I guess neither of us can give a clear definition or describe the scent of our furbabies, but we can say for sure it’s pleasant and we love it. Why do cats smell good, anyway? Are you ready to crack that code?
One of my friends recently mentioned this and all four of us started thinking. My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to do a little digging and maybe confirm some of the things we assumed were the reason for this.
If you tried your luck and said that our felines smell good because they’re constantly grooming, I have to congratulate you. That’s not far from the truth, but it’s not all you need to know. I wonder, what else crossed your mind?
There are a lot of possible reasons, and we’ll go through all of them in a moment. What I realized while seeking all the reasons is that a lot of people actually have this question. As always, it’s good to know that you’re not alone.
Some people say their felines smell neutral but fresh, others compare it to cinnamon, or simply say it’s like they are wearing perfume. There are people who wonder if “fluffy” can be used to describe that specific scent. Hey language nerds, mind helping us? Can we use this adjective?
Since these furbabies don’t need the occasional bath, you want to know how they keep smelling fresh? What’s the secret behind it? Ready to find out?
Why do cats smell good?
The time has come for this question to be answered. But there’s no need for me to be this dramatic, right? Okay, I’ve told you that you’re partially right if you said that their constant grooming is what makes them smell that good.
But that’s not the only reason you want to bury your nose into that fluffy fur of your feline.
It is the first one we’ll mention, though. But what else is on the list? Do you think nutrition plays a role or because your feline is strictly an indoor cat? Keep reading to discover why you have the urge to inhale her scent right now.
Of course, this is the most important thing we have to mention. After all of that grooming, it would be strange that our furbabies don’t smell good, right?
Cats spend around one-third of their awake time (sometimes even more) just grooming, and I assume that’s not something new for you. Their tongue is covered with papillae – tiny spines that are curved and have hollow tips.
This actually helps to keep their fur untangled and it’s a good tool when fighting loose hair as well. These spines actually make their tongue texture similar to sandpaper and they are an amazing asset when it comes to cleaning.
Papillae help her to clean any dirt on her fur, keep her skin clean, and both her fluffy coat and skin odorless. So, to confirm your first suspicions about why cats smell good, you’ve now got the first piece of the puzzle.
2. Survival instincts
Another reason for their pleasant smell is actually connected with their survival instincts. Cats are hunters by nature and keeping themselves odor-free always helped them to approach their prey without being noticed.
They are predators that have to be patient and wait for the perfect moment to catch their food. Your feline will take time to analyze the situation, identify her prey, and plan her attack in detail. We all know that adorable bottom wiggle before her final jump!
These little stalkers are solo players and they definitely don’t want other cats to find them. Also, they can become prey too. Larger animals can go after them, so staying clean and not having a specific scent prevents predators from being led in their direction.
It may be oversharing, but since we’re talking about hiding any trace they leave behind, that would explain why your feline has that instinct to cover her poop. Smart little meowers, aren’t they?
Why do cats smell good? Well, this is something you may find a bit unusual, but your cat’s diet may be the reason for her clean scent. Of course, cats are obligate carnivores and very picky about what they eat. Some of the things that they eat may directly influence her stool and the way they smell.
For example, if she eats a lot of corn, her digestive system will be a bit confused and won’t be able to process that easily, so it will leave a lot of stinky waste behind.
Therefore, if you wonder why cats smell good or bad, the answer may be in their nutrition. If you suspect that’s the case, try to find some soothing food to help her have that purrfect scent.
Otherwise, keep doing what you do because, apparently, you’re doing an amazing job. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy your furbaby’s smell!
4. Health issues
I know this is probably not something you’d like to hear, but you kind of expected it will be on the list, right? One of the reasons (and the only bad one, if that brings some comfort) your cat smells good may be that she has some health issues.
It sounds contradictory, right? How can she smell good and have some medical problems as well? The thing is, some cats smell like maple syrup, cotton candy, or some other sweet fragrance when you stick your nose into her fur.
That may be because she has diabetes, which can cause that “delicious” smell to come from her mouth. If you think that this may be the reason, don’t hesitate to take her to the vet. The sooner you check, the better the chances of helping your feline.
