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What Smells Do Cats Not Like

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What Scents Do Cats Hate

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Knowing what smells your cat cant tolerate is important, as it allows you to keep noxious items out of your house or use them to your advantage.

While you can scatter some of these smells around areas that you want to discourage your cat from entering, be careful not to take things too far. Remember, their little noses are extremely powerful, and if you go overboard with the nasty odors, you can cause them to get sick.

However, most of the scents on this list are things that youd have to go out of your way to bring home, so you dont need to worry too much about offending your cats olfactory senses accidentally.

Featured image credit: Skitterphot, Pixabay

Contents Overview

Do Cats Hate The Smell Of Peppermint

Yes, cats hate the smell of herbs like peppermint as it is unpleasant to their sensitive nose. Even though peppermint oil can relieve inflammation or reduce stress, it is never safe to use around cats as it is toxic. If your cat is vomiting, lethargic, or passing loose stool, get it checked by your nearest veterinarian.

Surprising Smells That Cats Hate

by Grigorina S | Sep 29, 2020 | Training |

Do you know there are some smells that cats hate so much theyll avoid them at all costs!

Such knowledge might come in handy when youre trying to train your cat not to scratch your furniture or keep your pet away from the plants.

If youre curious to learn more, keep on reading to discover 19 smells that repel cats.

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  • What Smells Are Toxic to Cats?
  • Recommended Reading: What Is A Cat’s Normal Heart Rate

    Scents That Cats Hate

    Using scents that cats hate is a great way to deter their poor behaviors in your home, or to keep cats off your property outside. Cats have sensitive noses and can easily be repelled by certain scents!

    In truth, cats are very sensitive to smell and are much more sensitive to smells and odors than humans. You can use this trait to your advantage to repel cats. Some of the scents that cats hate are lemon, grapefruit, orange, citrus, lavender, white vinegar, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, and pine.

    Read on to learn more about what scents cats hate and how to use them to deter cats from negative behavior both inside and outside of your home. You can greatly reduce their bad behaviors by using something as simple as an unpleasant scent . This article will show you exactly how to do just that!

    Do Bengal Cats Like Water The Interesting Answer

    What Kind Of Smells Do Cats Not Like

    Bengal cats are a hybrid cat breed that originated from leopards and domestic cats. Often referred to as small, big cats, these unique cats are growing in popularity due to their similarity to big cats such as leopards, cheetahs, and tigers.

    Though they are about the same size, if not just a tad bigger than your typical domestic cat, their fur patterns resemble those of the much larger big cats cats of the wild. But are Bengal cats similar to big cats in their love for water? Or do they take more after their domestic cat origins, who are known for their skittishness when it comes to water?

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    Grapefruit Orange And Citrus Deter Cats

    These other citrus scents, such as grapefruit, lime, and orange are also a big no for most cats who are poking around. As with the lemon-scented spray mentioned above, you can also eave the peels of citrus fruits, such as oranges, limes, grapefruits, or lemons in your potted plants to help deter cats.

    Again, most citrus fruits are toxic to cats when ingested, so its best to place the peels in porous satchels where cats cant directly ingest the peels.

    What Smells Are Toxic To Cats

    Many essential oils with pleasant aromas are toxic to cats, including wintergreen, pine, peppermint, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, and clove.

    As such, you can sprinkle some coffee around the areas where you dont want your cat to enter.

    However, ensure your cat doesnt ingest any coffee grounds. Coffee contains caffeine, which is toxic to cats.

    As you can see, theres a good reason why cats hate certain smells and dont dare go near them.

    The pungent aroma prevents the cats from chewing on plants that could kill your pet if they consume enough or get exposed to dangerous chemicals.

    If a scent is strong for you, its probably unbearable for your cat.

    Keep that in mind, when you light candles and dont use essential oils around your cat.

    What do you think about these smells that cats hate? Which scents does your cat avoid? Tell us in the comment section.


    • 1. Why Cats Sniff Butts . vca_corporate. Available from:
    • 2. Johnson-Bennett P. What is the Vomeronosal Organ in Cats? . 2012. Available from:
    • 3. Lavender . ASPCA. . Available from:
    • 4. List of Essential Oils that are Safe for Your Cat . AvoDerm. 2020 . Available from:

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    What Spicy Scents Do Cats Like

    Ever noticed your cat come to watch while you cook? You might assume theyre there out of interest for the chicken, fish or meat. This is probably true, but theres more than meets the eye. While cats love a good protein fix you may be surprised to discover theyre in the kitchen to smell your cooking spices.

