Vinegar is one of the most common condiments used in kitchens around the world. But apart from that, this versatile condiment can also be used in a variety of ways, including cleaning. If you have a cat at home, you need to be aware that there are certain scents that your furry little pal dislikes. One such scent is the smell of vinegar.
Do cats like the smell of vinegar?
Do cats like the smell of vinegar? No. Cats do not like the smell of vinegar. Cats have a highly-developed sense of smell, roughly 14 times stronger than that of humans. A lot of that has to do with the number of olfactory cells found in a cat’s nose. The olfactory cells in a cat’s nose can number anywhere between 150 million to 300 million.
With such a highly-developed sense of smell, it should not come as a surprise that your pet abhors strong scents that you may like. If you take a whiff of a bottle of vinegar, you will smell a hint of sourness. That same sourness can be multiplied several times in a cat’s nose.
Other scents that cats hate
Apart from vinegar, there are other scents that cats tend to dislike.
Cats hate the smell of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes. This is why these scents are often used to deter cats.
If you happen to taste a banana peel, you will discover that it has a hint of bitterness. Your cat does not have to sink his teeth into one to know that. Place a banana peel in a room and your pet will scurry away.
Cats have a general dislike for spices and seasonings like pepper.
4. Mint, lavender, and eucalyptus
Cats instinctively know substances that are harmful to them and as such, avoid these. These include eucalyptus, lavender, and mint.
Additionally, the derivative oils of these plants should never be used as they are also dangerous to felines.
5. Dirty litter box
Cats are fastidious creatures and they tend to avoid using their litter boxes if they feel that these are smelly and dirty. This is why you should have an extra litter box and you should clean and disinfect it regularly to prevent unwanted behavior from your cat.
How cat owners can use vinegar
Just because your cat hates the smell of vinegar, does not mean that you should avoid buying or using it. In fact, vinegar is one of the more versatile substances that you can find at home.
1. Cat deterrent
Want to stop your cat from laying down on your favorite pillow? Tired of dealing with the neighborhood cats invading your garden? Try vinegar.
Vinegar is an excellent cat repellent that you can use on your pet or feral cats. You can use the liquid at full-strength or dilute it with water. But be aware that vinegar can stain some surfaces. Before spraying on a piece of furniture or any other object, dab a small amount and dilute with water until you find the minimum effective amount.
To deter feral cats from going to your garden and damaging your plants, you can spray pure or diluted vinegar around your garden, the fences, décor, and even on the plants.
Be aware that the leaves of some plants can turn brown when sprayed with vinegar while plants that tolerate acidity will not be affected. Err on the side of caution and test a small amount of vinegar on a particular plant.
Used as a repellent against outdoor cats, you will need to spray vinegar every few days or after rain.
You can also use vinegar to deter your pet from going to certain areas in your home. However, you should use the least effective amount of vinegar. Also, be sure to test a small amount of vinegar on a surface to see if it causes stains. For indoor use, you can spray vinegar once a week.
For both indoor and outdoor use, you can also try soaking a rag, newspaper, or a sponge in vinegar. You can then place the vinegar-soaked item in the area that you want cats to avoid. You can place the soaked item in a small dish or plastic container to prevent creating a mess.
2. Cleaning agent
You should clean your pet’s litter box at least once a week, washing and disinfecting it. And one effective substance you can use for this purpose is vinegar.
Start by rinsing the litter box. After that, soak the pan with vinegar overnight. Vinegar can then disinfect and remove unwanted odors from the litter box. The following day, wash the litter box and allow it to air dry for a couple of days.
Vinegar can also be used to remove mineral deposits on your cat’s food and water bowls. To remove lime deposits on these, pour some vinegar on the bowls and then rinse these thoroughly to remove the vinegar’s scent.
3. Flea deterrent
Like your cat, fleas also hate the smell of vinegar. As such, this makes the condiment an effective repellent against these pests. You can use white or apple cider vinegar as a spray. Many homeowners prefer apple cider vinegar because of its sweeter smell. To create your anti-flea spray, start by mixing vinegar with water. One important thing to remember is that the higher the vinegar concentration is, the stronger your solution will be.
However, one side effect that you need to be aware of is that your cat might be irritated by the smell. You can try diluting the solution further by mixing one part vinegar with three parts of water.
You can then use the vinegar solution to spray directly on your cat’s fur and skin or soak a rag in it before rubbing on your cat. But before you do any of these, check your cat’s body for cuts or scratches. Because vinegar is acidic, contact with the fluid can cause stings. Additionally, avoid spraying the solution near your pet’s eyes.
Allow the solution to soak on your cat’s fur for about 20 minutes. After that, brush your pet’s fur to remove the fleas. Repeat these steps every few days until you have removed all the fleas.
You can also spray the solution you mixed around the home to act as a deterrent against fleas. To prevent fleas from hiding under your cat’s bedding, you can add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine while it is in the rinse cycle.
Cleaning cat ears
Some cats need help with cleaning their ears. And vinegar is an effective tool for this task. Start by mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a cup of lukewarm water. Take a few cotton balls and then dip these into the solution you mixed. Use the cotton balls to wipe away dirt from your pet’s ears and then wipe the ears dry with a fresh set of cotton balls.
How long can you store vinegar?
The great thing about vinegar is that it does not expire. Although a bottle of vinegar usually comes with a best before date label, it does not have an expiration date. That means that you can use it even after the best before date has lapsed. Best before dates will vary depending on the type of vinegar. For example, white vinegar does not have a best before date but apple cider vinegar is best consumed within five years.
Using your cat’s hate for vinegar to your advantage
Your cat might not be enamored by the scent of vinegar. But that does not mean that you cannot use it in your home. If you are a cat owner, you should have at least one bottle of this condiment in your home.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nynke van Holten