Cats are hunters by nature. Preying animals rely on their strong sense of smell. When it comes to domestic animals, dogs are the most sensitive to smell. They have 300 million olfactory receptors which benefit them in surviving in a harsh noisy urban environment. However, our favourite pet cat is not less than them. They have 45 to 50 million olfactory receptors, which is for sure less than dogs but higher than human, who have only 5 million in comparison.

what smell does a cat hate

Cats rely on their acute sense of smell for food, safety and cognition. Understanding what smells do cats hate can be the beginning of creating a more conducive and likeable environment for you kitty claws. ( Read about How to make your cat more social? )

Citrus (not toxic)

Cats hate the citrus smell. Even to us humans, citrus smells are quite intense. A cat’s nose is far more sensitive than us. It is torture for them. Citrus scents are strong and a deterrent to cats. These scents are not toxic for them but are generally not liked by cats. However, a few cats might like the taste of citrus fruits.

cats vs citrus smell
Menthol (toxic)

Catnip is one of the favourite herbs of our feline friend. Mint, Wintergreen and Menthol are from the same family but cats are highly repulsive to it. They are cooling agents for us humans but are toxic to cats. Sniffing these herbs might make your cat allergic and run away from it. It is one of the most common scents that deter cats. These can be toxic if ingested by the cat. If you use these herbs frequently, it is best that you keep them away from your cats reach.


scents that deter cats
Cats hate Rosemary, Rue, Cinnamon, and Lavender

Humans use these spices to enrich their food. However, cats are deterred by these substances. For cats, lavender oil has been proved to be toxic and liver-damaging like other aromatic oils.

It is not just these smells but a lot more than deter cats. Paying keen attention to what your cat likes and dislikes can be a starting point to create a friendly environment for your cat.

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