Why Does My Cat Smell So Good? (The Cat Aroma Phenomenon)

why does my cat smell so good

I ain’t going to lie, I have a serious problem. I enjoy smelling my cat too darn much.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as taking a deep breath of your cat’s scent. That’s because our cats smell so good, well most of them.

Many cat owners have described the scent of their cats as similar to the smell of freshly baked bread, autumn leaves or their childhood blanket.

But what is it about cats that make the smell so addictive?

Dive in to uncover the mysterious reasons why your cat smells irresistibly good!

Why Do I Love The Smell Of My Cat?

Many cats smell good and captivating.

Some might argue it is the smell of the cat’s shampoo but I tend to disagree as my cat only smells like his shampoo for a few days.

He has his own natural scent which is very pleasing and comforting to me.

Here are the reasons why your cat smells good.

Cats Are Fastidious Groomers

“The good thing is that your cat’s saliva doesn’t leave behind a stinky smell like a human’s when it dries up.”

cat grooming itself

I kid you not when I say that 90% of the time when I’m looking at my cat he is either sleeping or grooming some part of his body.

Cats are compulsive groomers and can spend up to 5 hours a day licking each other or themselves to look prim and proper.

Being so flexible allows the cat to groom almost every nook and cranny of its body, even its own private parts.

The good thing is that your cat’s saliva doesn’t leave behind a stinky smell like a human’s when it dries up.

In fact, a cat’s saliva has a deodorizing property that helps to remove unwanted smells from its fur.

If you have ever been licked by your cat, you’ll notice how rough and sharp the surface of their tongues are.

The surface of the tongue is covered by shape and tiny spines called papillae.

These tiny spines act as a brush when the cat grooms itself, removing dust, dirt and odor from their skin and fur.

If you scrub yourself with a loofah in the shower for 5 hours, you can’t help but smell good too.

Do note that when cats spend so much time grooming themselves, there is a tendency to digest the loose fur which turns into a hairball in their digestive tract.

A hairball that can’t be passed out can be dangerous for cats thus it is good to know the various natural hairball remedies for cats.

The Presence Of Scent Glands

“These glands give off a scent that makes your cat smell like freshly baked bread.”

A cat has nine scent glands that are located at various parts of their body, from the cat’s whisker pads all the way to its anus.

Some of these glands give off a rather nice smell that is pleasing to our noses.

Kittens give off a very pleasant scent which encourages their mother cat to groom and nurse them. Just like how babies smell so good and clean all the time.

There are scent glands located behind the ear of the cat that is called the Pinna glands.

These glands make your cat’s scent smell like freshly baked bread.

What a lovely scent!

The rule of thumb is that cats have pleasant smelling scent glands in areas where they like to be petted and touched.

When you rub these favored areas, it will stimulate the scent glands to secrete the scented oil that coats your cat’s fur.

Now that you know how your cat has utilized its scent glands to scientifically manipulate you into giving it more affection.

Such manipulative creatures.

There are some sites that claim that domestic cats contain the chemical compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP) but that’s not the case.

This compound can give the animal a sweet scent that is similar to that of ‘buttered popcorn’.

Tigers have the 2-AP compound in them which is used to communicate with each other via scent.

Your Cat Smells Of Home

cat sleeping on bed

One likely reason why your cat smells so good is that your home smells good too.

Cats love to sleep and can spend a good 18-20 hours a day sleeping and napping.

And if your cat is one that loves napping on your bed or in your closet, your own personal scent or the fabric’s scent will stay on the cat.

And assuming that you’re someone with a decent sense of personal hygiene, this will make your cat smell good too on top of its constant grooming.

Do note that this mostly applies to cats that are kept indoors.

If your male and female cats are allowed to roam around the neighborhood, there’s no guarantee that they will smell good after a day of being outdoors.

Make sure to towel wipe your cat clean before letting them on your bed, sofa or closet.

Cats Need To Smell Good To Survive

“By not letting their smell give their position away, cats can evade or escape a lot easier.”

Stray and feral cats who live in the wild are both prey and predator.

