An owner touching her cat's nose with hers.

If you were to breathe in your cat’s scent, would you be able to describe it? Most cats simply smell like themselves (can “fluffy” be used to describe a smell?), but it’s not uncommon for some felines to give off highly specific scents. We’ve heard owners describe their cats as “cinnamony,” “perfumey,” and just all around “delicious.” This could just be one more example of the profound appreciation some owners have for their cats, but could there be a scientific explanation for why a cat smells good?


Cats produce various pheromones to communicate with other cats. Unfortunately, while we may be able to pick up on odors produced by their scent glands (such as the anal glands), humankind is unequipped to truly detect or interpret exactly what they mean. Some owners can point to a slightly nutty or earthy aroma when kissing or nuzzling the top of their cat’s head. This could be explained by the scent glands near the ears, mouth, or chin. 

Look Good, Feel Good

Cats are incredible at grooming themselves. In fact, they spend about a third of their waking hours tidying up their fur coats. This is due in large part to their self-preservation instinct that enables them to evade predators by keeping as clean and scent-free as possible. Domestic felines that grace our modern homes maintain this fastidious behavior, and are better-smelling as a result. 

It’s in the Air

It is possible that your cat smells good because they live in a clean, smoke-free, and healthy home. They could also be enjoying optimal health. This combination of a truly thriving animal in a completely supportive environment could explain how lovely they smell. In other words, they smell good because you and your family do, too. 

The Whole View

Cat owners are pretty quick to notice when their cats smell off or bad in some way, and these odors are often connected to poor dental health, impacted anal glands, digestion issues, incontinence, kidney disease, urine spraying, and poor grooming. 

Sometimes, a cat might smell good, like maple syrup or cotton candy, but they are actually suffering from diabetes mellitus. This condition can trigger a sweet or fruity smell to come from a cat’s mouth. 

If you suspect that your cat smells good for possible health concerns, please let us know. The sooner you act, the better. It is possible that your cat doesn’t have serious health conditions, but it’s always best to rule them out.

Your Cat Smells Good

It is most likely that your cat smells good to you because you love them. The oxytocin gaze positive loop centers around the prolonged gazing into your cat’s eyes, but it could also include smell as a part of the attachment you have with your cat. 

If you ever have questions about your cat’s appearance, behavior, and overall health, please call us at (732) 531-1212. As fellow cat lovers, our staff is always here to help at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital