Categories: senses

Smells that cats hate

Photo in the public domain.

It is not that difficult to list the smells that cats hate because there are well publicised lists. However, although I have not tested these smells with my cat, I’d bet my bottom dollar that a lot of them are not hated by cats. Some cats might be slightly repelled by them and some cats won’t be bothered at all by them.

My advise is not to waste your time investigating smells which repel cats. That may sound depressing for people who dislike cats. But don’t harm cats even if they come onto your land because it’ll almost certainly be a crime.

I am guessing that people who search for this phrase are doing so to repel their cat from entering certain areas of their home or as a negative training aid. Also some neighbours might be thinking of these products to stop neighbouring cats entering their property. There are a lot of neighbors who want to stop domestic cats peeing and defecating on there flower beds. My message to these people is that these smells probably won’t work – sorry.

Lion dung?

Silent Roar Natural Fertiliser & Cat Deterrent 500G on Amazon is a combined fertilizer and cat deterrent. Does it work? Well, the reviews are not wonderful but neither are they totally depressing. I’d say that is does not work but please try it and report back on this site.

Lion dung cat repellant

Talk to neighbors?

My personal preference is not to use smells that repulse but all sorts of things including smells that attract, as these are better training aids (positive reinforcement). I don’t train at all – I just accept the cat as a cat. Things that I don’t I accept along with the much longer list of things that I like a lot. However, I make sure my neighbors are not upset if my cat visits their garden. I believe cat owners take that responsibility.


Well, my research indicates that the smells that cats hate are as follows. I can’t vouch for the veracity of this information. It is probably unscientific. These are not to be used in squirt bottles – I would not use squirt bottles at all in fact – see don’t punish your cat):

  • citrus (orange, lemon smells etc. Perhaps this translates into putting down skins of these fruits
  • cayenne pepper
  • coffee grounds
  • pipe tobacco
  • eucalyptus oil
  • peppermint oil
  • lavender oil
  • lemon grass oil
  • citronella oil
  • mustard oil
  • capsaicin pepper and oil of mustard are the ingredients in Havahart’s Cat Repellent. It has a lemon smell.
  • lemon scented air freshener
  • cedar chips
  • rosemary
  • rue
  • cinnamon
  • lavender.

As mentioned some of these might work but some will not. It depends on the cat. Sometimes the scent of another cat will deter a cat but it depends on the cat again.

Smells that cats like are our smells if we are close to our cat and good cat caretakers. Also cat food contains chemicals that improve its smell. Smell is important to a cat. A cat’s sense of smell is 20 times better than the sense of smell of humans (see the cat’s nose).


Smells That Cats Hate to Cat Facts

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Smells That Cats Hate

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May 25, 2012
Why I Hate Cats NEW
by: Harry This is a duplication, therefore deleted.

May 25, 2012
Why I Hate Cats NEW
by: Harry hey, i want to see if people agree with me here, who here really hates cats? do, they are selfish little Fu**ers (scuse my french) i hate them because they are downriht pathetic, when they dont get what they want, they scratch (if acting cute and cuddly dosen’t work) they take up valuable space and they don’t give 2 damns about you they only stay for the food, so i ask you please cat lovers, please kick your cat right out of the door and watch it come back, you will probably take it back in but it will always go back to its old ways, so nail shut your cat flap and kick your cat right out of the door to the dogs

May 08, 2012
discouraging cats from my grounds NEW
by: Glenn Your love of cat’s is yours. !!!!!!!!!!I don’t appreciate the smell of cat poo !!I,m sure even you don’t like the smell in the
rug of your car, in the interance of your home.I see cat’s as nice looking animal’s, but thats
as far as it goes……Glenn

May 08, 2012
discouraging cats from my grounds NEW
by: Glenn Your love of cat’s is yours. !!!!!!!!!!I don’t appreciate the smell of cat poo !!I,m sure even you don’t like the smell in the
rug of your car, in the interance of your home.I see cat’s as nice looking animal’s, but thats
as far as it goes……Glenn

Nov 15, 2011
people with foul language
by: Anonymous If your cat could talk, they would use better language than you. Kids of all ages read what you write on this site. Shame Shame on you .

Sep 14, 2011
Foul language
by: Michael (admin LMAO – please desist from using foul language and please make polite comments. Anymore comments that are not polite will be deleted and you will be banned.Anyone else wishing to follow LMAO’s style of writing will suffer the same fate.

