Does Pine Sol Stop Your Cat’s Pee Problem?


Cat owners know that our feline friends can sometimes engage in behaviors that are frustrating or destructive in the home. One common issue is cat spraying, which is when cats mark their territory by spraying urine around an area. This understandably causes headaches for owners who want to keep their homes clean and free of unpleasant odors.

A common household cleaner, Pine Sol, is often used for cleaning hard surfaces like floors, counters, and bathtubs. Some cat owners wonder if using Pine Sol can help deter cats from spraying in unwanted areas. Let’s take a closer look at whether Pine Sol is an effective and safe solution for cat spraying issues.

About Cat Spraying

Cat spraying is a natural feline behavior where cats mark their territory by spraying small amounts of urine (1). It is a form of communication that lets other cats know who lives in an area. Spraying can occur due to territorial marking, anxiety, or as a response to environmental changes that stress the cat.

According to ICatCare, up to 30% of cats may spray urine in the house, with 10% of neutered cats and up to 90% of unneutered cats spraying. Spraying is more common in male cats that have not been neutered. While spraying is a natural behavior for cats, indoor spraying can be undesirable for cat owners.

Cats may spray when stressed by changes to their routine or environment, such as a new cat in the home, new furniture, or guests staying over. They may also spray due to conflicts with other cats in a multi-cat home. Medical issues like urinary tract infections can also prompt spraying.

Pine Sol Ingredients

The main active ingredients in Pine Sol Original Pine Cleaner are:

  • Pine oil – Provides the characteristic pine scent and has disinfectant properties.
  • Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride – A quaternary ammonium compound that acts as a disinfectant and kills bacteria.
  • Ethanol – A type of alcohol solvent that helps dissolve grease and dirt.
  • Sodium sulfate – Helps control viscosity and thickness.

Other minor ingredients include fragrances, preservatives, and cleaning agents that improve Pine Sol’s grease-cutting ability and cleaning performance. Overall, the disinfectant properties come mainly from pine oil and the quaternary ammonium compounds.

Effectiveness for Cat Spraying

Pine Sol is not specifically marketed as a cat deterrent or to stop cat spraying. However, some pet owners do report using Pine Sol in areas where their cats tend to spray urine. According to one anecdotal report, using Pine Sol to clean areas thoroughly can help discourage cats from returning to spray in that spot again due to the strong scent [1]. However, there is no scientific evidence that Pine Sol is an effective cat deterrent.

Some owners claim the strong pine scent of Pine Sol overpowers the smell of cat urine, making the area less desirable for future spraying. However, results seem mixed, with some reporting their cat was undeterred by Pine Sol. The effectiveness likely depends on the individual cat. Since Pine Sol is not formulated specifically for cats, there is no guarantee it will deter all cats from spraying in all circumstances.

Risks and Concerns

Pine Sol contains ingredients like pine oil and isopropanol that can be harmful to cats if used improperly. According to Outward Hound, pine oil can cause liver damage, kidney damage, and central nervous system issues if ingested or absorbed through a pet’s skin or paws. While past versions of Pine Sol contained high levels of pine oil, most modern formulas only include trace amounts.

Despite this, respiratory irritation can still occur if cats inhale the fumes from Pine Sol. The concerns are greatest for spraying it directly near a cat’s face or letting a cat walk on floors before the cleaner has fully dried. Cat World advises keeping cats confined away from areas cleaned with Pine Sol for at least 15 minutes. Prolonged inhalation could potentially lead to asthma-like symptoms in cats.

If Pine Sol is accidentally ingested, it can cause mouth and throat irritation or stomach upset. Seek emergency veterinary care if a cat has consumed more than a small taste, as larger amounts can potentially damage internal organs like the liver and kidneys.

To be safe, Pine Sol should never be sprayed or applied directly on a cat’s body. It’s also best not to let a cat lick floors or surfaces right after they have been cleaned with Pine Sol. Allowing time for it to fully dry and ventilating areas well after cleaning can help avoid respiratory risks.

