What Scents Do Cats Hate?

As a cat owner, you know how important it is to keep your furry friend happy. Cats have sensitive noses and are particular about the scents they encounter. Certain smells can even be repulsive to them and cause discomfort or stress. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about what scents cats hate and how to avoid them.

What Scents Do Cats Hate?

Cats dislike certain smells that pet owners should avoid using in their homes or around their pets. Here are some of the scents cats hate:

  • Citrus (in general)
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine
  • Wintergreen
  • Citronella
  • Banana
  • Thyme
  • Clove
  • Vinegar
  • Rue oil
  • Coleus canina (plant scent)
  • Dirty litter box smell
  • Certain cleaning chemicals
  • Ammonia
  • Menthol
  • Cedarwood
  • Wormwood
  • Mustard oil
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cider vinegar
  • Aloe
  • Capsaicin (chili pepper extract)
  • Strong perfumes
  • Alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Cedar oil
  • Neem oil
  • Euphorbia (spurge plant)
  • Marigold
  • Geranium
  • Tarragon
  • Fennel
  • Anise
  • Bay leaf
  • Caraway
  • Naphthalene (found in mothballs)
  • Pine sol
  • Lysol
  • Certain air fresheners
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cactus
  • Aconite (wolfsbane)
  • Bitter apple
  • Potpourri
  • Bergamot
  • Bitter almond
  • Balsam
  • Camphor
  • Lemongrass
  • Rose
  • Sassafras
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • Birch
  • Strong spices (like curry)
  • Dirty socks
  • Old fish smell
  • Jasmine
  • Patchouli
  • Burnt toast
  • Raw meat (some cats dislike this)
  • Spoiled food
  • Wet dog smell
  • Skunk odor
  • Petroleum-based products
  • Gasoline
  • Diesel
  • Burnt rubber
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Tobacco or cigarette smoke
  • Ash
  • Fresh paint
  • Mildew or mold
  • Chlorine
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Oregano
  • Cedar shavings
  • Perfumed cat litters
  • Hair sprays
  • Certain deodorants
  • Nail polish remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Kerosene
  • Turpentine
  • Certain scented candles

Read More: How to Keep Cats Out of a Room? Take 10 Proven Ways NOW!

How to Avoid Scents Cats Hate

It is essential to keep your cat safe and happy by avoiding scents that they dislike. Here are some tips on how to avoid these smells:

Use Natural Cleaning Products

Instead of using cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals and strong odors, opt for natural cleaning products. You can use vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice to clean your home without exposing your cat to harmful chemicals.

Check the Ingredients

When purchasing household items such as air fresheners or candles, always check the label for ingredients that may be harmful to your cat. Avoid products that contain limonene, linalool, menthol, cinnamaldehyde, or eucalyptus oil.

Keep Plants Away from Your Cat

Certain plants, including lilies and chrysanthemums, are toxic to cats. These plants emit a scent that cats dislike, and their toxicity can cause serious health problems for your pet. Keep these plants out of reach of your cat.

Read More: How To Keep Cats Off Your Car? Proven Way For All Stubborn Cats! 

Pros and Cons of Using Scent Repellents for Cats

There are pros and cons to using scent repellents to keep cats away from certain areas of your home. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages:


  • Scent repellents can be effective in keeping cats away from certain areas.
  • They are easy to use and require no special skills or equipment.
  • They are affordable and readily available.


  • Some scents can be harmful to cats if ingested or inhaled in large quantities.
  • Scent repellents may not be effective for all cats.
  • Overuse of scent repellents can lead to a desensitization effect, making them less effective over time.

Alternatives to Scent Repellents

If you prefer not to use scent repellents to keep cats away from certain areas, there are some alternatives you can try:

Use Physical Barriers

Physical barriers such as baby gates or screens can be an effective way to keep cats out of certain areas. This method is safe and does not require the use of chemicals or scents.

Provide Your Cat with a Safe Space

Cats often seek out cozy spots where they feel comfortable and safe. Providing your cat with a designated space that they can call their own can help prevent them from entering unwanted areas.

Read More: Are Prayer Plants Toxic To Cats? Protect Cats From Toxic House Plants

Step by Step Guide to Making Homemade Cat Repellent Spray

If you prefer to make your own cat repellent spray, here is a step-by-step guide:


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 drops of citrus essential oil


  1. In a spray bottle, combine the white vinegar and water.
  2. Add 10 drops of citrus essential oil.
  3. Shake well to mix the ingredients.
  4. Spray the solution in areas where you want to keep your cat away.


Cats have sensitive noses and are particular about the scents they encounter. By avoiding scents that cats hate and taking steps to keep your cat happy and safe, you can ensure that your furry friend lives a long and healthy life.


What is the best way to keep cats out of my garden?

There are many ways to keep cats out of your garden, including using physical barriers such as chicken wire or planting certain plants that cats dislike, such as lavender.

Are there any essential oils that are safe for cats?

Some essential oils are safe for cats, including cedarwood, frankincense, and helichrysum. However, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before using essential oils around your cat.

Can cats be allergic to scents?

Yes, some cats can be allergic to certain scents or develop a sensitivity over time. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction in your cat, such as sneezing or skin irritation, stop using the scent immediately and consult with your veterinarian.

Read more: Can You Vacuum Cat Litter? Does It Be Ruined? 

How do I know if my cat dislikes a particular scent?

If your cat is exposed to a scent they dislike, they may exhibit behaviors such as sneezing, coughing, or avoiding the area where the scent is present.

What should I do if my cat ingests a toxic scent?

If your cat ingests a toxic scent, contact your veterinarian immediately. They may recommend inducing vomiting or providing supportive care to help mitigate any potential health problems.

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