommended reapplication schedule and make adjustments as needed based on the factors mentioned earlier. With a proper routine, you’ll soon find that your home remains a no-go zone for pooping activities.

Are There Any Safety Concerns with Using Scent Deterrents for Cats?

Scent deterrents are generally safe for cats if you use them properly and in moderation. However, just like with humans, some cats may have allergic reactions or experience irritation from certain scents. It’s important to keep an eye on your cat when introducing these deterrents to ensure their well-being.

If you notice any adverse effects in your cat after using scent deterrents, such as sneezing, itching, or other signs of discomfort, stop using the deterrent and consult your veterinarian for advice.

When using a spray deterrent, take a moment to check if your cat is nearby. Give the scent a chance to waft through the air before presenting it to your feline friend. This way, you can ensure that your cat isn’t coming into contact with a highly concentrated form of the scent that they might find overpowering.

Remember, the key is to start in moderation and monitor your cat’s reaction to ensure their well-being and comfort.

Can I Use Essential Oils to Keep Cats from Pooping in the House?

essential oil for cat

Essential oils are concentrated natural plant extracts with various uses, one of which is creating scents that can deter cats from pooping in specific areas of your home. Some popular essential oils known to repel cats include peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus.

To use essential oils safely and effectively with your cat, diluting them with water or carrier oils such as olive, coconut, or almond oils is crucial. This helps prevent skin irritation and allergic reactions in both you and your cat. If too concentrated, essential oils are toxic to cats and should be used cautiously.

Mixing a few drops of the essential oil with water or carrier oil and then spraying it in the area your cat likes to poop can help keep them away. Alternatively, you can release essential oils into the air using a diffuser. This method helps distribute the scent throughout your home and makes it less concentrated, reducing the risk of irritation.

Safety Precautions When Using Essential Oils

While essential oils are a natural way to deter cats from pooping in your house, it’s important to understand that they can be very harmful to cats if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

To prevent essential oil poisoning in your cat, keep these important tips in mind:

  • Store essential oils out of reach of your curious cat. Cats are natural climbers and explorers, so be sure they cannot access your essential oil stash.
  • Use only small amounts and low concentrations of essential oils. This will help you avoid overexposure, which could lead to toxic reactions in your cat. If in doubt, over-dilute your essential oil mixture with water.
  • Avoid direct contact between essential oils and your cat’s skin or fur. If you’re using essential oils to deter your cat from a specific area, apply them to a surface, such as a cotton ball, rather than spraying directly on the cat.
  • Ventilate the area well when using essential oils. This will ensure that your cat is not inhaling concentrated fumes, which could be harmful.
  • Monitor your cat’s behavior and health closely when using essential oils. Keep an eye out for any changes or signs of distress, and be prepared to contact your veterinarian if necessary.

Some common signs and symptoms of essential oil poisoning in cats include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, and seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, contact a veterinarian immediately, as it could be a life-threatening emergency.

If you’re apprehensive about using essential oils, then avoid them. While they can be very effective, there are pet-safe alternatives available instead, like the products I mentioned earlier.


How to stop cats from pooping in front of my door?

To stop cats from pooping in front of your door, try using objects infused with scents they dislike, such as citrus, citronella/lemongrass, lavender, or pepper. You may also consider placing barrier-type items, like prickly mats or pieces of aluminum foil, near the doorway to discourage them.

Does vinegar stop cats from pooping in the house?

Vinegar has a strong scent that cats usually find unpleasant, which may help deter them from pooping in specific areas. Try placing a small dish or cotton balls soaked with vinegar around the areas of your house where your cat has been pooping.

Does bleach stop cats pooping in the house?

Bleach is not recommended to deter cats from pooping in the house. Its strong smell often attracts cats, as it mimics the scent of cat urine. Bleach is also toxic to cats; inhaling or ingesting it can cause severe health issues.

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