Why Do Cats Sniff Everything?

Last Updated on April 13, 2020

You may have noticed that your cat will sniff almost anything you put in front of it, even if it is not food. Most of the time, newer things will get a hefty once over by your feline’s nose. Have you ever wondered why cats do this?

Cats Are Farsighted

Most people aren’t aware of this but cats are actually farsighted creatures. They have trouble seeing objects up close so they rely heavily on smell and touch. This is why you may notice your cat approaching a new object with caution. Not only does it appear blurry and large, but the scent is not familiar. This is where the whole “Cucumber Scare” came from and why it is actually not funny, but cruel.

Cats Know You by Scent

It is your smell that helps your cat recognize you, not what you look like! They also use your voice as well but rely so heavily on their sense of smell that if you do smell like something they are not used to, they can react negatively towards you. This is why many cats will actually put distance between themselves and their owners after being somewhere that has other animals. It is only temporary, no worries!

Cats Leave Scent Maps

It doesn’t matter if it is a box, a human, or a pineapple… If a cat rubs it, it is not only claiming it as theirs but leaving their own scent behind on it! This is another part of why cats sniff everything. If an object smells like another cat they will know they are on another cat’s turf. This also helps a cat navigate around as well. When they rub their scent on objects throughout the house, it helps them be more aware of where they are. This is also how they find their way back home if let outside.

Did you know?

Cats have over 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity. This beats out most dog breeds by more than double! They don’t just stop and smell the roses, they completely map them out and detect if they are poisonous or not.

Cats Are Curious

A cat’s nature is curiosity. That is why the old saying “curiosity killed the cat” is still commonly used today. Cats will often become curious beyond their own safety and end up in situations that are dangerous for them. They will use their nose to investigate new areas, new objects, other animals, and more. This is why it is important to not let your cat freely roam outdoors unprotected or unsupervised. I always recommend leash training your cat, investing in an outdoor enclosure, or properly training them to stay near you when you are outside with them. There are far too many dangers outdoors and their curiosity can get the better of them.

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5 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Sniff Everything?”

  1. My cute cat seems to sniff everything! I grabbed a piece of chocolate from the fridge – she couldn’t help but sniffing it. I put a CD into muh computer – she had to sniff it first! I dress up, and put on a new pair of pants – she was smelling in right away! It seems my little cutie is very curious!!!

  2. My cat seems to smell every plant in the garden and loves to rub herself around them, she also chases shadows and pounces on them. She has the habit of drinking from a running tap, if I put water out for her she will not touch it but will drink from muddy puddles in the Garden.


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