Jul 25, 2011
may 2011… assumptions are 90% wrong…
by: Anonymous As to the one below who assumes that these are to be use to punish our feline family…maybe you shouldn’t make assumptions as to why people are using this information.Very good site for ideas to help repel cats…I am hopeful that these scents will work in my situation… meaning I need them to just keep my cats off a certain couch in the living room and to deter them from using the carpet, by an old rocking chair.I will post what has worked and what did not…

May 08, 2011
by: GG If people who suppose to love animals respond on this site keep cursing,it is very disheartening. I will not ever come to this site again. I will tell everyone I know not to ever visit this site. I was just looking for information about cats. If you think abusing any kind of animal because of its behavior you are a very sad & mean individual(especially throwing it against a wall)you should not even have children.

Apr 22, 2011
Coffee grounds
by: Anonymous All cats are different…but mine love, love LOVES coffe grounds. If I spill grounds, she rolls in it…I give her a sachet of beans as a toy instead of catnip and she rubs/chews/purrs like no one’s business.

Apr 18, 2011
by: Anonymous I was looking for something that would stop nexr doors cat pooing in my garden, i just cut my lawn and went through a nice dollop of smmmelly pooh, then I saw dont punish your cat. Listen Love I have no intention of punishing my cat I don’t have a cat……….I WANNA …… KILL THE CAT THAT KEEPS FOULING MY GARDEN.On the other hand I love pussy but HATE THE ……. CAT YOU ……. I have deleted offensive words…Michael (Admin)

Apr 05, 2011
Well thanks
by: Anonymous My Kid came onto this site looking for smells cats hate, and found all you abuse, and now runs around the house telling people to “….. themselves” and such.This is a family friendly site, go flame each other somewhere else. I have deleted offensive words…Michael (Admin)

Mar 23, 2011
by: Anonymous i agree with everyone else. cats do need some sort of punishment. if you get a cat thats just not catchin on no matter what you do i would suggest 150 yards not 80. I got rid of a cat (ok it “somehow” ran out the door behimd me “on accident” and i “couldn’t catch it” because it kept clawing at the couch and nothing would work. i even kicked the little …… across the room bounced off the wall pretty hard (landed about 2 feet from the wall) and the little bastard went right back to the couch!It will be my ass before something less than a foot tall on 4 paws runs my house and wrecks my …. if it was buying me a new couch every week i would have kept it. I have deleted offensive words…Michael (Admin)

Mar 21, 2011
by: Anonymous If none of the products you recommend are tested on animals.. how would they test if they work?

Mar 12, 2011
don’t think the worse
by: NICE KITTY I am just trying to stop our outdoor cat from using the front step of our house as her personal litter box. I am also trying to stop the neighborhood of feline residents from using our front flower bed as the hotel california

Feb 12, 2011
No punishment? Complete Bullshit
by: Anonymous Are your …. kidding me? Don’t punish your cats? Yeah I’m just going to let my cat spray all over the house, tear up what ever it likes even tho I pay for everything an I pay the bills in this dam house but yeah sure I’ll let it do what ever it wants….NOT!. There has to be a line between right an wrong an what ever animal it is needs love an caring but also discipline. That article about not punishing cats is complete …… You can let your cat …. all over your house and on your face but that’s not happening in my house. I have deleted offensive words…Michael (Admin)

Dec 21, 2010
No punishment, reinforcement, or conditioning? Nonesense.
by: Meag Yea right. Does your cat help you with rent or mortgage? Does it cook for you? I dont think so. It is important to treat cats with love and care, as with any animal but by no means will a cat run my house or make its own decisions. Cats or any other animals must be conditioned,whether reinforcement or punishment (whatever works) in order to have structure in your home. And if a cat was that “poor” from having to lick vinegar off its coat, perhaps it would decide to stop licking it. I indeed use a spray bottle filled with water to tell my cats no, and guess what?… The sight of it keeps my cats out of trouble. So If you’re like me, and you believe in caring for your pets without assigning them “heads of the household”, a spray bottle works just fine. And your cats will still love you. Afterall, you feed and nurture them.

Dec 19, 2010
Are you kidding???
by: Anonymous Really? Maybe we should get a cat therapist and find out if maybe it has some deep seeded issues from its past. Abusive father, mothers neglect, or maybe it was even molested by some close family member. In my opinion it’s just an overgrown rat. Oh yea, that was sarcastic if you couldn’t tell.

Aug 07, 2010
Poopy cat
by: Ruth Joan there is always a reason why cats mess outside the litter tray.The first thing to think about is the cats health, but if a vet check shows no physical problems then it’s most likely stress causing it.
Another reason is of course if the cat is declawed,the pain of digging in litter after the operation to amputate the toe ends, haunts them all their life and causes them to use softer places.
You need to find out why your cat is stressed.Is she bored? Is anyone upsetting her in your home or outside ?Do you have a dog bothering her ? Is there a cat hanging around and spraying outside your house,that is a threat and the cat indoors will mark all his/her territory to warn them off coming in.
Once a cat has marked a place or an object, they will keep going back topping up their scent.You need to get some biological washing liquid,put some in hot water and wash everything and everywhere your cat has messed.That takes every trace of smell away.
So identify the cause of her stress, put that right,wash everywhere as I’ve said and hopefully your problem will be solved.Anonymous it is NOT acceptable to scruff a cat or a kitten as punishment, it is NOT acceptable to do it at all unless the cat is completely unmanagable.I don’t know which vets you patronise but ours certainly don’t always pick a cat up by the scruff ! Nor have any I worked for apart from for thier own sake if there was no other way to handle them.

