Why do cats smell your breath?

People ask, “Why do cats smell your breath?”. The answer is a simple one. Cats smell your breath because they smell everything. If your breath has a particular scent because, for example, you’ve just eaten something, they will sniff the air out of curiosity. The cat is gathering information and interpreting it. ‘For about the first two weeks of their lives kittens define the world through smell and touch’ (Cat Sense by Dr Bradshaw).

Cat smells air as person approaches

Cat smells air as person approaches

If you burp and your cat is on your lap she will smell your breath. If you fart your cat will smell the air. If she walks up to your feet and you’re wearing your smelly slippers she will smell them.

When you put food down for her she will smell the food before she eats it. If you open a kitchen cupboard she’ll smell inside and go in. She’s just checking and her sense of smell is finely tuned and super sensitive. A cat’s sense of smell is a great collector of information about objects.

Cats sniff almost everything when they approach it. It is almost as if they are using their sense of smell as a form of close range sight. Domestic cats don’t have great eyesight for close range and therefore rely on their sense of smell to understand what is right before them.

Whenever my cat is on my lap he’ll smell my breath if I have just burped after a meal (M&S Luxury muesli). As I just said, it’s because there is a smell in the air and domestic cats will pick up the smells even when they’re very faint and try to interpret them. It’s about curiosity and a desire to know what is happening around them. This is in the interests of survival ultimately.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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