Vinegar As a Cat Repellent

By Naomi Millburn

Like a number of different types of animals, cats strongly object to the smell of vinegar even once the liquid has dried. If you're looking for an effective and easy way to deter a feline, whether indoors or outdoors, vinegar may be able to do the trick for you.

Deterring Outdoor Cats

If stray cats in the neighborhood are wreaking havoc on your garden, take a few old rags, immerse them in white vinegar and place them on stakes surrounding your vegetables, for example. Keep the rags "fresh" by re-soaking them in intervals of between 7 and 10 days. You can keep cats away by spraying vinegar using a trigger-spray bottle on garden accessories, on tree bases, on plants, on your garden border, on posts and on your fence. Focus on parts of your garden the cats seem to visit the most. Repeat spraying several times a week or whenever the need arises. You also should spray after watering sessions and rain. If you don't have white vinegar in your home, red wine vinegar can work as well.

White vinegar on its own can sometimes harm plants or items on your property. If you're worried about that, dilute it with one to two parts H20. Although vinegar doesn't harm all plants, it makes some of them turn brown. Always test surfaces, such as garden accents or painted surfaces, before applying vinegar to ensure the vinegar won't damage it.

Deterring Indoor Cats

Vinegar can come in handy for deterring cats indoors as well. If you want to keep your curious cat away from a certain surface or piece of furniture, use a lower concentration vinegar mixture. Don't forget to patch test the spray beforehand to make sure the liquid doesn't cause staining or bleaching, whether on windowsills, carpet, wood, furniture, curtains or anything else. Spray your desired spots roughly once per week. If you want to dissuade your cat from resting, sleeping or scratching in a certain spot, white vinegar can do wonders.

If you notice your indoor cat heading toward a part of your home that's "off-limits" to her, you can deter her by softly patting a cotton ball moistened with white vinegar onto her lips so she associates the off-limits spot with a negative experience. You also can opt to put the moist cotton ball on a dish on top of the off-limits item to reinforce this.

If your indoor cat is participating in territorial urine marking because she's stressed out that an outdoor cat is encroaching on her turf, consider having her spayed if she isn't already. That may eliminate or reduce the problematic behavior. You can try to stop the outdoor cat in question by immersing cotton balls or sponges in vinegar and placing them in the areas of urine marking.