Why Does My Cat Smell So Good?

Why does my cat smell so good

There is one thing that I love doing and that is to smell my cat. I’m talking really taking in my cat’s scent because my cat smells so good.

To me at least.

From my cats with many cat owners, I realise I’m not the only one with this crazy ‘fetish’. Many fellow cat owners love smelling their cats too thus making me seem less crazy when I mention it to them.

For a period of time, I thought that it was only my cat’s smell that I found appealing which prompted me to start smelling my friends’ cats as well.

Lo and behold, these cats smelt really good too. Not as good as my own cat as he has a special place in my heart but good enough for me to take a second whiff…and a third.

Why Do I Love The Smell Of My Cat?

Most domestic cats smell good. 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. After that, he has his own natural scent which is very pleasing and comforting to me.

There is actually some science as to why your cat smells so good.

A cat has nine scent glads that is 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.

There are scent glands located behind the ear of the cat that is called the Pinna glands. These glands give off a scent that makes your cat smell like freshly baked bread.

What a lovely scent!

The rule of thumb is that cats have pleasant smelling scent glands in areas that 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, there are other valid reasons as to why cats smell good.

Cats Are Fastidious Groomers

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 making themselves 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.

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.

Your Cat Smells Of Home

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 y0ur 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

For stray and feral cats who live in the wild, they are playing the roles of 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.

If a cat smells bad, that will take away its 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, the cat can evade or escape a lot easier.

Being solo hunters, cat’s 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 Bias

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.

Why Do Cats Head Smell Nice?

The top of a cat’s head smell 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.

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 a cat shampoo as human shampoo can dry out their skin and cause irritation.

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 having 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 do the vet for the doctor to ascertain what is causing the strong unpleasant smell and prescribe the required medication.


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.