Sheela WAS a stray
I can tell a cat's life history by smelling him or her! Good morning readers. This is going to be another fun article and it's on the topic of cat body odor. Readers, are any of you cat sniffers?
The idea for this article came when Michael (PoC) read my email about my sniffing Sheela and Shirley and knowing they were stray cats. There's a definite odor they put out and Michael believes I'm correct.
It was the first thing Laura noticed about Furby. She even gave him a bath about once a month. Of course at the time he was always getting into things to make him dirty. Even when he kept himself groomed this woodsy scent would surface.
Now that I'm doing rescue I've become a compulsive cat sniffer! This may sound ridiculous, but I believe I can tell the history of each cat by doing this. For example Sheela, Shirley and Casper (Cassie) all smell of warm earth after a rain. They were all listed on their shelter paperwork as strays. I believe the circumstances in their case.
Misty, Lily, Tom and Jethro, Mia and Lucky were all listed as "strays" turned into GCAC (Greenville County Animal Care). To put it bluntly, that's a bunch of bull-crap if you know what I mean. A few of them smelled of cigarettes. All of them were free of ear mites. The true strays we've saved had ear mites from living on the street.
The MandyLane Gang, my first rescue, all had ear mites but no odor. This suggests they were fed mother's milk but lived outside with a mama cat. Since they didn't have to hunt for live food, they didn't have a wild food scent.
Which I believe is the answer to a lot of the woodsy smells my daughter and I pick up on. It's already been proven that people have odors come through their skin when they eat a lot of garlic or curry powder. Cats are probably the same way.
If a cat has to survive on rats, mice, rabbits and bugs as their primary diet the smell will either seep through their skin or through the saliva on their paws while washing up.
One source I checked says a healthy clean cat will have a "nutty" scent. The same source verified my knowledge that cats are VERY clean animals and pride themselves as such.
So here I was the other night smelling of my newest rescues Sheela and Shirley. They smell of damp earth. As I was petting Sheela I found a large scab on her back. If she had belonged to anyone they would have taken her to the vet for stitches. Sheela allowed me to examine the sore without much of a fuss. It was already pulling away from the skin and not infected. I left it alone and today I noticed it's gone.
I feel fortunate it healed on it's own. I didn't even treat it with medication because I didn't want Sheela paying attention to it and perhaps getting it infected.
I'm not going to go into a bunch of references for this article. You can type "cat odors" or "why cats smell" into your search engine and come up with more than enough explanations.
I have several questions I'd like to ask the readers to comment on today. First, are you a cat sniffer? Second, do you believe illness changes the aroma of a cat. Or food (especially live food).
I really would like to know I'm not alone in doing this. I guess I do look a little strange when I hold up my cat and stick my nose into it's fur checking for a background story.
I know it may sound a little odd, but I'm writing an ebook about my rescues. I'll write on each cat and they cat will also write about itself. As I said, cat sniffing tells me the kind of life my rescue has led before I came into his of her life.
And sadly, it also tells me a lot of people lie when turning a cat into a shelter as a stray when they know full well they're just throwing their pet away.
I go to GCAC on Wednesday to rescue a Maine Coon mix named Meadow. She's a three year old with the most defeated look on her face. I can't wait to inhale her scent to learn her history.