Aug 06, 2010
Poopy Cat!
by: Joan How can I accept my cat the way she is when she uses anything that resembles a “box” to pee & poop in. She has a perfectly nice, clean litter box that she does use. Her favorite right now is the fireplace. Not acceptable. She has ruined so many things – we have an antique wooden box we toss our shoes in when we come. Now every pair of shoes had been repeatedly peed on! Cat’s don’t respond to discipline like dogs so I don’t know how to get her to stop this behavior.

Mar 22, 2010
by: Anonymous I agree definitely don’t spray cats with vinegar or even water, they will hate you for it and continue the same bad behavior when you are absent. However cats need discipline unless they are just completely docile. Nearly all cats respond to being scruffed, but just remember to support the rest of their body once they are adults, the goal isn’t to choke them but to grip them behind the neck as their mothers did. You can even pick up a cat that doesn’t know you, or even subdue a feral cat like this. It doesn’t hurt the cat. Vets (unless they like getting scratched in the face) will always pick up a cat by the scruff.

Mar 22, 2010
rope smell
by: Anonymous My cat is disgusted by the smell of new rope – the gasoline like smell. She’s absolutely terrified of it to the point where she won’t get within 10 feet and just about mauled me the first time she came in contact with rope I was holding.

Mar 17, 2010
by: Ruth I’ve checked and Odoban isn’t tested on animals, so it’s going to be a good product to recommend to people asking how to keep their cats away from things with cloth like your antique radio.
It’s very handy to know, so thanks Bob.

Mar 15, 2010
by: Bob I use a product called Odo-Ban for disinfecting/cleaning and it can also be used as a fabric refresher. I noticed that my cats seem to stay away from wherever I spray it, they don’t like the smell (it has a eucalyptus scent). When one of my cats scratched at the fabric over the speakers on my antique radio, I decided to try it. So I sprayed the cloth with the Odo-Ban, and they haven’t touched it since. It didn’t damage the radio, and will definitely not harm the cats, as they won’t go near it.

Mar 15, 2010
Cats and smells
by: Ruth Cats hate the smell of vinegar too. It makes me so annoyed when people ‘advise’ squirting cats with any liquids when they ‘misbehave’ It doesn’t work, it’s unkind and the cat becomes nervous around you.
I’ve seen time after time ‘advice’ to squirt them with vinegar and water, not a thought to the poor cat having to lick that or any other horrible (to them) liquid off their fur.
We don’t use anything which has been tested on animals, but I bought an Astonish (wonderful firm, they make all sorts of cleaning and washing stuff, not tested on animals) window cleaning spray, not realising it contained vineger. After I’d cleaned the window the cats come and go by with it,Walter wouldn’t come in that way. Once the penny dropped and I looked on the spray, yes it contained vineger.As soon as I washed the window with with soapy water he started using it again.But now and again he still checks the smell !
We are like you Michael and never ever punish our cats,we accept them as they are.
After all, they accept us just as we are don’t they !

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Why do cat haters hate cats anyway? I mean, come on cats are not awful. I love cats but that's just MY opinion. I don't like people coming on this site to trash talk cats. Please don't call cats bad things. I don't want to here those things. So please, if you want to trash talk cats go on another site.

    • Thanks for your support of cats. I feel the same way. I run the site and in the interests of free speech and a balanced viewpoint in comments I feel obliged to let some cat haters comment. But I limit it and delete a lot of them. I also block and ban many of them

  • Katt I toldly agree with you and I sure would do the same thing and for Chris you are wrong and so is your girlfriend she is wrong for not cleaning the cats litter box it need to be clean every other day or every day is the best and for scratching the furniture there are thing you can spray for that and as for the rodents I think he is talking thru his a... the devil will be waiting for everyone of you pet haters !!!

  • Hey Harry, as a cat lover I've got something to say to you. First of all if you hate cats so much, why were you on this website, which is called Second of all, I have nothing against dogs, accept for the one that I'm righting too. Third of all, you just mentioned that ppl should kick their cats out, they're performing a form of animal cruelty, you're lucky I didn't turn you in bc that is a crime. Btw if cats don't like humans, why would it come back? Hmm?? You are a cruel, disgusting freak and you don't deserve to be on this earth. So Harry, if I ever run into YOU on the streets, I will first kick your ass, then throw you to the cats for a snack. Ty for your time (you seem like you have a lot of it considering the fact that you are on a cat website) and I hope you burn in hell. Bye

  • I realize the last comment on this subject is Nov 2014, but I want to add something about cedar. I've noticed that there is a litter made with cedar, so wouldn't that be a problem if cats are repelled by it?