    Whats more, its not just house cats who love the smell of certain spices, big cats like them too! Both our little cats and lions and tigers tend to like the smell of ginger and cinnamon. Again though, this is down to your cats individual olfactory preference. Even though cats can like these scents, some will steer clear.

    Do Cats Hate The Smell Of Alcohol

    6 Smells That Many Cats Don’t Like

    Although some humans hate or like the smell of alcohol, they were rubbing it on surfaces will keep the cat away from it. You can either soak a ball in the alcohol or rub it on objects you want untouched by cats. Cats hate this because they have an ultra-sensitive nose, and the smell of alcohol is intense.

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    Bengal Cat Personality Type

    Similar to humans, the environment and the experiences of a cats life have a large impact on its personality. There are certain characteristics in Bengal cats that can be attributed to their beloved wildcat heritage. They are very energetic, intelligent, alert, and confident, just like leopards and many other big cats.

    Products That Help Repel Cats

    Vinegar is particularly useful when you are looking for a way to deter negative cat behaviors. You can use vinegar on its own to repel cats or you can mix it with any of the other essential oil varieties that cats do not like. Most DIY cat repelling sprays contain vinegar as at least part of their base ingredients list.

    A pre-made Cat & Kitten Training Aid with Bitter can also be very useful for keeping cats at bay inside your home. These sprays work by using scents that cats hate to deter them from bad cat behaviors like marking and scratching furniture, rugs, or curtains.

    Additionally, you can take a look at our piece on the best cat deterrents and repellents here!

    Also Check: How To Tell If Your Cat Has Diabetes

    Can Vinegar Keep Cats Away

    The smell of vinegar can keep your cats away from some specific areas and items in and around the house. It can be used as a cat deterrent and training tool. It is possible to prevent your cats from going to your furniture or other items that they are attracted to with the help of a liquid. Vinegar is also a great addition to your cats litter box.

    If you have a cat that likes to chew on litter boxes, you may want to consider adding a little vinegar to the box to deter them from doing so. You can also add a small amount to a spray bottle and spray it on the floor. This will make it more difficult for the cat to get into the litterbox and you will be able to catch them in the act of chewing.

    What Smells Do Cats Hate Plus A Few That Might Make Your Cat Purr

    What Kind Of Smells Do Cats Not Like

    Cats enjoy exploring the world around them and one important method of exploring is through scent. Smell is so important that cats have a special organ inside their mouths that helps to further investigate interesting smells.

    Once in a while, your cat will come across a smell they downright hate. They might squint, back away, or just up and leave the stinky space. The dislike for certain smells might be rooted in survival, says Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, Veterinary Medical Advisor for Rover and Chief Veterinarian at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital. Or it might be because their little noses have 40 times more olfactory receptors than us, easily making smells overwhelming.

    What smells do cats hate? We have the listand some might surprise you. But as we cat lovers know, no two cats are quite alike. So, dont be shocked if your cat doesnt turn their nose up at some of the most hated cat smells.

    iStock/Tatiana Stepanishcheva

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    What Smells Do Cats Hate Heres The Complete List

    Cats are known to have a highly developed sense of smell. They can identify odors that are not significantly distinguishable for humans.

    Their sense of smell is even stronger than dogs. Therefore, they do not welcome all kinds of scents and are very selective about their preferences. Cats hate certain smells, and it makes them irritable and stressed.

    Cat Insurance For A Soft Landing

    They say cats have nine lives and always land on their feet. We now also know they can probably smell danger from a mile away. That said, accidents do happen and its wise to have pet insurance. That way, whether its a minor scrape or a major break, you can think about your cat rather than the cost.

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    Understanding A Cats Sense Of Smell

    Cats noses developed over time to help them navigate their world and keep them safe, says Dr. Lindsay K. Merkel, an associate professor of small animal internal medicine at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Cats evolved behaviorally and developed their unique scent-processing anatomy in a way that was very different than humans, dogs, and other animals. Essentially, felines vacuum scents into their noses where specialized organs process them as either friend or foe .

    Most of the scents that are considered unpalatable or unfriendly to cats are considered so because theyre associated with danger, says Merkel. In particular, volatile organic compounds gases released into the air from a variety of products and processesoften serve as scent-based clues that tell cats to stay away from certain foods, substances, or plants .

    While some of the things cats hate to smell make perfect sense , others might come as a surprise.

    Citrus: Orange Lemon Lime And Grapefruit

    Funny Cats Reaction To Food And Bad Smells Cats React To Spicy Food

    Citrus smells are widely reported as being repugnant to cats. You can use this to your advantage by throwing orange peels around your garden to keep cats away or spritzing a citrus scent on indoor fabric that you dont want your cat scratching up. Citrus fruits are considered edible for cats , but the skins and plant material may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or dermatitis.

