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What smells do cats hate? You might be surprised

Did you know that a cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times more developed than that of a human being? For cats, the sense of smell is vital because it allows them to communicate and relate effectively with their environment. But what smells do cats hate?

Surely you didn’t imagine, but through their powerful noses, cats can communicate with other cats, recognize their territory, and even determine the sex of other animals around them. With their sense of smell, they not only detect aromas but also perceive chemical signals called pheromones.

With such developed noses, it is expected that cats perceive scents more intensely, and therefore there are many smells that we find pleasant but that they hate. Some of them are very obvious, but I’m sure some of them will surprise you.

10 smells cats hate

Let’s find out which smells cats dislike!


This rich source of potassium is very unpalatable to cats. Although nothing will happen to them if they consume it, they may prefer to avoid it. Bananas contain a chemical called ethyl acetate, also used in cosmetics and cleaning products like nail polish, and your cat may also dislike the smell of certain perfumes or cleaning products.

what smells do cats hate - banana


Limes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, it doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s a citrus fruit, your cat will hate it. They dislike it so much that precisely for that reason, many cat repellents have some citrus scent in their ingredients.

If your cat damages your furniture a lot or you want to prevent it from entering a room, you can try spraying it with some orange or lemon essence. And if your cat is one of those who think they are gardeners and dig up your flowers, you can try leaving some citrus peels on the ground. You will see how they won’t come close.

what smells do cats hate - citrus

They don’t like the taste of citrus fruits, but if your cat eats one, don’t worry. It’s not toxic for them. The peel may cause vomiting or diarrhea, but it doesn’t hurt them either.


The delicious and robust aroma of coffee is one of the best cat repellents. Their aversion is so strong that they won’t go near it for anything in the world, and that’s good because coffee beans are toxic to them.

Now you know, if you want to prevent your cat from entering a room, put some beans in a nice container, it will look great, and even if your cat thinks otherwise, it will smell fantastic.

what smells do cats hate - coffee

Dirty Litter

Okay, this is not a surprise because who likes that smell? Nobody, including cats.

We all know that cats are spotless animals, so if their litter box is super dirty, they will not use it again. Maybe the litter you use has a floral scent, and you overlook the urine smell, but be careful because your cat does. To avoid that smell, your cat might consider peeing somewhere else. Maybe in a flowerpot or on a mat. Nobody likes that.

Lavender, geranium, and eucalyptus

Humans may find these plants to have relaxing and therapeutic scents, but for some reason, cats dislike their smell. Gardeners even recommend planting lavender or eucalyptus in your garden to keep your cat from getting too close.

Be careful if your cat eats any of these plants because, for them, they are toxic, and their consumption can result in an allergic reaction, heart failure, and damage to the digestive system or nervous system.

what smells do cats hate - lavender

Mint, wintergreen, and menthol

Any smell related to mint is powerful for cats. That’s why they don’t like it at all. When they eat it, it usually causes immediate vomiting or diarrhea. Keep these plants away from your cat because they could make themselves very sick.

Pepper, curry, and cinnamon

We use these elements in our meals because we love that touch of flavor they bring, that light spiciness that tastes so good. But this very spicy smell bothers cats and their sensitive noses.

These spices can be toxic to your furry friend, so avoid using them as a repellent and never let your cat eat them.


Not all cats hate the smell of pine. Most of them tolerate it. The problem is when this scent is too strong, which makes them fed up. For example, if you use a lot of pine-scented cleaner in your house, your cat will probably stay away from that room.

The good thing about this scent is that it’s not toxic to cats. You can use it without any problem. If the cat litter you use at home has a pine scent, switch to a different scent once you finish that bag. Your cat will thank you.

Rosemary, thyme, and rue

Most cats enjoy smelling, eating, and being around flowers, but there are some that they don’t like, such as the case with these three. Although rosemary and thyme are not toxic to them, rue will cause stomach problems if ingested in large amounts.

Don’t let your cat eat these plants; if you have them at home, keep them where your cat can’t reach them.


Most animals are bothered by the strong acidic smell of vinegar, no wonder cats hate it. You can use it as a cat repellent, although it is not highly recommended as it doesn’t have a pleasant smell.

Due to its remarkable disinfectant properties, many people use it to clean the animals’ dirt. However, with some cats, it is counterproductive because they urinate again on the spot in their attempt to eliminate that pungent smell.

What smells do cats hate? The bottom line

Now you know which are the primary odors that your cat dislikes. While you can use some to prevent them from entering and making a mess in a room, remember to use them in moderation to avoid giving them a hard time.

It is also essential to bear in mind that some of the sources of these scents can cause severe allergic reactions, but with this information, you are now prepared to prevent it!

Let us know in the comments if your cat hates these smells.

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