10 Smells that Cats Hate

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 18, 2019
10 Smells that Cats Hate

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Cats are the animal embodiment of cleanliness. These rules, which are natural and innate in them, don't only apply to their personal hygiene. Rather, they are also applied to their environment and everything that has anything to do with them. Such is the case with smells, which is certainly an interesting topic within the feline world.

As a consequence of evolutionary processes, cats have their own respective olfactory preferences. Just as there are plenty of smells that they love, there are other smells that they simply cannot stand! Whether its food they can't digest, strong natural odours or potentially dangerous chemical substances, a cat will avoid certain odours at all costs.

In this new Animal Wised article we have investigated 10 smells that cats hate. What other scents does your cat hate? We'd love to know!

You may also be interested in: 10 Smells that Attract Cats

We understand felines

Firstly, you need to know that cats have a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than that of a human being. This is because, even though it is not physically obvious, the nasal organ of each cat is much bigger than that of a human being.The cat's olfactory system is distributed throughout its entire head, which gives them an amazing ability to smell.

Remember that cats, in this case, are also like people. There are some typical smells that are hated by the majority of cats, but even so, it depends on the individual. Some smells might be more repulsive to some cats than others. However, the following list is relevant for a large number of cats. Your cat, undoubtedly, could have a special sense of smell.

1- Citrus scents

Cats aren't fans of limes, oranges, lemons and similar smells. In fact, there are cat repellents which contain smells such as these. If, for example, you're trying to stop your cat eating all of the flowers in your garden, you can spray them with some orange oil or scatter the peel of some of these fruits around them. They don't like the taste very much either, so it's quite possible that they stay away from the area where they see a high presence of these elements.

2- Banana

Even though they are very tasty and high in potassium, cats don't get on very well with this fruit. Rub the outside of a banana peel on the sofa, or leave it there for a day, if you don't want your cat to have a nap there and leave their hair all over it.

3- Dirty litter box

Who likes to go to a bad-smelling bathroom? The same applies to cats when their litter box is dirty. Under no circumstances will they want to go near it. A dirty litter box could cause your cat to get angry with you and, as a way of getting back at you, make their own litter box on an expensive rug. Or, on an exotic plant and even on an item of clothing that has fell to the floor.

4 - Pine

Even though some natural sands comprise of this type of material (making it more pleasant for the cat in every sense), you mustn't abuse the intensity of this smell. Doing so would have the opposite effect on the cat, to the point in which tit ends up hating the sand and rejecting it. By rotating the smells of the sand, and choosing more neutral-smelling ones, you'll ensure that your cat doesn't get fed up of them.

5- Poor condition fish

This is another similarity between cats and human beings. There is a huge difference between liking the taste of fish and liking the smell of it once it's gone-off. Cats, just like humans, hate everything that is out of date. We recommend that you never give your cat out of date fish: firstly, because they won't eat it, and secondly, because if you force them, they will get ill or you could end up poisoning them.

10 Smells that Cats Hate - We understand felines

Other smells

6 - Pepper

Cats don't appreciate the smells of spicy or heavily seasoned foods such as pepper, mustard or even curry. Their sense of smell perceives these as if they are toxic.

7 - Soaps and deodorants

Strong and chemical smells are rejected by cats. Be careful with the soaps and cleaning products that you get, both for cleaning the house and their litter box and food bowl. And even your personal hygiene products! Remember that odours attract or repel felines.

8 - Essential oils

Cats love most flowers and plants, they can interact with them without problem. Otherwise you wouldn't have much of a problem keeping out of your garden. However, due to their strong sense of smell, they have problems with essential oils. They are too overpowering and can cause them to have quite a severe reaction. This is not to mention the fact that there are some plants which are toxic to cats. While smelling shouldn't do them much harm, ingesting their leaves, flowers or even essential oils can.

9 - Eucalyptus

Most cats are averse to the smell of some plants because they are toxic for them. A typical example is their rejection of eucalyptus, since their essential oils can be harmful for the animal, and they know it. Nature is wise.

10 - Other cats

This rejection is the most interesting of all. Cats aren't irritated by the smells of their cat friends or felines with which they come into regular contact with. However, the smell of a new cat at home could get on their nerves. Remember that cats are very territorial animals. We humans connect with other individuals through other means, whereas cats regularly connect through smell alone.

10 Smells that Cats Hate - Other smells

If you would like to read more similar articles, we recommend you visit our facts about the animal kingdom section.

If you want to read similar articles to 10 Smells that Cats Hate, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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What did you think of this article?
Mari H
I'm confused a bit regarding lavender and thyme. It was said in the smells to attract cats that they are attracted to both.... Guess I'll just have to do my own experiment.
Pauline Head
I have two little boogers that like to scratch whatever they can get their paws on. I trim their front paw nails and have a scratching post for them. One of them has already dug a hole into my deceased Aunts good rug. What citrus sprays are safe around Sammy and Rascal? I love the scent of oranges but I don't want to harm them. Any suggestions please and thank you.
Oranges are acidic fruits and the article says that cats don't like acidic fruit smells, not that they are toxic.

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