Smells that Cats Hate

Smells that Cats Hate

A cat’s tiny nose is fascinating. There’s a lot more to its cuteness – the sense of smell is the most important sense for them. Cats have around 200 million odor-sensitive cells in their noses, compared to humans having only 5 million odor-sensitive cells. Aside from that, the entire nasal organs of cats are much bigger than humans – despite their small size. The olfactory system of cats extends through nearly their entire heads.

What smells do cats hate?

Since a cat’s sense of smell is so sensitive, strong scents can be uncomfortable. Some are even toxic and can affect a cat’s health. Knowing what smells cats hate will help you avoid or stop using scents that may irritate or negatively affect your cat.

Cats hate the following smells:

1. Citrus

Examples of citrus fruits are lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit. They have a very strong scent, which may feel like an attack on the sensitive noses of cats. The peels and juices of citrus fruits are famous deterrents for cats.

2. Mint

This is another naturally occurring scent that cats avoid. It can also be toxic to them although a cat has to eat a lot of it to become ill. If you use them regularly, keep them safely stored when not in use, as this will drive your cat away.

3. Banana

Cats don’t like the smell of bananas. This may be due to the potassium in bananas. It can mimic the smell of medications made with potassium chloride. 

4. Spicy Peppers

Cats also avoid spicy food or scents. Their sense of smell perceives these as if they are toxic although they eat sweeter varieties of peppers like bell peppers.

5. Some Essential Oils

There are some essential oils that cats don’t like, particularly lavender, cinnamon and lemongrass. Although pet owners can be enamored by lavender, it can pose danger to cats. In oil form, it becomes toxic and is known to cause liver damage and fatality.

6. Certain plants

Cats dislike the smell of rue, lemon thyme, geranium, and pennyroyal. The fragrance these plants produce is offensive to the noses of most cats. 

7. Dirty litter box

No one likes going to a bad-smelling bathroom. This also applies to cats when their litter box is smelly. Your cat might rebel and start making its own litter box on your rug or other inappropriate places.

8. Household Cleaners

Cats reject strong and chemical smells from common household cleaning solutions. Aside from that, they are often toxic when ingested. Be careful with the soaps, air fresheners, and cleaning products that you shop for – both for cleaning the house, your pet’s litter box, and food bowl. 

What do cats use their acute sense of smell for

Cats use their acute sense of smell for:

Finding food

A cat’s nose can determine the presence of nearby prey, launching an immediate predatory response. Kittens, which are born with their eyes shut, will use their sense of smell to locate their mother and latch onto a teat.  

cat smelling food
Image: / Lightspruch

Marking Territory

Male cats mark their territory with urine or with pheromones from glands in their face and feet. They will sniff at their markings, travel their territorial boundaries frequently, and reapply when the odor fades. Other male cats will smell the markings and either respect the territory or attempt to take it over by marking over top of the original. 

Social communication 

Felines relate to one another through their sense of smell. They show affection by rubbing their heads against each other and along the sides of their bodies. They deposit pheromones and oils from the scent glands located on their foreheads, cheeks and chins when they do this. They also do butt-sniffing as a sort of greeting. Spraying, on the other hand, is purely a territorial thing. 

Locating a mate

Female cats in heat discharge a powerful sex pheromone that can be sniffed by a male cat even at a distance of a mile away. Female cats can also scent out a preferred mate by sniffing the male’s territorial markings. 

Final Thoughts

Cats have sensitive noses and learning what kinds of smells they hate will help you as a pet owner to make your home a pleasant place for your kitty. On the flip side, you can use these smells to keep your cat of kitchen counters or other places you do not want them to go to. Remember, however, that cats are individuals. There are some scents that they dislike more than others.

Remember that if you can smell a strong scent, it is probably a hundred times worse for your pet.