Facts about the animal kingdom

10 Smells that Cats Hate

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 19, 2020
10 Smells that Cats Hate

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Cats are very clean and observant animals. We often see them sniffing many things, whether it's an object, an animal or even us. If you have a pet cat you may have wondered what types of smells they don't like.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to tell you the top 10 smells cats hate. Some of them you may know already, whereas others may surprise you. Continue reading to learn more!

You may also be interested in: 10 Smells that Attract Cats
  1. Sense of smell in cats
  2. Citrus scents
  3. Banana
  4. Dirty litter box
  5. Pine
  6. Old fish
  7. Pepper
  8. Soaps and deodorants
  9. Essential oils
  10. Eucalyptus
  11. Other cats
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Sense of smell in cats

Did you know cats have a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than that of a human being? This is because their nasal organ is bigger than ours. A cat's olfactory system is distributed throughout its entire head, which gives them an amazing ability to smell. This fact is important to keep in mind as we go through our list of smells cats don't like.

Most cats don't enjoy smells humans don't like. However, there are also some other interesting smells that they hate but that we might enjoy.

1. Citrus scents

The first scent is any citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, etc. In fact, these foods are used as natural repellents for unwanted cats in certain areas, such as a garden. Cats not only dislike the smell but they also hate the taste of any citrus fruit.

10 Smells that Cats Hate - 1. Citrus scents

2. Banana

Banana is another fruit that can keep a cat away due to the scent. Although tasty and high in potassium, cats don't seem to be so impressed with this scent. Many people rub a banana peel on the sofa or table to keep their cat away from there.

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. In fact, this may lead them to relieve themselves in another area. So, don't forget to provide your cat with enough litter boxes, and make sure they are regularly cleaned!

4. Pine

Even though some natural sands comprise of this type of material, making it more pleasant for the cat, 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. Instead, opt for neutral-scented sand so your cat is comfortable with their litter box and uses it instead of going elsewhere.

5. Old 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 spoiled fish.

You should also make sure your garbage is covered so it doesn't smell and bother your cat whose sense of smell is heightened in comparison to us.

10 Smells that Cats Hate - 5. Old fish

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. Therefore, if you cook for your cat, keep it plain. Cats enjoy cooked meat with no spices.

7. Soaps and deodorants

Cats do not appreciate strong chemical smells. Be careful with the soaps and cleaning products you use around the house. You must be especially careful with the products you use to clean their litter box and food bowls as they need to be non-toxic to your cat. Keep it plain and natural!

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 to them, and they know it. Nature is wise!

10 Smells that Cats Hate - 9. Eucalyptus

10. Other cats

Cats may also dislike the smell of other cats they are not used to. This usually has more to do with territory and safety than the actual smell. Nevertheless, unless it is their human companion or another animal in their household, cats will typically not appreciate the smell of any other animal.

If you would like to read more articles likes this one, we recommend you check out our section on facts about the animal kingdom. We also encourage you to check out our video down below about 10 things cat hate!

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?
Bananas? my cat ate bananas as a snack. not sure if that's true... Also pine does NOT bother cats. You can see literally thousands of videos of cats climbing Christmas trees and even knocking them over. The biggest thing that cats do not like is citrus. I've never seen a case where a cat enjoyed the smell or taste.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Jonathan,

Not all cats will be the same and there are likely exceptions. Also, for pine, there is not much of an odor from the tree as it is. It refers to more concentrated pine smells, some of which you can find on air fresheners, etc. However, not all cats are the same and these are just general suggestions which may work.
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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10 Smells that Cats Hate