If a cat wants to go somewhere, whether it's into your garden or on top of your favorite pillow, it's difficult to stop them. But their powerful noses can be your ally in keeping them away from certain areas.
White vinegar can be used either full-strength or diluted with water to repel cats. If objects or plants could be damaged by applying vinegar full-strength, dilute it with one or two parts water before using it as a deterrent. Experiment with different strengths to find the mixture with the least amount of vinegar that is still effective on the cats you wish to repel.
Straight or diluted vinegar can be sprayed around the edges of a garden, and on plants, fences, posts and garden decor to keep cats away. Concentrate the spray on areas that the cats frequent or that you particularly want to protect. Vinegar can be sprayed safely around the base of acid-loving plants, but should be tested for safety before being sprayed directly on leaves. Some plants will not be affected by vinegar; others might turn brown. Also, test an inconspicuous spot for fading or damage before spraying vinegar on painted surfaces or garden decor. Spray every few days or as often as needed to repel cats. Areas likely will need to be sprayed again after rain or watering.
Vinegar can be sprayed inside the home to keep an indoor cat away from certain areas or surfaces. Use the least concentrated mixture that is effective and limit spraying to specific areas. Spot test the vinegar spray on fabrics before applying to be sure that the vinegar does not bleach or stain couches, carpet, drapes or other upholstery. Test on wood and other surfaces first, too. Spray the area thoroughly and repeat once a week or as often as needed to repel the cat. Indoor areas will need to be sprayed less frequently than outdoor areas.
If spraying is not an option, vinegar can be used to deter cats by soaking a rag, sponge or newspaper in white vinegar and placing it in the area where cats are not wanted. This works well for indoor and outdoor plants that do not tolerate being sprayed with vinegar. The rag also can be placed in a small plastic container to help keep it moist and prevent any vinegar from soaking into the soil or onto other surfaces.