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    What Smells Do Cats Love

    Often cats can come to your garden because they are attracted to certain smells. It can be helpful to know which smells cats love, so you avoid having them in your garden. By eliminating any attractions, you will also be keeping the neighbourhood cats out and keeping your plants safe.

    A lot of different scents found in gardens attract cats. For instance, cats love the smell of roses. So it can come as a surprise, to see cats inclined towards flowers. Other flowers that cats love include sunflowers, nepeta, catnip, daisies, and dandelions.

    In addition to flowers, cats are also attracted to the scents of different herbs. Of course, we all like having herbs in our garden, but it would be best to eliminate the ones that attract cats. Some favourite cat herbs include oregano and parsley.

    While some essential oils can appear strong to cats, there are some that they love. For example, any essential oil which has a fruity scent to it will attract cats. In addition, essential oils like chamomile will also attract cats because of their relaxing properties.

    These are some of the scents which you should avoid having in your garden. It can be easy for plants that attract cats to go unnoticed, but it becomes easier if you have a checklist!

    Why The Scents Cats Hate Matters To You

    Understanding smells that felines hate may help you get to the bottom of some behavioral issues. Have you wondered why your cat runs and hides from you sometimes? It could be because of a certain smell.

    You can also use plants, orange peels, and coffee grounds to deter kitties from coming into your garden or roaming your property.

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    How To Use Smells As A Cat Deterrent

    If you know the kinds of smells that cats hate, you can use them as scent deterrents.

    You can utilize vinegar or citrus to deter cats from certain areas, Dr. Evans said. For example, you can spray one of these scents on your couch to teach your cat not to scratch it.

    And you dont have to worry about a gross smell either. The good news is that these aromas, , are pleasing to humans, Hudson said. So you can reroute your cats with, for example, potent cinnamon sticks that also act as a homey air freshener.

    There are also sprays made specifically as deterrents that you can buy, like this one .

    So next time youre wearing perfume or cologne, and your cat wont come anywhere near you, youll know that its nothing personal!

    We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.

    Smells That Dogs Dont Like

    Smells That Cats Just Do Not Like

    Dogs are lovely companions, loyal and tender, but they hate strong smells either chemicals or naturals.

    • Vinegar: it has a strong and disagreeable smell this is why it is used to correct undesirable behavior in our pets. For instance, keeping them from making a mess in the house.
    • Alcohol: it is another smell they dislike. For instance, it is not an appropriate product for disinfecting their wounds.
    • Nail polish remover and nail polish: these are strong, unpleasant smells for our dogs. It is better not to use them near our pets.
    • Naphthalene: it is highly toxic for dogs. It can cause them a lot of harm, so you should keep them out of their reach.

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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.

    How To Fix Bad Cat Behaviors

    There are a few popular and effective ways to correct bad cat behavior. Most of them involve deterring cats with smells, as we discuss in this article, or creating an environment that cats find offensive.

    Loud sounds can deter cats as they agave very sensitive hearing and they are easily startled by sudden and or loud noises. Ultrasonic repellers are quite effective at getting rid of cats on your property. Other loud sounds like bells, clapping, and any sudden noises will deter a cat from bad behavior.

    Of course, if you own a cat you know that you can deter a cat at the moment if you catch them doing something you dont want them to do, but they may come right back and do it again when you arent in the room or watching.

    Using scents that cats hate to deter bad cat behavior is slightly more effective inside the home than trying to use a loud noise deterrent because you can saturate an area with a spray and then walk away and when the cat returns, they will not want to be there because of the strong scent.

    Some people use textures to deter cats from jumping on counters, scratching, fabrics, or lying in areas that they are causing damage. Textured items like a plastic carpet runner or aluminum foil can be laid down in areas you want to keep your cat away from.

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    What Smells Do Cats Like

    If you want some cat-friendly air fresheners, there are certain smells that cats love.

    Cats love the smell of catnip, olives, non-citrus fruit for the most part and plants like honeysuckle, Dr. Evans said.

    A lot of cats like the scent of valerian root, which induces a similar euphoria to catnip, Hudson said. Valerian root is also an alternative for cats who arent affected by catnip.

    Your cat may like the smell of your chamomile tea, too . Chamomile leaves also attract cats and calm them as well, Hudson said. Chamomile has anti-anxiety properties for cats like it does for people, but ask your vet before giving your cat any because too much can be toxic.

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