    Also, I've bought a product that is supposed to repel fleas that has such a strong cedar smell that I can't stand it, and would never put it on my cat.

    And recently, I came across a a flea repellent with cedar that is to be sprayed on cat's bedding, etc. Again, if cedar repels cats, this doesn't make sense.

    Maybe not all cats dislike the smell of cedar, since there are so many products made from cedar that aren't meant to repel.

    I'm very careful about using any product with a strong smell around my cat. My roommate used to wash the kitchen floor with strong smelling Lysol, which repelled me, and I was concerned that my cat would walk on the floor, then lick her paws. I finally convinced her not to use it.

    We need to be hyper vigilant about using products that could create health issues for ourselves and our pets. Best to stick with non-toxic solutions for everyone's safety, including adults, kids and pets.

  • I don't understand why you would have to make a comment about a cat if you don't like them shut up and go on to some other subject that you can disrespect,cats are very loving and they don't talk trash as some people do what did you do to the cat that it scratched you they bleed they have pain just like we do so take your comment and put it where the sun don't shine.

    • Hi Sonja. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I am not sure to whom your comment is addressed but I am sure you are correct in your assessment.

  • What do you have against business people trying to make a living? Also I don't think these small animals have "MORE" right to live then a humans, that's just insane. If anything equal rights yes, but that's also just an opinion. I've never heard of a human child (without a sense of right or wrong) kill, destroy, vandalize, whatever, out of spite and more so then an animal does regularly through his givin nature. Constructively speaking, you sounds like some sort of anti-human cult leader.

    • I don't have anything against business people making a living. It's what makes the world go around. I'm not sure why you ask that question. You might like to remind me if you have time. I also don't believe that animals have more rights than people. People are human animals and we all have the same rights as far as I am concerned. It is just at the moment certain minority groups of people in many countries and animals in many countries are lacking sufficient rights and I support those minority groups and of course I support all animals and one reason is because they do not have enough rights.

      • That's a bit extreme ;) I would rather just kill a few humans-the ones who abuse and kill cats would be a good starting point.

  • My cats pretty dope and will meow if he doesn't get attentions. Most of the time his bowl is full and isn't hungry. He just wants the attentions and I happily give him da tentions. I don't see how that's selfish considering most animals seek affection from their caregivers in one way or another. And obviously if he's hungry he's going to want you to give him food. So once again not selfish at all they just haven't been domesticated for as long as dogs so I guess you can't handle the wild side.

    • I completely agree, if a cat is demanding attention or asking for attention he or she is not being selfish - they are just doing what people do!

  • i cant believe so many people against cats i know this article was a few years ago. I noticed my own cat rebel gets really senestive when i bring out deodorant even if im a a long distance from him. he gives me that look of a strong smell. I guess we all need to be accepted to what cats like and dont like.

  • My girlfriend has a cat and it is the most annoying thing ever. It craps all over the house. The litter box is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. It has been waking us up in the middle of the night with its constant meowing (which is the most obnoxious noise I have ever heard in my life). And it keeps scratching up the furniture and my girlfriend gets mad when I yell at it to stop. She says he has to for his nails and I tell her that's BS and if he needs to ruin something his a scratching post thing is just 2 feet away from him!! Personal opinion...cats are worthless unless you have rodents in your house your trying to get rid of. A pet comes to you when called, not looks back at you as if it's telling you to "F" off and then walks away. You want a pet? Get a dog!!

    • I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Cats are vicious, neurotic and disease carrying. A stray cat has taken up residence is my house because my mother decided she likes it, MUCH to my dismay. My elderly dog, who lives in the same home, has since contracted ringworm, I suspect this is due to this disgusting cat coming around. The cat also has tapeworms and god knows what else. My dog has never had skin issues before the damn cat showed up. My dog is the most gentle, well-behaved, loving animal I have ever known. Now she has a contagious skin disease that she has to be on medication for. I could not hate this cat more if I tried.

      • Margaret, you should be criticising the cat's owner and not the cat. This cat should not be a stray cat. This cat should be a well looked after domestic cat with a home and taken to the vet when required and if that was the case this cat would not be a stray and he or she would not have ringworm. The problem is not the cat but the person. You miss this point completely. Personally, I feel sorry for the cat.

        In addition, I wonder how many diseases or illnesses you have caught from other people such as colds? Every year millions of diseases are spread by humans to other humans. Why don't you criticise humans for spreading disease and being irresponsible cat owners?

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