Of course, you’ll notice when her scent changes and in a way turn from good to bad. This may indicate that she has some dental health issues, digestion problems, kidney disease or she’s just not grooming properly.
But don’t worry in advance. Your cat may simply smell good because of the two other reasons that are left on the list.
5. It’s your house
Do you know how people say that love is in the air? This may be also stated as a reason cats smell good. It’s in the air! Cats are our favorite sleepy heads and they’ll take their nap wherever they find a perfect spot.
If you’re taking care of your home, you’re not a smoker, and you make sure it’s always clean and smelling nice, your furbaby may “absorb” that pleasant scent. You’re genuinely trying to provide a healthy environment for your cat, which may be why she smells good.
This is particularly true if you have an indoor-only cat. She’s not going to be exposed to all the influence from the outside world as she spends her time sleeping on those clean sheets, on your freshly washed clothes, and on that soft pillow on your sofa.
6. You just love your cat
Admit it already, you love your cat and there’s no other that can compare. If you wonder why cats smell good, think about how biased pet owners are in general. Don’t you think that may be one of the reasons as well? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Your feline has her unique smell that’s comforting and at times you need it the most, calming and reassuring. She simply smells like home and your safe place. You’ve created a beautiful bond and every time you relax together, oxytocin does its thing.
It’s similar to other scents that can trigger our memories. For example, if your mom uses the same perfume for the majority of her life, every time you smell it, it will remind you of her. Cinnamon rolls and apple pies definitely smell like autumn at grandma’s, right?
Should I give my cat a bath if she doesn’t smell good?
There are a couple of reasons why you should want to bathe your cat, but usually, you won’t need to do that. If you think about it, do you actually connect your feline and water? I honestly don’t. They have their grooming habit and it’s utterly important for them.
We’ve already talked about it and you can conclude that grooming helps your feline to stay healthy AND smell good. Of course, she may not be able to remove all the dirt on the first try, but she’ll eventually do it.
If you decide to bathe her, get ready to awaken a rebel. Most breeds run away at first sight of water and not many of them enjoy being soaked. The few that will gladly take a dip are the Turkish Van, Bengal cat, and Maine Coon, for example.
However, there are some instances where you should give your cat a bath. Think of different skin problems that your feline may face. You’ll have to use proper cat shampoo, maybe even medicated solution, but first, ask your vet about it. Don’t try giving your cat a bath on your own.
If her fur is covered in gasoline, glue, paint, or something that may be toxic for her, for example, you’ll have to give her a shower. Also, in case you notice fleas, ticks, or other parasites, your feline will definitely need a good long bath with a special liquid recommended by your vet.
Some breeds actually require a weekly bath (approximately) like hairless cats. Their body oils and dirt build up on their skin since there’s no layer of fur to protect them. And some short-haired breeds also need the occasional bath to rinse their body oil.
Don’t completely forget about long-haired breeds like Persian cats that need a periodic bath too. My advice would be to chat with a vet to determine if and when your feline needs to be washed.
In the end…
To sum up, there’s no concrete answer to the question “why do cats smell good” – they simply do! We talked about the possible reasons this may be the case, but you have to determine which one is applicable to your particular situation.
Cats are considered among the cleanest animals among all domestic species because of their constant self-care. They are really passionate about grooming, but if you have one, you already know it. This is something that we can definitely consider as the main reason why cats smell good.
Their nutrition and dietary changes may influence their specific scent, as well as some health issues that may appear. In both of these cases, the best would be to talk with a vet that keeps track of your feline’s medical chart.
Lastly, detergents and other cleaning products that you use to keep your house clean may contribute to the smelling-good part. Your furbaby opts to sleep in spots that smell good and are comfy.
As long as you’re trying to keep the environment in which your feline resides healthy, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, comforting smell. When your cat is happy, taken care of, and well-fed, you’ll definitely notice it.
Therefore, pay attention to that living ball of fur that lives with you. Play with her often and feed her good and highly nutritive food. In return, I can promise you that you’ll get a lot of beautiful moments, an occasional scratch, and a bunch of love!