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What Smells Do Cats Hate?

Cats feel smells differently than humans. While certain smells might make us feel like we’re in paradise, they could make a feline feel like it’s about to throw up. Basically, cats value hygiene a lot, and that doesn’t only involve personal hygiene, but also the environmental one. If a bad smell is affecting their home, they aren’t going to feel too good about it.

While humans have 5 million olfactory receptors, cats have from 45 to 80 million similar receptors. That being said, if your pet’s litter box’s smell is too much for you to handle, you can only imagine what it does to your cat.

So, what are the smells that cats hate? Read this article to find out.

Why Is a Cat’s Smelling Ability So Important?

Your cat’s olfactory abilities aren’t there just as a fancy power – they actually serve some purposes that impact its life. Generally, their smelling capabilities help with:

  • Hunting

Cats are well-known hunters, so it only makes sense that their strong sense of smell is used in this regard. Their olfactory senses are powerful ever since they’re babies, as they can easily find the location of their mother, despite their eyes still being closed.

While humans rely mostly on visual abilities when hunting, cats rely on their little nose. Even their visual capabilities are much better than ours given they are amazing predators during the dark, but they are more focused on using their nose.

The nose helps them detect if there is something’s nearby and if it’s time to hide and wait for the moment to strike.

  • Reproduction

Besides hunting, the nose also helps male cats when it comes to finding female cats to reproduce. When female cats are in heat, they secrete a chemical that can be felt by male cats, even when they’re miles away. Basically, kitties have this organ that is known as Jacobson’s organ, which is used for smelling pheromones.

At the same time, males leave a chemical that allows a female cat to determine whether they’re qualified to become mates or not.

Therefore, their smell is one of the things contributing to finding mates and reproducing.

  • Survival

Not only does their smell help with hunting and finding their prey, but it also allows them to sense when enemies are nearby. Due to Jacobson’s organ, they can easily sense their predators, mates, and competition, thus being able to seek shelter.

This gland that lets them detect predators is located in their mouth, and if you’ve ever seen your kitty “smile” when smelling certain odors, then that’s the reason.

  • Interaction

As mentioned, cats can sense pheromones. Pheromones are basically chemicals that allow animals to communicate with each other, and cats can produce them too. Usually, when they are spraying pheromones, they are trying to tell other cats that they’ve claimed their territory. So, their sense of smell will help them understand the messages from other animals and know when to approach or back off.

What Are the Smells Cats Hate?

We have smells that we can’t stand, so cats are no different than us. Furthermore, given their powerful nasal organ, they feel smells much differently than humans do. So, it’s no surprise that particular smells will be repulsive to cats, as they are too strong for them.

Here are some smells that cats generally hate:

  • Essential Oils

Usually, cats love flowers and have no issue being near them. Even so, they seem to have a big problem with essential oils due to their strong sense of smell. Basically, essential oils have a very powerful scent – this is why cats feel the need to distance themselves as much as they can when they sense such a smell.

In addition, certain plants can be toxic to cats, which could be one more reason why they’re afraid of essential oils.

  • Dirty Litter Box

If you’ve ever been inside a dirty public bathroom, then you know the disgust you’ve felt, because of the aspect and the smell. In other words, you’d rather avoid visiting such a bathroom at all than having to deal with it.

Your cat will feel the same if its litter box is not properly maintained. A smelly box will encourage it to keep the distance, and possibly even leave you a little gift on your freshly cleaned floor or expensive rug. Therefore, make sure your kitty’s litter box is clean at all times.

  • Citrus

As much as you may love oranges, lemons, limes or anything of the sort, your cats might not have the same positive opinion in regard to these fruits’ smell. On the contrary, it works as a repellent against your felines. So, if you just ate an orange, for example, your cat might be avoiding your hand while you’re trying to pet it.

In a way, it’s very useful as you can use citrus scents on certain flowers in your garden, so your cat stops eating them.

  • Pepper

Spicy foods might be delicious to people, and the smell could make your mouth water in a matter of seconds. When it comes to your furry friends, though, they will want to stay away from anything spicy. Whether it’s pepper, curry, mustard or anything similar, they won’t appreciate it. Moreover, their noses perceive them as toxic, which could be one more reason why they stay away from these spices.

  • Banana

Despite being delicious fruits rich in vitamins, kitties don’t appreciate bananas the same way we do. For some reason, they can’t stand the smell. That is why it’s an amazing repellent in case you want to keep your cat away from a certain area. You can simply rub the outside of the peel and your pet will refrain from sitting there.

  • Bad Fish

Sure, cats might love fish, but food doesn’t maintain its amazing condition forever, and cats can easily feel that. Just like you hate the smell of products that have gone out of date, your little kitty is no different, and will easily refuse a full fish if it doesn’t like the smell.

As such, if you’re giving your cat a piece of fish and it refuses to eat it, it’s not being overly-pretentions – it might be pointing to the fact that the fish is out of date.

  • New Cats

Cats can live in harmony in the company of other fellow felines, especially if they’ve grown up together and are used to each other. However, if you bring a new cat home, they will not be fond of your gesture. In fact, they could even become a little too territorial. After all, cats are territorial creatures, and a new feline might challenge their authority.

Unlike humans, who connect with each other through talking and other things, cats connect through smell, which is why a new smell might not be appealing to them.

  • Deodorants and Soaps

We, as humans, need soaps and deodorants to maintain our hygiene. We come in contact with a wide variety of scents, and we are in awe whenever a soapy/clean smell reaches our nasal tract.

On the other hand, cats don’t do well in the presence of soaps and deodorants, mostly because they are composed of chemicals. This is why you need to be very careful when you clean the house, as well as the cat’s litter box because it is very sensitive to certain smells. Also, it might find some of these smells toxic.

  • Pine

Nothing is good when it comes in huge quantities. Pine might smell amazing and feel pleasant even for your cat, but when you abuse the substance, it might put your kitty off immediately.

There are natural sands that contain this material, and if abused, your kitty might hate the sand altogether and avoid going near it. This is why it’s important to choose rather neutral smelling sands, so your cat doesn’t end up rejecting them like the plague.

  • Cinnamon

You might be enamored by the smell of cinnamon, and rightfully so. When added to desserts, drinks, and other things, it enhances the smell and overall taste.

However, your cat is different. Just like lavender, rosemary, and rue, cinnamon becomes toxic for your cat when in oil form. If you want to use these oils, you might want to be very careful at the amount you’re adding, because you don’t want your cat to end up with a severe health condition.

  • Eucalyptus

Although you might like this plant a lot, it’s quite the opposite for your four-legged friend. Eucalyptus will get highly rejected by a feline, due to the fact that its essential oil is toxic to them. Therefore, you should know why your cat acts “disgusted” if it smells eucalyptus by any chance.

Final Thoughts

As you were able to see, cats have a wide range of smells they can’t stand. Because of their impressive nasal abilities, some smells are either too strong for them or just plain toxic. This is why you should be very careful with the scents you’re using near them, so you don’t end up repelling or harming your beloved pet.