Does Vinegar Deter Cats?

Does Vinegar Deter Cats

Vinegar is one of the strongest smelling substances in the kitchen and it is enough to make most people wrinkle their nose up at the acidic aroma. So can this strong smell help you repel cats? Does vinegar deter cats with any success?

Yes, vinegar does deter cats thanks to its strong smell and the fact that cats have such powder scent receptors in their nose

As you can probably imagine, if vinegar smells that strongly to people then just imagine how much stronger and more disgusting it must smell to a cat who has over 45 million scent receptors in their sensitive noses!

When compared to the 5 million olfactory receptors that humans have you soon start to see why cats have a much stronger sense of smell than we do.

Luckily for those who want to keep cats off their property and out of their gardens this strong sense of smell can be used as a fantastic deterrent or repellent. This is where the use of vinegar comes in as a potential cat repellent.

Why Does Vinegar Deter Cats?

As previously mentioned, vinegar has a very strong aroma and many animals find it distasteful and this is true for most cats too (yes, most and not all).

The scent of vinegar can be overwhelming to cats and make it almost unbearable to be in the vicinity of anywhere that smells strongly of this substance. So the good news is that yes it can work as a cat repellent!

The bad news is that we humans also tend to find too much of this scent difficult to bear so you have to find the right balance between repelling those nuisance cats and not having a home or garden that smells overwhelmingly of vinegar.

Whilst this may be a great natural and non-harmful way to repel most cats it won’t work for all cats. Felines are just like us in how each cat is different to another with different levels of scent ability and even different likes and dislikes.

So vinegar is definitely a great solution to try, for many cats it won’t always work. If you are unlucky and manage to have a visiting cat that doesn’t mind the smell of vinegar then you may need to look into other scents and methods of cat deterring.

Is Vinegar Safe To Use?

In small doses and especially when diluted in water it is rare to see an adverse reaction to vinegar in cats. Obviously, not all cats are the same and they won’t all react in the same way but the general consensus is that vinegar is not harmful when used correctly.

It could cause some irritation if undiluted vinegar ends up on a cat’s skin or in a cat’s eyes so it should never be used to directly spray at the cat. Instead, use it to mark hotspots with its strong aroma and deter cats from being close to the areas you want them to avoid.

How To Use Vinegar As A Cat Repellent

There are several ways you can use vinegar as a cat repellent and all of them have their benefits and can work to deter cats:

Homemade Sprays

You can mix some white vinegar into water and pop it in a spray bottle for a handy method of transferring the scent to the places you want to deter cats from. You can spray perimeter fences and gates to deter them from entering.

If you have particular problem areas where cats tend to invade their garden and use it as their personal playground – or worse their toilet, you can spray these areas directly. You will need to refresh the scent by respraying every day or so.

Spray Garden Vinegar

Be careful about spraying on or near plants as not all plants will thank you for the acidic drink.

If you want an in-depth guide to creating homemade sprays that work well as a deterrent then check this guide out.

Essential Spray Bottle

If you plan on spraying your plants with a deterrent mix then this pump-action spray bottle is vital:

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05/28/2022 12:01 am GMT

Rags Or Cloths

Soak a cloth or old rag in white vinegar or a diluted vinegar mix and pop them in areas where the cats are not wanted. If the local kitty population has a favourite entrance into your garden pop a couple of soaked rags here.

If you are trying to deter them from toileting in other areas of your garden pop some rags here too.

You will need to refresh the scent every few days as it will dissipate over time and the cats could start coming back. If you are persistent most cats will soon learn to avoid these areas and move on to other places.

Undiluted Vinegar

If you are getting nuisance visitors from the neighbourhood and they always seem to choose the same spots to laze in your garden or do their business then you can moisten a cloth with undiluted white vinegar and wipe it over the spot for a quick and easy method of repelling cats.

You will need to be persistent and keep applying the vinegar every few days until the cats get the message that your garden is not a good place for them to hang out in but it is worth the long term effort to end up with a pleasant and cat-free garden.


The good news is that vinegar can be used to deter cats. Like most cat repellents, it’s not something that will work 100% of the time for all cats but it’s a method that has proven popular and workable against a large proportion of cats.

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