What Smells Deter Cats From Pooping?

Cats have a bad habit of relieving themselves where they shouldn’t. If your pet cat is pooping on the carpet or some feral cats are pooping in your garden, don’t give up hope!

Here are some great suggestions for smells and things you can use to keep cats from pooping where they shouldn’t.

What Smells Deter Cats From Pooping Where They Shouldn’t?

what smells deter cats from pooping where they shouldn’t

Citronella & Lemongrass

Citronella and lemongrass both repel cats. The smell also works on mosquitos and other insects, who don’t love the citrusy smell of either plant.

To plant citronella and lemongrass in your garden, make sure it is close to where the cats have been pooping. They will brush up against the leaves and release the fragrance.

For inside the house you can spray citronella or lemongrass on the carpet to deter cats.


Lavender is another scent that humans love but cats do not. Lavender grows tall as well so it can be a beautiful and useful border around a garden.

Planting a border of lavender might successfully keep cats out completely. Inside the house, lavender essential oils or a lavender spray bottle will keep your cats from pooping on the carpet.

Citrus Fruit Juices and Peels

Like citronella or lemongrass, citrus fruit juices or peels will also deter cats. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus peel because it’s so strong, so leaving fruit peels in your garden will deter them and might attract butterflies.

Black Pepper/Cayenne Pepper

Cats have very sensitive noses. While lavender and citrus are relatively pleasant smells, black or cayenne pepper is very strong. It will upset a cat to smell because the scent stings a cat’s olfactory senses.

To prevent a cat from pooping in a certain spot, sprinkle some black or cayenne pepper around the area.


Eucalyptus is a natural oil that annoys cats. It has a sharp, minty smell that cats will avoid. You might not always be able to plant eucalyptus, depending on where you live, but you can add eucalyptus oil or leaves to the soil or carpet and watch your cat move away from the area.

Menthol/Mentho Lyptus Oil

Similar to eucalyptus, the sharp and minty flavor of menthol or mentho lyptus oil will deter cats from the area. This works to keep cat poop from building up in your garden or to keep neighborhood cats from tearing up plants.


Peppermint, either in plant or oil form, will repel cats. Their sensitive noses don’t like the strong minty smell, and they will avoid it.

Peppermint essential oils generally work well, because mint leaves need to be crushed before they release the aroma.


Something as simple as cinnamon can keep cats away from your garden. This plant is another strong scent that the animals will avoid if they can.

You can sprinkle cinnamon throughout an area or put cinnamon sticks in strategic places.

Does Vinegar Stop Cats From Pooping on the Carpet?

does vinegar stop cats from pooping on the carpet

If you have an indoor cat who can’t seem to stay in the litter box, you might be wondering if other resources can help. Vinegar is a popular remedy among cat owners to deter cats from pooping on the carpet.

It works well because of the strong smell–cats will avoid it.

However, the vinegar solution only works if the cat pee or poop is usually in a specific place on the carpet (or you’re willing to douse your entire carpet in vinegar).

How Can You Get Your Cat to Stop Pooping on the Carpet?

If you don’t want to spray vinegar on the carpet, you can try any of the plants throughout this article. However, cats also don’t like aluminum foil.

You can make the litter box more attractive by placing foil in strategic spots along the carpet to discourage them from pooping there.

How Do You Stop a Cat From Pooping in a Certain Area?

how do you stop a cat from pooping in a certain area

If your cat has a specific spot they love to go to, consider moving the litter box nearer to that area. You might need to do some cat litter training, but you should make the litter box accessible.

It’s also essential to keep your cat’s favorite area from being available if possible.

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away?

Coffee grounds have a strong enough smell to keep cats away. Although, dogs will eat them, so be very careful when spreading coffee grounds in your home or garden.

Does Curry Powder Deter Cats?

Curry powder has a strong smell, and cats will avoid it if they can. Be careful if you decide to use curry powder; however, it has turmeric and can stain easily. This spice is best used outside.

What Is a Good Homemade Cat Repellent?

what is a good homemade cat repellent

If none of these pantry staples or spices work to repel cats from your garden, you can make any variety of homemade repellents by combining them. The most common cat deterrent is a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar.

Cats will avoid the area you spray them.

Plants You Can Use to Discourage Cats

plants you can use to discourage cats

Here are some of the most common plants that discourage cats, according to studies on cat behavior.


While humans love the smell of lavender, cats can’t stand it and will avoid it if they can.


Catmint is a lovely herb that sprouts purple flowers that look a little like lavender. It’s a close relative to catnip but doesn’t make cats go crazy like the famous plant.

Cats will avoid the sections of your garden with catmint.

Coleus Canine

Coleus Canine is commonly known as the “scaredy-cat plant” because cats hate its smell and will avoid the plant at all costs.

However, these plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, so be careful if you have multiple or overly curious pets.


Rosemary has a pungent smell that cats will avoid and will keep cat feces out of your garden. It’s also remarkably easy to grow and works well in almost every recipe, so planting rosemary can only benefit your garden!


Marigolds have a strong smell and are toxic to cats. Be careful with these; if you have an overly curious cat, they could end up in some pain after eating the leaves or stems.


Another minty scent that will throw cats off is plant peppermint. You can also spray the oils to repel stray cats.


Geraniums are lovely perennials that will come back every year and keep the cats out of the garden.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »