What Smells Do Cats Hate?

As cat lovers, we know all about the different peculiarities of our feline friends. But, one thing that they all have in common is their keen sense of smell. And, our furry companions do have a way of letting us know if they don’t like the way something smells, don’t they? But, what smells do cats hate, and what scents do cats hate the most?

Not only do we want to know the smells cats can’t stand, but it’s also helpful to know how to use those aromas to our advantage. So, I decided to do a little research to find out what smells cats hate. Here’s some useful info about smells that your cat doesn’t want to be around.

Do Cats Hate Vinegar?

Vinegar is definitely one of the smells that cats will avoid, making it very useful if you have a cat that tends to urinate or spray on furniture, carpeting, or walls.

You can keep vinegar diluted in a spray bottle and spray areas that are problematic. You can play with the ratio of vinegar to water a bit to find the right balance for both your kitty’s nose and your own. Vinegar is pretty strong on any nose.

It’s also a good idea to always test a small area to make sure that there won’t be any stains caused by spraying the vinegar. You can use it indoors or outside around plants or patios to keep those areas safe from your mischievous little friend.

What About Bananas?

Cats don’t like bananas at all. For one thing, they are shaped like a snake, which sets off an inherent negative reaction with them. And, then there is the smell of the skin of the banana. They don’t want to be anywhere near one.

Banana skins can be very useful to keep cats away from certain areas. You can place the skin under furniture if you want to keep them away from it. You can also rub the peel on items to use as a deterrent. Or, keeping bananas on kitchen counters will keep cats from scavenging for treats when you aren’t home.

Bananas aren’t toxic for cats, so they are safe to use almost anywhere. But, don’t leave them out for too long. You don’t want the smell to start repelling you as well, or even worse, attracting other critters.

Do Cats Hate Peppermint?

Most cats hate the smell of peppermint, or any other mint odor for that matter, which is a good thing. Peppermint contains salicylate, an ingredient used in aspirin, which is poisonous to cats.

But, not all cats are put off by the smell. Some are actually attracted to it, which can be problematic as well. Unfortunately, ingesting peppermint can cause serious health issues for your cat, or even death.

It’s not a good idea to use peppermint as a means of deterring your cats from certain areas. You and your kitty are actually better off if you don’t let them anywhere near peppermint or any other mint.

Do Cats Hate the Smell of Lavender?

Lavender is typically one of those smells that cats hate. But, not always. The fragrant flowers can be an attraction for some felines.

Unfortunately, lavender contains a chemical called linalool, which is poisonous to cats. They would have to consume a large amount of the actual plant for it to make them sick.

Lavender oil, though, can be especially dangerous for cats because of the higher concentration of the plant’s harmful chemicals. So, while most cats don’t like the smell of lavender, it’s probably not the best thing to use as a deterrent.

How About Citrus?

Lemons, limes, oranges, or anything else that has a citrus aroma are among the smells cats can’t stand. They won’t even get near the smell, making it a useful tool if you are trying to keep your kitty out of certain areas.

Citrus peels are especially useful to keep cats out of plants. You can use them inside of your home or outside in your garden areas. Just place a few peels in the dirt around the plants, and the cats won’t go near them. But, those peels will attract other insects, so you’ll want to change them out often.

But, be careful with citrus-smelling cleaners inside of your home, especially when cleaning their litter boxes or food bowls. You don’t want to leave a citrus aroma on anything that you want them to use or you could be just asking for bigger problems.

What Smells do Cats Hate the Most?

Believe it or not, it’s the smell of their own litter boxes. Cats will instinctively look for somewhere to use the bathroom and cover up their mess because they hate the smell.

If their litter box is dirty, they won’t use it. The smell will keep them away. And, you know what that means.

Cleaning their litter daily is the best way to make sure that they use the box, instead of looking for somewhere else to relieve themselves. Scoop-able little options make it very easy to keep them clean and smelling fresh.

There are also some other organic litter options available. The most important thing is to set up a litter box that your cat likes and keep it clean, so they will always be able to use it.

Other Smells Cats Hate

The list is actually fairly extensive. But, not all smells are offensive for all cats. Here are a few other smells that some cats might find offensive.

  • Pine: It’s sometimes used in natural sand for litter boxes. You’ll know pretty quickly if your cat doesn’t like the smell of pine.
  • Old fish: They won’t like the smell of it any more than you do.
  • Pepper: A cat’s keen sense of smell will make them wary of any strong spices.
  • Eucalyptus: It’s poisonous to them, and they instinctively know it.
  • Rue: It’s another plant that cats will steer clear of.
  • Other cats: If you have more than one cat, you already know it takes time for them to get used to each other’s smell.

So, back to the question, “What smells do cats hate?” There are actually quite a few different smells that cats hate to be around. And, you can use this knowledge to somewhat control where your cat, or maybe even a neighbor cat, is allowed to be.

You just have to be as sneaky as the cat, which can be a little fun. Of course, you want to make sure that anything you are using in their litter or as a deterrent is safe for them to be around.

Used appropriately, you can take advantage of your cat’s superior sense of smell, keeping your home safe from their wrath when things aren’t quite going their way. We’d love to hear any comments, questions, or any personal experiences you may have with smells that cats hate.

Cat Senses, Wikipedia
Aspirin, Pet Poison Hotline
Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants, ASPCA

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