Cats’ noses are powerful things, and if they come across a scent that they enjoy, they can give themselves over to it wholeheartedly.
That’s one thing that many owners love about their cats — how they can lose themselves in a scent that they love. They’ll rub up against it, roll in it, or do anything to get closer to it, and they lose all sense of the outside world in the process.
If you enjoy watching your cat savor a smell that they love, then know that each odor on this list is sure to drive your cat wild, and they’ll no doubt be incredibly appreciative of the fact that you’ve filled your home with things that they love to sniff.
This one’s no surprise — the association is so strong, the plant is actually named after cats. Of course, it may not be the smell of catnip that felines enjoy so much as the powerful effect that it can have on them.
In fact, catnip can act like various drugs, depending on how it’s ingested, including a narcotic or a psychoactive substance. That means if your cat seems like they’re high after sniffing catnip, that’s because they probably are. Still, the plant seems to be completely safe for them and can even be used as a training aid.
- We reviewed the best catnip toys- see our top picks here!
2. Valerian root
Valerian root works much the same as catnip, creating a euphoric effect in most cats — for a while, anyway. After a few minutes, the effect wears off, and the herb acts as a sedative, causing the cat to become drowsy.
As a result, valerian root can be a great way to keep your cat calm and placid before road trips or visits to the vet. It’s also perfect for cats who don’t respond to catnip, as it has a different active ingredient. You can even take it yourself if you’re looking for an all-natural sleep aid — but don’t let your cat see you raiding their private stash.
Surprisingly, olive is another alternative to catnip. However, instead of riling your cat up, it should leave them feeling relaxed and laidback — it may even leave them in a nearly trance-like state.
That’s because olive leaves contain a compound called “oleuropein,” which produces a narcotic effect in cats. It’s a great way to calm a skittish cat, but you may find that even your most relaxed kitties also enjoy munching on olive leaves (although maybe that’s why they’re so relaxed).
If you plant honeysuckle in your garden, you may watch as your cat slowly weaves in and out of the leaves, stopping occasionally to rub up against them. That’s because the scent is relaxing to cats, so they love to hang out among the leaves.
Just be careful not to let your cat eat any honeysuckle berries, as they’re toxic to felines. In fact, it’s best if you don’t let them eat any part of the plant, so make sure they’re just enjoying it for the smell.
Thyme doesn’t just smell good to cats, it’s actually good for them as well. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can be especially beneficial if your cat is suffering from conjunctivitis. It can soothe other allergies as well, so don’t discourage your cat from sniffing or even ingesting it.
If your pet doesn’t have any use for the anti-inflammatory properties, they’ll still enjoy how relaxed and calm that it makes them (and you will too, presumably). It’s not universally beloved by cats, though, so your particular kitty may take it or leave it.
Chamomile works in a similar manner to thyme, and it can be just as beneficial for treating eye inflammation and allergies. Try offering your cat fresh chamomile leaves, as that’s how they’ll get the most potent version of the plant.
It’s also helpful for relaxation, which is something you already know if you’ve ever brewed yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Speaking of which, maybe you shouldn’t leave your glass sitting out unattended — unless you like sharing your drinks with your cats, of course.
Many flowers can be quite inviting to cats, and they’ll spend a ton of time sniffing their petals. Roses, daisies, and lilies seem to be especially inviting, but be careful about which bouquets you bring home, as some flowers are highly toxic to cats.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to the toxicity that you’ll receive from your partner if you explain that the dozen roses that you brought home on Valentine’s Day are actually for the cat.
Not all fruit scents are attractive to cats — they seem to hate citrus, for example. Other fruits seem to be extremely inviting, though; watermelon, peach, and strawberry are particular favorites.
Some cats are content to just sniff and possibly rub up against the fruit, while others will be tempted to take a bite or two. Make sure that whatever fruit you have out is safe for cats. Those that are safe are usually also good for the animals, as they’re full of antioxidants and moisture.
If you’ve noticed that your cat spends more time in the kitchen when you’re cooking with basil, you’re not imagining things. Basil is in the same family as catnip, and it has a similar activation effect on them.
However, while many cats enjoy the smell of basil, few seem to like the taste. As a result, it’s unlikely that your cat will go as wild for basil as they do for catnip, but they still might appreciate you keeping some around (especially if it’s sprinkled on baked chicken).
It may not seem like it all the time, but chances are that you’re one of your cat’s absolute favorite things — and they love your smell, as it reminds them of you. That’s why they’re constantly rubbing up against you; not only does this mark you as their personal property, but it also allows them to experience your scent in all its glory.
In fact, you may even catch your cat curling up in your dirty laundry every now and then. Knowing that your cat is snuggling with your dirty socks may be a little gross, but it’s also a little heartwarming — and doesn’t that describe all great romances?
The Nose Knows
If you really want to show your cat how much you love them, then surrounding them with some of their favorite scents is a great way to do it. Not only will that make their environment much more pleasant, but in some cases, it will also have a profound effect on their well-being.
Of course, you need to be careful with some of the things on this list, as a few of them can be toxic to your cat — and others, like catnip, can be toxic to your valuables if your cat starts racing around like an animal possessed.
- Related Read: 25 Plants That Are Safe for Cats
Featured image credit: islam zarat, Shutterstock