What Smell Is Cat Scared Of?

Cats are known for their sensitive noses, but did you know that there are certain smells that cats are scared of? In this article, we’ll explore what smell is cat scared of and how to use it to your advantage. From citrus to lavender, there are a variety of scents that cats find unpleasant and will avoid.

Common Smells that Scare Cats

Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, and certain odors can be enough to scare them away. Some of the most common smells that cats are scared of include citrus, vinegar, and strong spices.


Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes have a strong smell that cats don’t like. This is because the scent is too intense for their sensitive noses. If you want to keep cats away from your garden or yard, you can use citrus peels as a natural deterrent.


Vinegar has a sharp and pungent odor that cats find unpleasant. You can use vinegar to keep cats away from areas in your home by spraying it around the perimeter. You can also use it to clean up any messes that cats may have left behind.

Strong Spices

Strong spices such as cayenne pepper, black pepper, and chili powder are also smells that cats don’t like. Sprinkling these spices around areas where you don’t want cats to go can help keep them away. You can also use these spices in homemade cat repellents for even more effectiveness.

Understanding Cat Fear Responses

Cat fear responses can be complex and vary depending on the situation. Cats may respond to certain smells with fear, such as those associated with predators or unfamiliar humans. Understanding how cats react to fearful stimuli can help us better understand their behavior and provide them with the best care possible.

Physiological Reactions

When a cat is scared, their body will respond in a variety of ways. Physiological reactions include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating of the paws
  • Stiffening of the muscles

Behavioral Reactions

In addition to physiological reactions, cats may also display behavioral reactions when they are scared. These can include:


Long Term Effects of Fear

If a cat is exposed to fear for an extended period of time, it can lead to long term effects such as stress and anxiety which can have serious consequences for their health and well being. It is important to recognize signs of fear in cats and take steps to reduce their stress levels in order to prevent long term effects from occurring.

How to Help a Cat Overcome Fear of Smells

Fear of smells can be a common issue for cats, and it is important to help them overcome this fear. Desensitization techniques, creating a safe space for the cat, and using positive reinforcement training are all effective methods that can be used to help cats overcome their fear of smells.

Desensitization Techniques

Desensitization techniques involve exposing the cat to the smell in small doses over time. Start by introducing the smell from a distance and gradually move closer as the cat becomes more comfortable. This method should be done slowly and carefully, as introducing too much too quickly can cause further distress.

Creating a Safe Space for the Cat

Creating a safe space for the cat is important when helping them overcome their fear of smells. This could include providing them with hiding spots or places where they feel secure. Additionally, it is important to provide them with plenty of distractions such as toys or treats when they are exposed to new smells so that they can focus on something else instead of feeling scared.

Using Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training is an effective way to help cats become more comfortable with new smells. When introducing new scents, reward your cat with treats or verbal praise when they show signs of comfort or curiosity. This will help them associate the smell with something positive and make it less intimidating.


What to Do if a Cat is Overly Scared of Smells

Cats are very sensitive to smells, and it can be difficult to determine what smell is causing them distress. If a cat is overly scared of smells, it is important to take action in order to help them feel safe and secure. Here are some tips on what to do if a cat is overly scared of smells:

Consulting a Veterinarian or Animal Behaviorist

The first step in helping a cat that is overly scared of smells is consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can help identify the source of the fear and provide advice on how to address it. Additionally, they may suggest medications or other treatments that can help reduce the anxiety associated with the smell.

Medication Options for Severe Anxiety

In cases where the fear of smells is severe, medication may be necessary in order to reduce the anxiety associated with the smell. Common medications used for this purpose include benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). It is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication as they will be able to recommend the best option for your cat’s specific needs.

Seeking Professional Help for Long-Term Solutions

If the fear of smells persists despite medication or other treatments, it may be necessary to seek professional help from an animal behaviorist. An animal behaviorist can work with you and your pet in order to develop long-term solutions that will help reduce their fear and anxiety associated with certain smells. Additionally, they can provide guidance on how best to manage your pet’s environment in order to minimize their exposure to triggering scents.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Calm Around Scary Smells

Cats are sensitive to smells and can become scared or agitated when exposed to unfamiliar odors. To help keep your cat calm around scary smells, there are a few tips you can follow.

Avoiding Unfamiliar Scents

The best way to keep your cat calm around scary smells is to avoid exposing them to unfamiliar odors in the first place. Make sure to keep the home environment clean and free of any strong-smelling chemicals or perfumes. Additionally, be aware of any potential triggers that may be present in your home such as smoke, cleaning products, or air fresheners.

Keeping the Home Environment Calm and Stress-Free

It is important to create a calm and stress-free environment for your cat when they are exposed to scary smells. Make sure the area is well ventilated and free of any loud noises or distractions that could cause further stress. Additionally, provide plenty of toys and activities for your cat to engage in when they are feeling anxious.

Providing Comfort and Support During Exposure

When your cat is exposed to a scary smell, it is important to provide comfort and support during this time. Offer treats or petting as a way of reassuring them that everything is okay. Additionally, it may be helpful to talk softly or play calming music in order to help reduce their anxiety levels.
For more information on what smell cats are scared of visit ASPCA’s website.


Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell and can be scared of certain scents. From citrus to lavender, there are a variety of smells that cats find unpleasant and will avoid. Knowing what smell cats are scared of can be beneficial for pet owners as it can help keep cats away from areas they should not be in. If you need more information on how to use these scents to your advantage, visit apetshome.com.

Overall, understanding what smell cats are scared of is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. With the right knowledge and tools, you can keep your cat safe and happy in their home environment.

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