What Scents Do Cats Dislike? (4 Scents That Repel Cats)

What Scents Do Cats Dislike

We all know that cats have a much more acute sense of smell than we do. They actually have a sense of smell that’s around 14 times as strong as ours.

This explains why a cat that was upstairs fast asleep just a few minutes ago can magically appear in the kitchen when you’re making a meat or tuna sandwich.

It also means we need to be aware of the smells and scents they don’t like. Imagine a smell you don’t like being 14 times as powerful – that’s going to be upsetting.

So, what scents do cats dislike?

There are quite a few. But I thought I’d list some of the more potent scents that cats really hate.

You can use this list for some ideas to make natural repellents to keep cats off your prized flower beds or away from furniture indoors.

Or, you can be a more mindful and caring cat owner and make sure your kitty is happy and safe by keeping anything with these scents well away from them!

What Scents Do Cats Dislike?

Minty Scents

scents cats hate and dislike mint plants

This is where we know that cats and us (humans) are very different. Because, who doesn’t like a fresh, minty scent, right?

Mint is a scent we associate with freshness, cooling, great smelling breath, toothpaste, and so on.

While mint is something that cats absolutely hate and want nothing to do with. It’s even potentially dangerous for them if they ingest some mint.

Please keep this in mind if you have a mint plant in your home to pluck leaves for cooking or have some mint plants in the garden.

My advice is to fence them off. We all know that some cats are less than sensible, I actually had a kitty that would lick mint leaves in the neighbors garden and get sick!

Citrus Scents

Scents cats dislike and hate citrus

Citrus scents are pretty sweet and nice for us, but again, it’s not the same for cats. They are just way too overpowering and some cats are absolutely terrified of citrus smells.

If you’re looking for a way to naturally repel cats from certain areas of your garden, or even your home, then some citrus peels or a spray will usually do the trick.

The main culprits are lemons, oranges, tangerines, limes and grapefruits. Even when they are not peeled or sliced open, so keep all of these well out of the way of your cats if you want to keep them happy.


Scents cats dislike and hate lavender

Another plant that is recommended as a cat repellent in your garden is lavender. This innocent looking, lovely smelling plant is actually incredibly annoying for cats.

I’m not sure exactly why they hate it so much, but I’ve tested this myself and can confirm I’ve never met a cat that was willing to tolerate the smell of lavender.

Most Spices (Curry, Cinnamon, Pepper, Etc)

Scents cats dislike and hate curry and spices

If you have a spice rack or a cupboard in your kitchen where you keep all your cooking spices you can rest assured everything in there is safe from your cat.

Most spices have a really strong scent as you will well know. And, a lot of spices are too strong, hot, or rich for some of us to handle, so think about a cat with its 14x powered nose.

Cayenne pepper in particular is a strong cat repellent. My dad used to get annoyed with cats going into his greenhouse and doing their business in his flowerbeds or just lounging around enjoying the heat.

A little cayenne pepper on the floor around the entrance to his greenhouse put a fast stop to the cats letting themselves in.

Final Thoughts

There are lots of other smells that cats don’t like. Ranging from a mild dislike, to fleeing the scene the moment a certain smell hits their nose.

Cats also have individual personalities and will react very differently to different smells. You might have a cat like one of mine that loves the smell of curry and will lick the plate after I’ve finished, while most cats hate curry.

Have you noticed your cat likes/dislikes any unusual scents, smells, or tastes? Feel free to drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.


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