Interestingly, more than a sense of sight, cats depend on their sense of smell to determine the elements in their surroundings.
Such is understandable considering that their sense of smell is 14 times more sensitive than humans.
Cats have around 200 million olfactory cells that extend throughout their head compared to 5 million in humans.
Therefore, it is essential to know the smells cats hate and love.
Moreover, to help you understand felines better, we’ve laid out some interesting facts about cats – their nose and their sense of smell.
We’ll also discuss how cats use their nose.
Interesting facts about cats’ nose and their sense of smell
Mutual sniffing is a feline greeting
If you've noticed your cat sniffing another cat's nose, sides or butt, don't worry.
He's not assessing the other cat. It means that they are in good terms.
Their sniffing is equivalent to humans' hi-five, shake hands, or a quick kiss.
Cat’s Nose Color is Directly Related to it’s Fur Color
If you haven't observed this before, black cats have black noses; white ones have pink, orange ones have orange, you get the point!
Multi-colored? It’s highly possible that they have a multi-colored nose too. Although, some felines go through color changes in their nose through time.
No Two Cats Nose Prints are the Same
The nose prints of cats are equivalent to human fingerprints.
Their prints have unique patterns of bumps and ridges that make them different from nose prints of other cats.
When Cats Lick Their Noses
There are varying explanations as to why cats lick their noses.
Some say that it’s felines’ way of cleaning themselves – to remove any residue of smells cats hate.
Others say that a cat is anxious or nervous when it licks it’s nose.
How Cats Use Scent and their Nose
To Smell Food
Starting from the moment after its birth, a kitten depends on smell to locate its mother.
Since a kitten cannot immediately open its eyes days after birth, it will sniff around to get closer to the mother cat.
The mother cat’s smell then serves as their cue that it’s time to eat (or drink their milk)!
Once a cat ages, it’s sense of smell weakens along with its sense of sight.
As such, there may be times that it won’t be able to locate its food quickly.
When this happens, you may help your cat by warming the food a little to enhance its odor.
To locate a mate
When female cats are in heat, they exude a sexual pheromone that can smoothly be scented by male cats even from great distances.
Establishing Territorial Lines
Male cats, on the other hand, establish their territory with urine or with pheromones from glands in their face and feet.
They will usually walk through their boundaries and sniff at their markings. If their scent is gone, they will re-apply.
Other cats that smell these markings will either respect the marked territory or try to take over by applying their scents.
Warn Against Enemies and Danger
Cats’ olfactory nerves and their Jacobson’s organ can also tell if there’s potential harm.
Scents that make cats say NAY
You should be aware that there are things found in your house that for you may not smell strongly.
However, for your cat, they may be irritants or worse, dangerous.
Look around you. You might want to ask yourself, “is coffee bad for cats?” “Is cinnamon bad for cats?”
How about your essential oils or your scented candle?
To help you answer such questions, here are the foods, plants, and spices that you should use and store carefully.
Cats and Citrus
Although most humans find citrus scent helpful, especially for boosting energy and alertness, cats and citrus don't go together.
Oranges, limes, and lemons are among those smells that cats hate. Their scent tends to be an assault to the overly sensitive noses of cats.
However, when it comes to taste, some cats and citrus may work out.
Some cat breeds tend to enjoy the taste of citrus. Well, except for those of lemons as they are toxic to cats.
Cats and Bananas
Another usual item in your household smells cats hate, are those of bananas. Even the banana peel can drive cats away.
If you want to keep your feline off your sofa or table, just rub the outside of a banana peel on it.
Cats and Mint, Wintergreen and Menthol
While most humans love these three for their cooling effect, mint, wintergreen, and menthol are smells cats hate.
Namely, they make cats irritable. Although cats would naturally keep away from them, you should still keep them away as a precaution.
Cats and Herbal Spices and Scents
In general, cats aren't a fan of most plant smells. To be specific, this includes lavender, rue, geranium, absinthe, and lemon thyme.
If you have a garden that’s still frequented by your cats, try including these plants around.
They exude smells that cats hate so they instantly make your garden off-limits from your cats.
Cats and Spicy Scents
Cayenne pepper can instantly make your cat run away. Additionally, cats are not a fan of other spicy things as well, including curry and mustard.
They have smells cats hate, and for them, spicy foods are toxic.
Some are also immediately shunned away by heavily-seasoned foods.
Other scents that cats hate
This may be a surprise, but it's not advisable to give your gone-off fish lunch to your pet cat. Just like humans, they hate everything that's out of date.
They can get ill if you force them to eat out-of-date fish.
Dirty Litter Box
Another aspect where cats are similar to humans is their dislike of bad-smelling bathrooms.
If you don’t pay particular attention to your cat’s litter box, there will come a time when he will no longer use it.
As you clean your cat's litter box, make sure that you wash it thoroughly afterward. Make sure that there are no remnants of soap or other chemicals you used.
This is because the soap, deodorant, and other chemicals have smells cats hate.
Some commercial sprays and even mothballs are poisonous to them.
So make sure that you store any insecticide or cleaning product safely away from the reach of your cat.
FAQs: Other things you might want to know about cats’ sense of smell
Is cinnamon bad for cats?
The short answer is, yes. Cinnamon does not only irritate cats. In oil form, it can cause liver damage to them that can lead to fatality.
Do cats hate the smell of the water?
Cats natural repulse from water traces back to a long history of its evolution.
Although there hasn’t been a conclusive finding that cats hate the smell of water, there are some speculations that they may be repelled by the scent of chemicals used in tap water.
Do cats hate the smell of other cats?
You might be wondering why your cat is friendly with some cats and not with others.
Well, just like humans, felines can establish “friendship” with other felines they regularly have contact with.
As such, their smell won’t irritate your pet cat.
However, should a stray feline come into your yard, you may very well expect your cat to keep it away.
Felines are territorial, and they also have a natural tendency to protect its territory from foreign elements.
At this point, you may be surprised to realize that there are a lot of ordinary household items that disappoint your feline’s olfactory nerves.
Remember to keep them away from your feline if you want to establish a healthy, loving relationship with your pet.