These cats hunt smaller prey for food and in turn, their lives can also be in danger in the presence of larger predators.

Cats are excellent hunters and can stalk their prey to give them the element of surprise.

Cats aren’t the only ones with a keen sense of smell in the animal kingdom. The prey that they hunt is also equipped with a sensitive nose to sniff out danger.

When cats smell bad, that will take away their element of surprise when stalking its meal. You can’t go far when your odor precedes your presence.

On the flip side, cats need to hide when being chased or stalked by a predator.

By not letting their smell give their position away, cats can evade or escape a lot easier.

Being solo hunters, cats don’t have that many chances to secure their next meal, unlike pack animals like dogs or wolves who take turns chasing down and tiring out the prey.

Letting the prey escape means going hungry for the cat and dying of starvation.

Therefore, cats need to groom themselves well to ensure that there’s no unpleasant odor on them that can put them at a severe disadvantage.

You Might Be Biased

Have you ever met a couple where one of them smells somewhat questionable but yet the other is oblivious to the odor?

They say love is blind but in this case, lost its scent of smell too.

This doesn’t mean we think our cats still smell good after playing in the litterbox. But our love for our cats makes them smell a tad nicer than reality.

Your Cat Might Have Diabetes

There are times when a medical condition can cause your cat to smell better than normal.

A cat that has feline diabetes can exude a fruity scent from its breath that resembles nail polish.

This is due to the presence of ketones which is a by-product when your cat starts to break down body fat for energy.

Other symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Excess thirst and urination
  • Lack of grooming

If your cat has this smell, it could mean that it is suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis which is a more severe form of feline diabetes.

You need to get your cat to the vet ASAP for a blood test to determine its sugar levels.

If left untreated, this medical condition can turn life-threatening for your cat very quickly.

Why Does My Cat Smell Bad?

In the event that when you smell your cat it makes you gag or your eyes water, something isn’t right.

We don’t expect our cats to smell like roses all the time and unsterilized cats can have a musky smell during mating season.

A bad smell coming from your cat’s head could mean an ear infection or bad breath. Cats with an ear infection will give off a pungent smell from the infected ear.

If your cat’s breath has a foul odor, it could be due to tooth or gum problems like cavities or gingivitis.

This is why it is very important to learn how to brush your cat’s teeth for good dental hygiene.

Please bring your cat to the vet for the doctor to ascertain what is causing the strong unpleasant smell and prescribe the required medication

Is It Time To Give Your Cat A Shower?

give cat a shower

Despite cats being known as being clean animals, it is good to give your cat a shower every now and then.

On average, showering your cat once a month is a good start.

Sometimes just giving your cat a good wipe with pet wet wipes is a good alternative.

Be careful about using baby wipes for your cat’s bum as it can irritate your cat’s skin.

This is good for young kittens and older cats who can’t groom themselves well enough.

If you have a pet allergy, showering your cat helps to remove loose fur and dander which can help keep the allergens at bay.

Remember to use cat shampoo as human shampoo can dry out their skin and cause irritation.

Why Do Cats Head Smell Nice?

The top of a cat’s head smells so good due to the Pinna gland which gives out a pleasant scent.

Many cat lovers describe this scent as freshly baked bread or sunshine.

There’s even a company in Japan that has created a spray that smells like the top of a cat’s head.

The head of Yamamoto Perfumery, Mr Yamamoto himself, spent four months going to various cat cafes throughout Japan sniffing at cats’ heads.

This allowed him to mimic the scent that we cat owners can’t get enough of.


Our cats smell good and you’re not the only one that thinks that.

It can be very comforting to come home after a long day and take a good sniff of your cat’s head.

Just be wary when your cat smells bad as it may signal a health issue and requires medical attention.


Is Your Cat Comforted By Your Smell?

Cats often find comfort in the familiar scent of their owners. Your unique smell helps to provide security and assurance when your cat is feeling nervous such as a vist to the vet.

Why Do Cats Smell Better Than Dogs?

Cats tend to groom themselves more often than dogs which helps to remove bad smells. Furthermore, dogs are more active outdoors which accumulates more dirt and produces a stronger natural scent.

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