If you’re a dog person, you learn to love the smell of your canine companion, or at least tolerate it. But when you’re a cat lover, having a stinky pet isn’t something you typically need to deal with. You may have already noticed; your feline friend doesn’t seem to have an odor.
So, it’s not necessarily that cats smell good as much as they don’t stink, but it’s still a plus. Cats spend a considerable chunk of their day grooming themselves with a barbed tongue that’s super effective at cleaning. Then, it stands to reason that if cats spend so much time cleaning, they don’t tend to have an odor.
What’s with the constant need to clean? Is your cat just obsessed with being odor-free, like a high school teen on their first date? Maybe, but there is a lot more to it than that.
Why Do Cats Groom Themselves So Much?
Cats are clean from the beginning. Mother cats are constantly cleaning, wiping, and licking their babies. Kittens then imitate this behavior as they grow and learn for themselves.
Cats spend 15 to 50 percent of their life grooming during the day. They lick themselves from head to toe to remove dirt and debris. To see your cat grooming constantly is normal behavior.
They are precise and adequate as they lick their paws to wipe their faces. This technique is passed down through generations on instinct. They can also do this to mask their smell from predators.
They also groom for pleasure. It is to make themselves feel good, and they enjoy it. They may also groom you so that you can share in their favorite thing.
What’s A Cat’s Tongue Like?
If you have ever felt the lick of a cat, its tongue is said to feel like sandpaper. That is because their tongue has barb-like tiny spines on it called papillae. These spines consist of keratin, much like our own fingernails.
What Does A Cat’s Tongue Do?
Their tongue brushes through the hair and grabs the simple dirt and debris. It also helps spread healthy oil over their fur and skin. Cats also use their tongue to brush and detangle hair and lick their surroundings for comfort.
But besides just keeping clean for your cat’s pleasant (or lack of) odor.
Cats Stay Clean To Stay Safe
Have you ever seen a cat as they scrounge around outside? They are quiet and stealthy as they usually stalk a bird or lizard. If they gave off a strong scent, their prey would know they were close by.
It’s strange to think that your cat does not smell after all the hours they spend outside. Since your cat’s body gives off little to no scent, it’s their natural defense against being spotted or found. Their livelihood sometimes depends on it.
Here’s an example–think about how you often don’t see your cat till you least expect it. They pounce at a moment’s notice giving you a surprise. If they were to smell bad, you would know they were nearby.
Cats do not want to give away any clues when they’re about to attack and kill their prey. Plus, if cats had a strong odor, they would be more susceptible to predators.
Your Cat’s Diet Helps Them Smell Good
So while dogs are doing their best to steal your chips, your cat tries to avoid such things. Specific foods are naturally bad for your cat’s tummies and can cause more than one problem for your cat.
Diet has a lot to do with your cat’s health. Often the way that cats act, behave, and even smell is caused by their diet. Studies say that if your cat’s food is wrong, it can get more hairballs and even smell a little off.
Cats can be sensitive to some of the fillers in the food on your shelf, and it can cause a foul odor. It is necessary to read all ingredients, and those foods that list meat or meat meal first are best. When paired with other natural ingredients, your cat can have the proper balance to make their body function properly.
You Think Your Cat Smells Good
Of course, to you, your cat might smell perfectly fine, but is it just because they’re your cat? Would a visitor think the same of your furry friend?
Humans and cats alike can be attracted to particular scents. So, just like a cat can find another kitty’s smell attractive, the same can apply to you and your feline.
It is not uncommon to see cat owners bury their noses into their cat’s fur. That is because they might smell like home, which is a scent of comfort for many. It is not unusual for the smell of your home to bring joy, and the same goes for a cat.
If you like the way your cat smells, it is safe to say your cat feels the same way about you. It’s not as strange as it sounds to love the way your cat smells. Their smell is unique, and from being around them often, you associate it with something positive.
What Does Your Cat Smell Like?
Cats can smell good depending on what their owner finds appealing. Cats do not just have one smell, but they can smell like a variety of aromas on any given day.
Cats Pick Up Scents From Their Environment
For example, if your cat is an outdoor cat, it may smell of grass and dust. If they spend time in the brush and leaves by your house, they may come in smelling like the outside. To some people, that smell is appealing, while others don’t care for it as much.
Some people also find that cats can also have a sweet smell. This is due to the pheromones that they may release. There is no rhyme or reason to it, but it can be appealing to their humans.
Cats also spend about 12 to 16 hours a day sleeping, and it’s common to discover them in a warm blanket. Another favorite place for cats to curl up is in the laundry basket when it’s full of fresh, warm, clean clothes.
Their coats can pick up the scent of you or your laundry. It is no wonder that you would be attracted to that scent and want to rub your nose into your cat.
Finally, they can possibly smell like their cat food. You can bet if they’ve just eaten, they will have the bad cat breath to go with it.
Have The Sense To Get The Right Cat
Basically, it’s generally agreed upon that most cats don’t have an offending smell. Other cats enjoy the scent of your feline as well as yourself. When it comes to getting or picking out a cat, chemistry is important.
It may sound crazy, but to make sure there is a bond between you, you must use all your senses. It’s essential to pick out a cat with the right traits, including how they act, look, and smell. You can bet that when you find the right cat, you will both know.
So make sure both your eyes and your nose find your new potential feline friend appealing. Your senses can never steer you wrong.
Why does my cat have bad breath?
Cats love to eat a variety of foods. Whether it is delicious, canned meat, or a bird on the fly, your cat eats a menagerie of food. Their diet mainly consists of meat, but this can cause your cat to have bad breath.
Less often than not, the occurrence of bad breath could be that something is seriously wrong. If the bad breath persists, then seeking help from your vet may be needed. Anywhere between 50 to 90 percent of cats have dental problems, which could cause some foul breath.
Why do cats lick their paws?
Licking their paws is just another grooming technique for cats. This is a way for them to distribute saliva over their body for a good cleaning. Licking their feet and rubbing saliva on their body also helps to keep them cool on a hot day.
Cats sometimes even eat with their feet. After your cat eats, you may see that they will lick their paws, but this is just like washing your hands. They are usually clean animals, and cleaning after a meal is a usual routine.
Why do cats always seem to sniff everything?
Cats sniff to learn about what is around them. Cats have sensitive faces, whiskers, and noses. You may often see your cat sniffing the air, and this is to investigate their surroundings.
Cats can smell everything along with another cat’s scent. When sniffing the air outside, the receptors in the cheeks, nose, and even under the chin can sense everything. When you see them sniff everything, they’re checking for other cats, their next snack, or even you.
A cat’s sense of smell is far more advanced than yours. In your home, they rub against walls and you to create an invisible scent barrier. When they smell you, they can identify that you are their family and feel comforted to know you are theirs.
Stacy is a lifelong animal lover who truly believes life just isn’t complete without pets. She’s had pets her whole life (including three dogs and a cat living under the same roof, somewhat harmoniously). She currently resides in NOLA with her husband, son, and two pups, Scooby “Dooby” Doo and Zoey. Stacy always makes a point to learn everything she can about her fur babies, and she has been writing about the pet-parent life for over two years.