Why Does My Cat Smell Everything?

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There are various behaviors of cats that may look absolutely weird to humans, and in reality, it may have no sense at all; one such behavior is a cat’s sniffing habits. Do you always find your cat smelling almost everything that comes it’s way? Are you curious to know why your kitty actually sniffs everything? In this article, we will discuss why your cute kitty is always desperate about sniffing things.



Cats are known to be farsighted and thus find difficulty in seeing objects that are close to them. Therefore, as an action to their inability to see nearby things, cats use their sniffing powers and touch sense to identify objects that lie close to them. You can usually see this behavior in cats when they tend to approach new things with caution.


New things or a person near the close proximities of a cat appear to be blurry and faint for cats, and their scent or body odor may also be unfamiliar to a cat. Thus, in such a situation, the cat either runs away and escapes the situation or tends to continuously sniff and smell to identify what it actually is to safeguard themselves.


Sniffing triggers cat’s appetite:

Unlike humans, cats have a higher number of olfactory receptors and lesser taste receptors. In such a case, it is easy to predict that cats are more prone to use their olfactory sense organs to collect the details about the various aspects of the food, such as safety, taste, and flavor. So, if your cats are served with their favorite cat meals, they will sniff it endlessly, further hiking up and stimulating their hunger that arises due to the constant smelling of food.


On the contrary, it is also essential to note its downside that may arise when your cats fall sick. If your cats suffer from nasal blockage and find it difficult to sniff their food, they tend to lose their appetite, which may further cause a decline in their health.


Cats use scent to mark their belongings:

Cats are very possessive about their things and humans. Thus, they usually mark their ownership using their scent. So if you find a cat rubbing themselves on an object, their litter boxes, or their human parents, they are not just cuddling with it but are marking their own territory and ownership by leaving their scent and odor behind.



So, if a cat finds something unfamiliar, it will sniff and understand that it belongs to someone else. And it tends to leave it behind and move further to find something else that it can consider as its own.


They also use their scent maps to trace their way back home. They leave their scent behind on objects and places when they move around freely and use the same as a map to reach back to their place of residence.



Felines are quite playful but tend to become very curious and cautious when it comes to maintaining their safety. They use their smelling organs to smell any dangerous items or objects that may be nearby them to explore what actually surrounds them when they are outdoors.


Identification through smelling:

As mentioned above, cats have a habit of marking their ownership on their humans by rubbing against them to leave their smells behind; cats use their smelling power to identify their owners. Thus, you can expect them not to recognize you when you do not smell as usual or using too much body spray that your cats may not be familiar with.



Also, it is worth knowing that if you have been playing with any other pet in your friend’s house and come back home to play with your cats, you may find that they maintain a safe distance from you. This weird behavior may cause you to go wonder what the matter is and if there is something really wrong with your cat? But in reality, it’s just the insecurity that arises in your cat’s mind when you indulge yourself in a play session with some other pet.


Communicating via smell:

Talking in terms of communication, we humans have the upper hand as we can speak our heart out while meeting our best pals. But this is not the case when you talk about pets. They cannot speak, but they tend to show affection to communicate their feelings. But in the case of cats, they are poor in terms of verbalizing their feelings. Hence, they exchange their thoughts and feelings via smell.


So, if you find a cat rubbing its head against another cat or sniffing another cat’s head, it’s a sign that it is trying to communicate with its cat pal. While giving a head bump, cats pass on pheromones to the face of another cat to communicate their voice.


These pheromones have chemicals that help another cat to determine the mood and eating instincts of the cat. It also helps them understand whether the cat is healthy or weak, aggressive, and other things. As an outcome, you can sum out that cats’ sniff and smell to be an alternative for their voice. As an outcome, you can sum out that cats’ sniff and smell to be an alternative for their voice.


Greeting attribute:

Another peculiar habit of cats is seen in the form of cats sniffing the butts of another cat, which is another way of communication and greeting each other. Sniffing each other’s butts sends out strong odors to predict detailed information about how the cats are feeling. It is a healthy communication form between two cats or can be thought of as a greeting ritual that allows the two cats to give their introduction to their would-be kitty pals. Also, smelling the butts helps them to identify if they have met before.


What smells cats hate to encounter?



Though cats tend to smell almost everything that comes their way, here are a few smells that they hate and do not wish to encounter at any phase:


Why do cats hate a particular smell?

