What Smells do Cats Hate?


Do you have a cat? If so, you’ve probably wondered what smells cats hate. It’s not easy living with a feline friend, is it? They always seem to be wanting something from us. Cats are known for their sense of smell. They have a much better sense of smell than we do. Their noses are full of scent receptors that allow them to smell things that we can’t even imagine. So, it’s no surprise that there are some smells that cats hate. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the smells that cats hate and why.

1. Vinegar

Cats hate the scent of vinegar because it is so strong and pungent. Vinegar is made from acetic acid, which is a sour-tasting compound. When you spray vinegar around your house, your cat will probably run the other way. The smell of vinegar affects cats’ respiratory systems. Inhaling vinegar can cause your cat to have difficulty breathing.

2. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular scents for humans, but cats really can’t stand it. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that are toxic to cats if ingested in large quantities. So, it’s best to keep this one away from your feline friend. If a cat smells lavender, it may start to sneeze or have breathing problems.

3. Essential oil

While humans love the soothing scents of floral fragrances the cats dislike them the most. According to PetKeen, any essential oil with a strong scent is likely to send your feline friend running for the hills. Essential oils contain hazardous compounds that can be harmful if ingested by cats. When cats inhale the scents of essential oil, they may cough, sneeze or have difficulty breathing. If you must use essential oils in your home, keep them away from areas where your cat spends time, and never use them on your cat directly.

4. Coffee

Cats are very sensitive to smells, so it’s no surprise that they hate the smell of coffee. The strong aroma of coffee beans can be overwhelming for cats, and it can also be harmful if they inhale too much of it. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can be toxic to cats in large doses. If your cat comes into contact with coffee, wash them off immediately and keep them away from the coffee beans.

5. Hot pepper

Cats hate the smell of hot pepper, and for a good reason. According to Hepper, the strong aroma of capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, can irritate a cat’s nose and throat. Inhaling too much capsaicin can even cause respiratory distress in cats. Keep the pepper away from the cat if you use it in your cooking.

6. Rosemary and thyme

Rosemary and thyme are common cooking herbs that contain strong scents that cats dislike. Although they are harmless to cats, their compounds are concentrated and can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression in cats. Avoid using these herbs, especially with essential oils, as they will only bring discomfort to the cat.

7. Citrus

The strong scent of citrus fruits is another smell that cats hate. Citrus fruits contain a compound called limonene, which is an irritant to cats. Inhaling too much limonene can cause respiratory irritation in cats, so it’s best to keep them away from areas where citrus fruits are being used. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and lime are acidic and toxic to cats.

8. Dirty litter

Cats use their urine to mark their territory, so it’s no surprise that they hate the smell of dirty litter. According to GreatPetCare, the ammonia in urine can be irritating to cats, and inhaling too much of it can cause respiratory problems. If you have a cat, clean their litter box regularly. This will help to keep the litter box clean and reduce the chances of ammonia build-up. Also, if you have several cats, have enough litter boxes so that each cat has their own. Litter that is not scooped regularly can build up bacteria and other toxins that can be harmful to cats.

How to get rid of smells that cats hate in your house

There are several ways to get rid of smells that cats hate in your house. They include:

Vacuuming regularly

Vacuuming will help to remove the smells from your carpets and furniture. It gets rid of the dirt, dust, and other particles that can absorb the smells. Ensure you vacuum regularly, especially in areas where your cat spends a lot of time. Be sure to use a pet-friendly vacuum cleaner that is safe for cats.

Clean the litter box regularly

It is important to clean the litter box regularly to prevent the build-up of odors that the cat may hate. By scooping out the waste daily, you can help to keep the litter box clean and free of odors.

Clean garbage can

Keep your garbage can clean and free of any strong-smelling garbage. Regularly empty the garbage can and clean it with a pet-friendly cleaner. This will help reduce the number of smells your cat has to deal with daily.

Proper ventilation

If your house smells strongly of something that your cat hates, try to ventilate the area as much as possible. Open windows and doors to let fresh air in and help to dissipate the offending smell.

Proper storage

If you have planted herbs in your house, make sure that they are properly stored away from your cat’s reach. You can have them in one room, and you can have other rooms to enjoy. This also applies to perfumes.

Unscented candles

If you enjoy candles, opt for unscented varieties. This way, you can enjoy the ambiance of candles without making your cat’s life a living hell. Unscented candles have no smell, making them ideal for homes with cats.


Cats are very sensitive to smells, and it’s important to be aware of the smells that they hate. If you have a cat, keep it away from areas where strong scents are present. Also, avoid using scented products around your cat. If you must use them, use them sparingly and keep them out of your cat’s reach. By taking some simple steps, you can make your home a more pleasant place for both you and your cat.

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