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Why do cats smell good? 4 obvious reasons

Picture it: You come home after a long day at work, your kitty greets you happily at the door, and you grab him for a big hug. I’m sure you’re thinking, but it is comforting to come home and rest. Let me tell you that it’s not only your home that makes you feel that great calm. It’s also your kitty, and specifically, the smell of your kitty! But why do cats smell good?

Maybe you have already noticed that your cat has a delicious smell, one that you always want to carry with you because, besides being pleasant, it gives you peace and tranquility, or maybe you have not yet processed it and only noticed the great satisfaction of snuggling with your cat. Either way, this phenomenon has an explanation; no, you are not losing your mind. Your cat does smell great.

Have you ever heard that a dog’s paws smell like cheddar cheese? And how about babies having an intoxicating soft and sweet smell? Well, cats also have a very particular aroma. If you want to find out more about it, keep reading!

why do cats smell good - grooming

Why does my cat smell so good?

Although there are several reasons why you love the smell of your cat, you may be the only person who perceives that smell as pleasant. Do you want to know why?

1. A perfect grooming

One of the most important reasons your cat has a delightful smell is that it is usually clean. Unlike a dog that, a few days after its last bath, starts to smell bad and look quite ragged, cats will rarely lose that characteristic freshness and much less the shine of their precious fur, thanks to the daily hours they spend grooming themselves.

In addition to being very independent animals, cats are usually easy to take care of, as they can even take care of their grooming. They don’t need to wait for you to bathe them. Luckily for these hygienic animals, nature gave them the ideal tool, a tongue covered with papillae (small hooked keratin spines), which acts as the perfect brush to untangle and remove all traces of dust and dirt (especially after rolling in it).

That tongue, as rough as sandpaper, also plays a vital role in the health of your cat’s skin and coat, as it spreads his body oils all over his fur, helping to keep his skin well moisturized at all times.

And if you wonder why your cat is so clean (sometimes even more than you…), the reason is survival. That’s right, just like big cats exposed to the danger of terrible predators, your cat knows how to take care of himself very well. To avoid other animals that can smell him and know his location, your cat likes to be squeaky clean, and odorless.

That’s why he spends so much time covering his tracks. Your cat makes himself olfactorily “undetectable” by grooming himself every day, burying his droppings, and even burying his leftover food so that there is no trace that he was there.

2. Smells like home

Has it ever happened to you that as soon as you enter someone else’s house, you immediately detect the particular smell of that house? You will often think that their air freshener smells lovely, and other times you will say, but what is that odor? The funny thing is that the people who live there have no idea what their own house smells like because they are so used to that scent that they don’t even notice it anymore.

why do cats smell good - like home

One of the reasons you are fascinated by the smell of your cat is because, just like you and your human family, your cat smells like your home, and how could he not if he lives there too and probably spends more time than you do at home? Just like you can’t tell what your house smells like. And I don’t mean your fabulous new candle.

I mean the “natural” scent of your home. You probably can’t pick up your cat and say, it smells like my house. Still, you can detect that it has a familiar, comforting smell, like your mom’s perfume or your grandma’s homemade cookies.

3. Scent glands

Pheromones are chemical substances released automatically to provoke a reaction in another individual. Cats, for example, mark their territory through pheromones, which is why you will see them rubbing their bodies against furniture and walls so that other cats detect their scent whenever they pass by. Although their pheromones usually go unnoticed by humans, that is, they don’t cause a change in our behavior. Those with a keen sense of smell can detect specific olfactory notes given off by pheromones.

Just as we can tell, someone is sick by the smell they give off, which is not necessarily an unpleasant smell; it is simply an ill smell. Cats’ smell of pheromones through their scent glands varies greatly depending on the feline’s mood. For example, when the cat is happy, comfortable, and calm, its scent glands give off a warm and nutty smell. That’s why you can perceive a lovely aroma when you cuddle with your kitty.

4. The smell of love

Blame it on the pheromones! Remember we said that these natural chemicals provoke a reaction in other individuals? Well, it’s true, for example, when you fall in love with a person, even if you don’t realize it, that person attracts you to a large extent because their pheromones match your body needs (of course, this is a simplified version of what happens in our brain).

The same goes for you and your cat. Chances are you chose to adopt your kitty precisely because when you first picked him up, you liked his smell, even if you weren’t aware of it. Impressive, isn’t it? That same natural affinity you feel for your cat is similar to the one mothers feel for their babies, which encourages them to want to care for and protect them, just as you probably do for all your loved ones and, of course, your cat as well.

why do cats smell good - love

What can I do if my cat smells terrible?

Cats usually have a pleasant smell, of home, of love. They may even smell like your favorite perfume because they spend a lot of time near you. It’s important to note that while this is true, some cats have a more discreet scent, and maybe that’s why you don’t notice a particular smell in your cat. Remember that every furry one is different.

Unless your cat is feral and has recently been rescued from the street or a shelter, your cat shouldn’t be smelly. If this is the case, most likely, the kitty has a medical condition, either physical or mental, as stress and anxiety can also alter a cat’s health, causing its pheromones to produce unpleasant odors. If you notice that your cat has a different, stinky smell for more than a day, take him to the vet for a medical check-up.

Oh! And if your cat smells bad for a while, don’t worry. It will clean up faster than it took to get dirty.

Why do cats smell good? The bottom line

Now you know why cats smell so good and why paying attention to their scent is essential to observe changes in their behavior. Cats give off pheromones through the glands on their skin, which produce pleasant aromas that tell us a lot about our furry friends.

So don’t forget: take your time and enjoy the moment next time you go for a cuddle! After all, your cat is not only cute but also smells lovely! Have you ever touched a cat that didn’t smell good? Why do you think it smelled bad? Tell us in the comments!

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