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.

7 thoughts on “What Scents Do Cats Dislike? (4 Scents That Repel Cats)”

  1. Thanks for the tips on scents. Due to two kittens who fell into a hollow column on our porch from the attic above, and follow up gathering on our back porch (plus previous adoptions from the local) we now have 13 inside cats ranging in age from about 2 ½ to 17. The mother of five returned after two years (we’d gotten her neutered), the result of a family that moved. Everything has been good until a couple of weeks ago, and at least one is going off the reservation to pee and poop. So, I am going toward with scents. My only concern about cayenne is any potential to make a cat ill, so I will start with mint and/or citrus.

    A minor point, but the title “Why Does My Cat Lay on My Shoes” should be Why Does My Cat Lie on My Shoes.” To lay is transitive; it is something done to something else. To lie is intransitive.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and sharing that David, appreciate it – sounds like you’ve got your hands full there, too.

      Yes, I’m aware of how the title for my other post reads, appreciate your comments on that too, sometimes we just have to go with the SEO flow though, you know?

      1. Language changes, I realize that. To my ears (inside my head), it sounds right/good to say, why does my cat lie on my shoes or my chest or my towel. But I’ve seen this verb misused in newspaper headlines and even in Time magazine. I doubt it would be misused in the New Yorker, however.

        Hey, I have a totally different question: How is your blog generated? Do you have someone or do this yourself? If the latter, what format/platform do you use. I have some things of a totally different nature that I’d like to see if I could develop an audience (origins of human tendencies toward violence).

        1. If you have a penchant for seeing grammatically correct content, surfing online must get very frustrating, right? I hope I don’t sound sarcastic, I’m being serious. I’m no wordsmith, but I struggle to read most content outside of the highly polished publications myself.

          I do maintain this blog myself, yes. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a passion of mine and I do my very best. I use WordPress, that’s the starting point if you want to create your own site.

      2. Also, my life has changed radically as my wife died unexpectedly at the end of January. She had an extreme reaction to her second Pfizer vaccination, but refused to go to the hospital. She had no energy, not getting enough oxygen. While at her daughter’s she had a heart attack and at the hospital they discovered two large clots in her lungs. They could not pull her through. A sad and confusing time and, at 76+, caring for 12 cats is a lot of work. My son pushes me to get them adopted out, which I will have to do with some, but as you know attachment to pets can be so fundamental and strong that I cannot cross that threshold yet. Plus these are all inside cats and they should never be let out; they wouldn’t know what to do and could not compete or take care of themselves.e

  2. Lavender is toxic to cats.
    Signs of lavender toxicity in cats include diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. Lavender essential oils, lotions, soaps, plants, and more are bad for them.

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