Three Smells Cats Hate the Most, and Why?


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Each one of us has certain fragrances and aromas which we find irresistible. But there are also stenches that we absolutely abhor. Similarly, cats, too, have certain smells that they like and those that they really hate.

While it's important to learn about the smells they enjoy, it's more so necessary to identify the smells cats hate; because these smells not only pose an olfactory discomfort but may also lead to illness in your cat.

Here are three smells that you should never expose your feline to:

  • Citrus – lime, lemon, orange, mandarin & grapefruit

Topping the list of smells cats really detest is citrus.

Felines absolutely hate any citrusy smell. In fact, citrus smells are so famous for being hated by cats that companies make cat repellants using citrus-derived enzymes. While citrus fragrances aren't toxic, they may cause acute discomfort and irritation in their nose and throats if your cats are sensitive, to begin with.

Although the definitive reason for this dislike isn't known, some scientists believe that the very strong smell emanated by citrus fruits and vegetables may be too much for the sensitive olfactory cells of the cat. After all, cats have one of the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom. So a citrus smell can feel like a painful onslaught.

  • Feces and urine smell from dirty litter boxes

Everyone knows that cats are clean animals. But their obsession with cleanliness is so strong that it extends to their immediate surroundings too. Give a cat an uncleaned litter box, and in all probability, she will give you a look of pure contempt and walk away.

Cats hate the lingering smell of feces and urine. Even the slightest smell can put them off. They'd rather go on your new carpet than seat themselves in something so smelly.

It's very important that you clean and wash your kitty's litter box every day. Nothing less than a deep clean will keep your cat happy. The litter, too, should be changed every two weeks, earlier if you have multiple cats.

  • Lavender

We human beings have such a loving relationship with lavender; that we often find it shocking that other animals do not share our feelings. Your cat is one among them.

Lavender (even dried leaves, oils, and balms) contain two chemical compounds called linalyl acetate and linalool, which are absolutely deadly to cats. Ingesting lavender (either as food or as an essential oil) can lead to lavender poisoning in cats and cause digestive stress, respiratory problems, and an elevated heart rate. But call it a miracle of God or the power of evolution; cats have an in-built radar for lavender, and they actively avoid getting anywhere near the plant. So, in all likelihood, they'll avoid any space that smells remotely like lavender. Even so, as a general rule, avoid spraying lavender-scented room fresheners or using lavender detergents. It would help if you also steered clear of having lavender plants in your garden too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What scents are toxic to cats?

There are several scents that are toxic to cats and can cause health problems ranging from mild to severe. Many essential oils, such as tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and citrus oil, are toxic to cats and can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Certain types of lilies, such as Easter lilies and tiger lilies, are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure. These oils are often used in cleaning products and can cause respiratory problems in cats if they are inhaled. Many household cleaners, such as bleach and ammonia, are toxic to cats and can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Mothballs contain chemicals that are toxic to cats and can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. If you suspect that your cat has been exposed to a toxic scent or substance, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately for advice and treatment.

Can the smell of peppermint hurt cats?

Peppermint oil, like many other essential oils, contains various chemical compounds, including phenols and phenolic compounds. These compounds are responsible for many of the beneficial properties associated with peppermint oil, such as its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. However, while these compounds may be beneficial in certain contexts, they can also be harmful to cats if ingested or applied topically in high concentrations. Phenols and phenolic compounds can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, and they can also be toxic to the liver and other organs if ingested in large amounts.

Is Vicks VapoRub toxic to cats?

Yes, Vicks VapoRub can be toxic to cats. Vicks VapoRub contains several ingredients that are potentially harmful to cats if ingested or applied topically. The most concerning of these ingredients is camphor, which is a type of terpene that can cause a range of adverse effects in cats, including tremors, seizures, respiratory distress, and liver damage. Ingesting even a small amount of Vicks VapoRub can be dangerous for cats, and applying it topically can also be harmful if the cat licks or ingests the product. For this reason, it's generally recommended to avoid using Vicks VapoRub or any other similar products on or around your cat, especially without consulting with your veterinarian first.

Are lemons toxic to cats?

The stems, leaves, seeds, and peels of citrus fruits can be dangerous to cats, as they contain varying levels of citric acid and essential oils that can be irritating to a cat's nervous system. These parts of the citrus fruit can also contain other compounds that may be toxic to cats. For example, citrus leaves and stems contain a chemical compound called psoralen, which can cause photosensitivity and skin irritation in cats. Additionally, citrus seeds contain small amounts of a toxic compound called amygdalin, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and even cyanide poisoning in cats if ingested in large amounts.

What spices do cats hate?

Pepper, curry, and cinnamon are all spices that may have strong aromas and flavors that some cats may find unpleasant or overwhelming. While there is no definitive list of spices that cats universally dislike, some cats may be sensitive to the strong, pungent aromas of these spices. Some cats may also find the smell of citrus or menthol to be unpleasant or overwhelming.

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