Cats are wonderful creatures, but sometimes they have weird quirks that humans just don’t understand.
One of the most loathed is a need to mark their territory with urine and a desire to pee where they should not be peeing, like on the carpet or the rugs!
For your cat, this is natural, and he doesn’t see what you’re so upset about. However, for the people, this is an awful habit that can be hard to break, and in many cases, cats are stubborn.
So, what do you do?
Well, the most effective method for breaking your cat of this habit is making the areas where he’s peeing unattractive. This can take any number of forms, such as making the area inaccessible, or even covering your house in tin foil like a crazy person. (Most cats hate tin foil.) However, in today’s article, we’ll be using scent to deter unwanted behavior.
What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing?
There are actually a number of scents that are offensive to the feline nose while being perfectly lovely to humans! However, you might have to try a couple of them to find one that your cat particularly dislikes. Here’s a list of scents and essential oils to try! Most commercial cat deterent spray recipe lists will include these items, and they should be safe to use around animals and kids.
So, Which Smell Makes The Best Cat Pee Deterent?
For me, orange was the best scent for deterring my cat from peeing where he wasn’t supposed to. Or, more specifically, this product called Green Gobbler concentrated orange oil. However, you could also try essential oils if you have them on-hand.
After we moved, our cat was understandably a little upset about the whole ordeal. After all, it was a cross-country trip to a new state.
Unfortunately, he dealt with this stress by hiding somewhere and peeing outside his box.
I thought he’d get better after things calmed down, but sadly he’d already burned this new activity into his brain and no matter what I did to try and reinforce the correct behavior, it didn’t work! We tried those kitty calming stress relievers, and litter attractants to no avil. That’s when I picked up the orange oil.
How To Stop Cats From Peeing On Carpets With Orange Oil!
Step 1: Thoroughly clean any soiled areas
You need to thoroughly clean wherever it is that your cat has peed to remove that scent and break the behavior. This is best done through an enzymatic cleaner, and this one worked wonderfully for me. Just spray the foam on the carpet, let it sit, and then scrub it out.
Edit: The foam worked will for surface stains, but I’ve since found a better product that works well on deeper stains. Use this one on areas which have been thoroughly soiled instead. It’s good at getting urine stains and urine smell out of the carpet pad where other cleaners don’t reach.
If you don’t get rid of the cat urine then your cat will likely keep going in that spot as they’ve now established it as “the place to go”. You need them to find a new place, the litter box, and establish their new routine there and stop your cat from urinating inappropriately.
Step 2: Religiously spray the areas where your cat is peeing
The idea here is to make the areas where the cat is peeing as unattractive as possible so they decide on their own to pee somewhere else! I took the spray bottle of the orange oil to those spots in the living room everyday until he got the idea.
If your cat is going on the carpet, then I’d advise spraying around all the corners. They tend to like to pee in those areas rather than the middle of the floor, because it’s more private. Plus, if you don’t, they’ll likely just find a new carpet patch to pee on.
Cats are nothing if not persistent, and they will try their hardest to do their scent marking or peeing when you’re not looking. You’ll have to be dilligent to stop this behavior.
Step 3: Make the litter box more attractive to your cat
The next step involves evaluating your litter box situation. Why did your cat stop going in their box? Did you move it? Change the litter? Are there new people or animals in the house that the cat is afraid of?
Cats can be weird about using the litter box, because it puts them into a position where they are vulnerable. Getting a covered box (or removing the cover if they don’t like it), or even just moving it to a less busy area may improve things dramatically and make it easier to convince your cat to go where he’s supposed to.
Oh, and that also means keeping the scent you’re using to repel them away from the litter box! Don’t spray anything too close to it or your cat might decide the litter box is bad altogether.
We tried a litter attractant like this one, but it didn’t seem to do much. It might work for other cats though so I’m including it anyway, as some people have found success using attractants.
Tips For Reducing Your Cats Anxiety Levels
In a lot of cases, such as for our cat, anxiety is the reason for their bad behavior. The place we moved to has a lot of noise from neighbors, and he was not used to that at all. It added a ton of stress to our move and made it hard for him to adjust. If you believe your cat is going through the same, here are a few things to try.
Understand their behavior
Is your cat spraying or peeing? It’s important to know the difference, because the reasons for these actions are often very different. You’ll need to find a solution which suits the situation, so watch your cat’s body language closely when they do it to find the root cause. Squatting indicates urination, and sort of standing tail shake is marking.
Move The Litter Box
Is your cat box near a shared wall with noisy neighbors? Try moving it to a quieter spot, and if possible, to a hidden area. We actually had a linen closet which was not being used, and I put his box on the floor in there and closed the door a bit, making it more private.
Try Some Kitty Valium
Our cat has a lot of anxiety issues, so we got him one of these Feliway plug-ins. It wasn’t a miracle cure, but it did seem to calm him down a bit. Some cat owners claim this device has no effect, and others claim that it is a miracle solution sent from the heavens. The truth is likely somewhere inbetween, and you’ll just have to see how your cat responds to it.
Keep in mind that it could take several months to see any changes at all, so you might have to be patient with this one if you decide to try it.
Change Your Litter
Cats are weird about litter, and they will notice even small differences.
It’s quite possible that your cat does not like his litter for whatever reason. It’s worth trying out a different brand or kind. We’ve had luck with the natural corn cob litter, which absorbs odor too!
Some cats may prefer clay. They might be offended by litters which smell too strongly, or ones that stick to their feet. Try a few different kinds and see which one your cat runs to first.
Clean Your Box More Often
Some cats refuse to go in a dirty box, and they will let you know by peeing on something you care about. Try keeping the box cleaner and see if that helps the situation any. You might even consider picking up an automatic litter box to make sure it’s always fresh and clean when kitty needs to go.
They should be cleaned at least once per day, but more is better. Adding a second box could help the situation if your cat is picky about having a spotless box to go in until you can get home to clean it. This is especially true if you have a multi cat household, because “resource guarding” over litter boxes could also be the cause of inappropriate urination if another cat is not letting the other one near the litter tray! A new cat could be afraid of encroaching on an existing cat’s territory.
Is There A Medical Reason At Play?
In some cases, cats avoid the litter box because there’s something else wrong that they can’t tell you about. Your cat could have a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or other medical problems, and is avoiding the litter box because they now associate it with pain, which scares them.
They do sell some special litters that will alert you to any abnormalities in their urine. Put it wherever your kitty likes to do his business and it will change colors if there’s something wrong that requires a vet visit.
If you can’t get your cat to go on the litter due to his bathroom habits, then you might want to go to the vet for a check up anyway, just in case. The vet can give them some tests and an examination to see if there is a medical issue that is causing them to not use the litter box.
EDIT – Kitty Pee Crisis Update: Well, it looks like the orange oil did not work as a permanent solution. Unfortunately, after a while, he went right back to his old ways. So, do scents work as a cat pee deterent? Sometimes, but not in our case.
BUT, there’s good news. I did find a more permanent solution, and if your kitty is still making a mess of your rugs, carpets, furniture, and clothes, then check out our new article for the permanent solution which stopped our cat from peeing all over our stuff! Once that’s handled, you can also check out the follow up article, which includes my solution for removing cat pee from our carpets.