What Smell Do Cats Hate: 10 Scents Cats Hate



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Ever notice your cat dart out of the room when you light a candle or try on a new perfume? A cat’s nose is extremely sensitive, so certain scents often irritate them.

Cats dislike strong smells like citrus fruits, coffee grounds, spices, and many essential oils. Some of these substances are toxic to cats, while others irritate their nose.

What Smell Do Cats Hate 10 Scents Cats Hate. A Brown and black striped Tortoiseshell Cat with a white chest and paws, sitting on a path in a garden facing forward with its eyes shut and its tongue out pointing down, next to grass and small white flowers and small purple flowers.

Read on to learn more about the scents cats hate and whether these substances harm your cat.

10 Smells Cats Hate

1. Citrus Fruits

The strong smell of citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, and orange peels, is enough to have your cat scurrying out of the room. The pungent, sour scent is a strong trigger for most cats, and for a good reason!

Citrus fruits are mildly toxic for cats. Licking, biting, or eating even a tiny piece can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. If you want to keep your cats away from a particular place or off the kitchen counters, try using a lemon-scented spray. Dilute lemon juice in water or add a few drops of lemon essential oils to create a natural scent deterrent.

2. Coffee Grounds

Does your cat hate the scent of your morning coffee? That’s probably a good thing since caffeine is toxic to cats. Coffee grounds, beans, or even brewed coffee should be kept away from cats and dogs.

If your cat has ingested caffeine, you should immediately take them to the vet. They may recommend inducing vomiting or other treatment options like activated charcoal, antiemetics, or intravenous fluids. While you shouldn’t use coffee to keep cats away from a space, you can use coffee-scented perfume to keep your cat from scratching your new sofa cushions.

3. Spices and Pepper Flakes

The strong scent of spices can be incredibly overwhelming for your cat. If you’re wondering which smells cats hate, pepper flakes rank pretty high.

That’s because peppers come with a chemical called capsaicin, which is a toxin for felines. If your pet accidentally ingests or licks pepper flakes, it can result in skin rashes, stomach problems, intestinal issues, and mouth burn. So beware!

4. Essential Oils

Many cats also dislike the aroma of essential oils. These oils are different from perfumes because they use natural extracts from plants that can potentially harm your cat. Cat owners have to be incredibly cautious when it comes to using essential oils in their homes.

Cats hate scents like eucalyptus, peppermint, citrus fruit, and tea tree oil, all popular notes in essential oil products.

5. White Vinegar

The pungent smell of white vinegar overwhelms a human’s sense of smell, so you can only imagine what it’ll do to your cat’s multiple scent receptors. That said, vinegar is not toxic for your cats, so it’s a safe product to use as a cat repellant. Dilute your vinegar with water and spray it directly onto the surface you want to keep cat free!

6. Lavender plants

The strong scent of lavender will deter cats from entering a space. Lavender is also toxic for cats, so ensure no potted lavender is within reach of your pets. If you’re trying to chase cats away from a particular space, you can dilute lavender oil in water or vinegar to create a harmless cat deterrent.

7. Rosemary

Another scent that will repel cats is rosemary. Luckily, rosemary is entirely safe for cats to consume! So if you are looking for a nontoxic natural substance to deter cats, check out rosemary plants.

Potted rosemary makes a great addition to a kitchen garden, while rosemary oil will create an odor your cat hates. It’s best not to spray perfume directly onto a surface since high concentrations can still irritate your cat.

8. Dirty Litter Box

Cats are incredibly clean animals. They’re obsessed with grooming themselves and hate the smell of a dirty litter box. If your cat has been pooping outside the litter box, it may be because you’re not cleaning it often enough.

Alternatively, a cat may refuse to use a litter box other cats have been using. This is because the strong scent of another feline is offputting for any cat. Understanding the impact of smells on your pet’s life can go a long way in helping you understand cat behavior. If you’re housing several cats, separate litter boxes are a must.

9. Thyme

Another popular garden herb, thyme, is also offensive to cats. So if you’re planting rosemary and thyme, it’ll keep stray cats out of your garden. While thyme is safe for cats to consume, most won’t come anywhere near the pungent stench!

9. Peppermint

Cats hate all forms of mint! All felines universally hate certain smells, and peppermint is only second to citrus scents. Cats stay well away from any form of mint, potted or otherwise.

Of course, if you consider planting mint in your garden, remember that it’s notorious for spreading faster than any weed. Your best bet is to keep your mint in a separate pot so it doesn’t soak up all the nutrients from your soil.

10. Bananas

While not all cats hate the smell of bananas, it can be a deterrent. Bananas have a strong, distinct scent that many cats find offputting. The peels especially have a pungent and bitter taste. Eating a banana peel can upset your cat’s stomach because ripening fruit contains a chemical called isoamyl acetate. In any case, it’s safest to keep this fruit well out of the reach of your feline friend.

Final Thoughts On Scents Cats Hate

Cats are incredibly sensitive creatures. As a cat guardian, you must ensure your cat feels safe and secure, especially at home. That means strong smells and loud noises must be avoided. Use nontoxic substances if you need to use a cat deterrent to keep them out of specific spaces.

You might find these other articles helpful:

20 Flowers That Are Safe For Cats

How To Repel Cats – 10 Humane Ways To Keep Them Away

Which Essential Oils Are Safe For Cats

Can You Move Your Cat’s Litter Box

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