Citrus smells Cats hate such smells because they are pungent and can also make cats vomit, accrue diarrhea, and dermatitis on the consumption of the same.
Lavender, eucalyptus These are toxic in nature if consumed by cats and can cause them to vomit, nausea, or sometimes even result in depression.
Rosemary, thyme These herbs can cause negative reactions in your cats.
Mustard, Banana Their odors can irritate the cats.
Cinnamon, pepper Though these spices are harmless, they have the power of warding cats.
Mint and menthol On ingestion of mint, cats can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.
Coleus Canina plant They act as cat repellents if planted in your gardens.



Why do cats try to smell you when you sleep?

Have you ever found yourself being woken up by your cats when you tried to sleep in a deep slumber? It is something common that most of the cat parents may have encountered every now and then. Do you know the real reason why cats tend to sniff you when you sleep? Here are a few probable reasons that make them sniff you while you are enjoying your nap:


  • Requirement of food
  • A snuggling and play session
  • Desire to go outside when you have locked your house & your poor kitty is caught inside all alone
  • To check out your snoring habits
  • To come in close alliance with you
  • Boredom


Apart from these aspects, sometimes cats also sniff you to say a simple hello when you are not paying attention to them.


Why does a cat sniff your mouth?

As mentioned above, cats recognize their owners by their scent, and it is not just the body odor but also the unique smell released from the mouth. So, if your cat is sniffing your mouth when you come back home, probably, it is trying to identify you by your unique breath.


Secondly, cats love to feel warmth and moisture & the saliva that is released from the breath of their owners stands to be comforting for the felines. Also, they smell your breath to find out if you are sick or healthy. Your breath does not smell the same when you have got a cold or have fallen sick, and cats can easily make out the same just by smelling your breath.


A very few might be aware of this fact, but cats also tend to smell your mouth to know what you have been eating all day without sharing the same with your cats. Usually, they tend to sniff your mouth when they feel hungry and do the same to find out what they may get on their plate soon.


Why does a cat sniff air?

Seeing cats smell everything that they come across is a common scene in every cat household. But have you ever witnessed them sniffing the air while sitting all alone? Do you wonder what makes them sniff the air?


Well, cats have a secondary organ for smelling known as Jacobson’s organ that can identify and pick up the smell from its surroundings. And this same organ plays a major role in getting the cats a scent picture about everything that surrounds them.


Cats are prone to sniff the air to find out things and beings around them; they can even smell a mouse from a far-off distance. So, you know how smelling the air can help them catch hold of a mouse treat that may soon be approaching them.


Apart from finding traces of nearby things, male cats usually sniff the air to find out love for mating purposes. Cats mate with the help of hormonal cues, and if a male cat is sniffing the air, it is probably looking for a female counterpart to initiate mating. They also send scent signals stating to another cat that “I am here.”


Other weird behavior of cats:


Why do cats do so?

Face rubbing Cats rub their face against you to mingle their scents with you. Also, it means that they are happy to see you and can be taken as a token of greeting.
Head bunting Head bunting is a more hiked-up version of rubbing their faces against you. Just like we humans go for a normal handshake with not-so-close friends and a tight hug with close friends, cats also go for a head-bunting act if they are closely attached to you.
Tail twitching Tail twitching vigorously may be a signal that your cats are feeling irritated and are finding something getting on their nerves.
Jumping inside boxes Cats find themselves quite cozy and comfortable while sitting inside boxes.  Thus, they get inside boxes to feel protected and safe or enjoy a carefree nap.
Night howling Cats are prone to do some nocturnal hunting and tend to become more active during dusk and dawn. So, if they happen to find a delicious meal at night, you are sure to hear some vocals at night.
Tucking paws and tail beneath It is nothing but an act of feeling warm and covering themselves to maintain body temperature, especially during winters. A cat tends to tuck in its paws and tail beneath to keep itself warm and cozy.



We hope that this article has helped you understand why cats smell everything they come in contact with. The smell sense of cats defines life for them and helps them communicate, identify, and interact. Their smelling powers are stronger than their eyesight and therefore are used for carrying out some fundamental aspects of life. Though cat sniffing may look weird to us, in reality, it is something really important in a cat’s life. So, next time your cat sniffs something, don’t consider it a weird behavior.

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