I have had this idea for some time. I have no science to back it up because there is none. We know how sensitive cats are to scent. Cats almost use their noses like we use our eyes. You can buy products that give off pheromones that are meant to help calm a cat down. The nose to nose greeting between cats results in the cat smelling the breath that is emitted from the nose of the other cat. It is a marker that is memorised. In a video of cats with babies I recently posted, one cat is seen smelling the breath of a sleeping baby.
Attractions between male and female people is often in part based on the scent of the opposite person. Females are automatically more attracted to the scent of men who are more genetically distant to them than related people for instance. The reason? Better propagation. There is a lot going in at the subliminal level that we are not really aware of.
When we walk into someone’s home for the first time humans can detect the scent of the person living there provided there are no overpowering odours from other sources. Body scent is a big part of animal life and we are in that category.
I am not sure but it is distinctly possible that cats prefer the body scent of some people more than the scent of other people just like people prefer the scent of certain people. Somehow the scent of a particular person communicates to the cat that the human is safe or not hostile. It may communicate a lot more than that, in fact.
The first thing I do when I meet a new cat is put the back of my hand towards the cat. The cat advances and smells it. The cat might be particularly nervous and will retreat but some will come forward. I believe that they know that I am safe, non-hostile from my scent. From this first meeting which is in cat-to-cat style, the stranger cat will eventually overcome her/his nervousness.
There is a lot of discussion about cats not liking certain people while liking others. This can sometimes occur in families. There are many possible reasons for this. I believe that one of the reasons (and I stress “one” possible reason) is that the body scent of the person that the cat dislikes gives a signal to the cat that the person is potentially unfriendly.
One distraction to this idea is that a lot women wear perfume, which masks their natural body odour or they use bathroom products and makeup (and nowadays men too) which will influence the way they smell. Also, what we eat probably has an impact on our body scent. These are variables and influences which may affect the connection with our cat if our cat is attracted to our natural body scent.
I have speculated that a person’s scent may signal friendliness or hostility. This may be a temporary state based on how we feel. Do people give off pheromones and if so perhaps some people give off more than others and these may calm a cat, thereby reducing the anxiety of meeting a person?
I wonder too if there is every any sexual attraction through scent. Certainly human body odours are connected to sexual attraction.
Well, of course, I am speculating bigtime. However, I think it is reasonable to suggest that, as scent plays a major role in communication and recognition in cat’s life, our scent plays a part in whether cats like us or not.