Proper Usage Guidance

When using Pine Sol around cats, it’s important to take precautions to reduce risks. Here are some tips for safe usage:

Spot clean areas cats frequent, rather than cleaning the entire floor. Focus on areas where spraying has occurred. Allow the Pine Sol to fully dry before allowing cats access to the area again. Open windows or use fans to help speed up drying time. Most sources recommend waiting at least 8 hours before allowing pets into areas cleaned with Pine Sol.

Dilute the Pine Sol more than recommended on the label when cleaning areas cats access. Use 1/2 cup Pine Sol per 1 gallon of water. The less concentrated solution will be less irritating for cats if they come into contact with residues.

Never spray Pine Sol directly onto surfaces when cats are present in the room. The spray can spread droplets in the air and be inhaled.

Wipe down surfaces thoroughly after applying Pine Sol and let air dry. Do not leave puddles or pooled Pine Sol that cats could step in.

Keep cats confined to another room during cleaning and until all treated areas are completely dry.

Consider safer alternatives like enzymatic cleaners which break down urine compounds and discourage re-marking behaviors.

Alternatives to Pine Sol

There are other pet-safe options to discourage cat spraying without using toxic chemicals like Pine Sol. Some alternatives include:

Pet-safe cleaners – Look for cleaners specifically marketed as pet-safe or non-toxic when cleaning areas where cats spray. Popular options are enzyme-based cleaners as they help remove the urine odor that encourages re-spraying.

Commercial cat deterrent sprays – There are sprays made specifically to deter cat spraying that contain natural ingredients such as herbal oils. Some popular commercial options are Petsafe SSSCat Spray and Nature’s Miracle No More Spraying.

Pheromone diffusers – Pheromone diffusers release synthetic pheromones that can help relieve stress and encourage appropriate marking for cats. Popular brands are Feliway and ComfortZone.

Environmental changes – Deterrents like double sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, and plastic carpet runners with the nubs facing up may discourage cats from returning to spray the same areas. Removing access or blocking off previously sprayed spots is also an option.

When to Seek Help

It’s recommended to consult a veterinarian if cat spraying is frequent or not resolved by cleaning and deterrents like Pine Sol. According to PetMD, spraying could potentially signal an underlying medical issue like a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, diabetes, or thyroid disease. A vet can run tests to check for any health problems contributing to inappropriate urination. The tests may include a urine culture, blood work, urinalysis, and medical imaging.

As outlined by Preventive Vet, a veterinary visit is advised if spraying behavior arises suddenly in a previously house-trained cat. Consulting a vet helps rule out medical factors causing the cat stress and leads to spraying. If no medical issue is found, the vet can recommend behavior modification techniques and stress-reducing methods to stop unwanted spraying.


In this article, we have examined whether Pine Sol effectively deters cat spraying and marking behaviors. The active ingredients in Pine Sol like pine oil and isopropanol have strong scents that may temporarily interrupt cats from spraying in targeted areas.

However, Pine Sol does not address the underlying motivation for cat spraying like stress, territorial disputes, or medical issues. The strong scent and chemicals may also aggravate respiratory issues or harm cats if ingested. Using Pine Sol without proper precautions could also damage household surfaces.

Therefore, while Pine Sol may temporarily disrupt cat spraying, it does not provide a complete solution. More effective and cat-safe alternatives include pheromone sprays, cleaning with enzyme cleaners, addressing environmental stressors, or working with your veterinarian if the cause is medical. With patience and attention to your cat’s needs, you can curb unwanted spraying behaviors.


American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.). Why cats spray. ASPCA.

Brami, C., Grisot, C., Durant, J.L., Masse, M., Gatto, H., Do Thi Thanh Hien, T. (2016). Efficiency and Safety of Common Cleaning Products on Household Surfaces. Food and Environmental Virology, 8(4), 231-239.

Clorox Company. (n.d.). Safety Data Sheet: Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemon Fresh Scent.

Dumb Friends League. (n.d.). Cat spraying and marking.

RSPCA. (n.d.). Cat spraying and urine marking in cats.

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