Will Vinegar Keep Cats Away? (Find Out)


Is your cat always constituting a nuisance to you in your home or stray and feral cats are using your garden as their toilet space?

If you love your garden or yard, you might not be so comfortable with stray or feral cats using your well-tended garden as their convenience.

Cats are curious animals and love to wander about. They can get into their neighborhoods to hunt for prey, seek food, look for places to poo, relax, or curl up. They may be looking around for a mate or in search of a new home.

If cats want to go on top of your favorite pillow or into your garden, it might look difficult to stop them. But you can take advantage of cats’ powerful noses to keep them away from certain areas you don’t want them.

Yes, cats don’t like the scent of vinegar. It keeps them away. Though the scent of vinegar is not a problem for cats physically, they just don’t like it. As a result, vinegar will keep cats away. Vinegar can serve as a natural repellant to keep cats away from areas you would like your cat(s) to avoid.

How to Use Vinegar for Cat Repellent

Mix the vinegar with an equal portion of water i.e. 1:1 ratio. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it anywhere you want to deter cats.

The mixture will neutralize the area and your cat will become disinterested in returning. Mind you, test the mixture first on a piece of fabric to ensure it doesn’t stain furniture.

In case you can’t get vinegar, you can also use essential oils like citronella, lavender, peppermint, or lemongrass. Mix one part of essential oil with three parts of water. This will also make a fantastic cat repellent spray.

The vinegar can be used either full-strength or diluted with water to repel cats. If you feel that plants, objects, or materials would be damaged by applying vinegar full-strength, simply dilute it with one or two parts water before adding it on surfaces to repel cats.

You may also experiment with different strengths of the mixture to find the mixture concentration that with mild on materials and objects but effective on the cats you wish to repel.

Spraying Outdoors

You can spray full-strength or diluted vinegar around the edges of a garden, on posts, fences, garden décors, and on plants to keep cats away.

Concentrate the spray on areas that you particularly want to protect or where the cats frequent. You can spray the vinegar safely around the base of acid-loving plants, but you should test for safety before spraying it directly on leaves.

Some plants may not be affected by vinegar while some may be affected – turning brown. Also, test the vinegar on an inconspicuous spot for damage or fading before spraying it on painted surfaces or garden decor.

Spray regularly, like every few days, or as often as needed to repel cats. You would also need to spray areas again after rain or watering.

Spraying Indoors

You can also spray vinegar inside your home to keep indoor cats away from certain rooms, areas, or surfaces. Use the diluted mixture and limit spraying to specific areas.

You need to be so careful when applying the vinegar indoors. You would need to spot-test the vinegar before applying it on fabrics to be sure that the vinegar does not stain or bleach couches, carpet, drapes, or other upholstery. Also, test it on wood and other surfaces first.

Spray the necessary areas thoroughly and repeat the spraying once a week or as often as possible to repel the cat.

Be mindful that indoor areas should be sprayed less frequently than outdoor areas.

Spray Other Problem Areas

If you have any other problem areas you want to keep cats away from, then spray the vinegar on those areas – a door facing that your cat keeps scratching, a plant that you don’t want the cat to go near, and so on.

Spray the area – and not the plant – with full-strength (undiluted) vinegar. The smell will be so stronger to naturally deter your cat from the area.

Other Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Pet Home

If spraying the vinegar is not an option – perhaps, you don’t have a spray bottle – you can also use the vinegar to deter cats by soaking a newspaper, sponge, or rag in the vinegar and placing it in the area where you want to keep cats away.

This works well for both indoor and outdoor solutions, especially in areas that do not tolerate being sprayed with vinegar. You can also place the rag or newspaper in a small plastic container to keep it moist and prevent the vinegar from soaking into the soil or surfaces.

Other Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Home

Aside from using vinegar to keep cats away, there are many other great ways to use vinegar around the house that will keep you and your cat(s) happy! When diluted, the smell of vinegar is much fainter, and vinegar can be a great tool for cleaning without chemicals.

Here are other ways to use vinegar in your home:

To Remove Litterbox Odor

You can use vinegar to remove odor from your cat’s litterbox. Pour a quarter-inch of vinegar into the litterbox and let it sit overnight. Then pour out the vinegar, take out the litterbox, and wash the litterbox completely to remove any odor.

Air it for a few days before returning to the house.

To Deter Fleas

You can also use vinegar to prevent fleas. Add about half a cup of white (or apple cider) vinegar to a gallon of water. Mix the solution gently to blend.

Mop the areas you want to prevent fleas from with vinegar. Aside from fleas, vinegar is also a great way to kill germs, mold, and bacteria.


Vinegar will keep cats away. It is an effective deterrent that will work for all cats. However, keep in mind that vinegar is not a one-time solution, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re consistent with your efforts.

To ensure that you stay on track, you may want to make using vinegar to keep cats away part of your daily routine.

Or you may want to save them up over the week and apply them every weekend.

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