Skip to content

Why Are Cats Attracted To The Smell Of Bleach

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cats are attracted to the smell of bleach due to its strong odor and its ability to mask other smells.
  • This attraction may be due to the chemical interactions between bleach and the environment, the presence of chlorine pheromones, and the abnormal or unfamiliar odor of bleach.
  • It is not safe for cats to smell bleach as it can cause respiratory distress, gastrointestinal irritation, and skin irritation.
  • Symptoms of bleach toxicity in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation.
  • To protect cats from bleach, store cleaning products out of reach, use pet-safe alternatives, keep cats out of the room during cleaning, ensure proper ventilation, and contact a veterinarian if accidental ingestion occurs.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Practicing small pets and equine veterinarian and junior teaching assistant in Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Saturday 2 December 2023
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Why Are Cats Attracted To The Smell Of Bleach
This page may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

Have you ever noticed your cat is attracted to the smell of bleach? In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating question of why cats are attracted to the smell of bleach. From the science behind their sense of smell to the potential dangers of this attraction, we’ll cover all the fascinating details you should know.

Why Do Cats Love to Smell Bleach?

Cats are attracted to the smell of bleach because of its strong, pungent odor that stimulates their olfactory senses. The smell also masks other odors, making the environment feel clean and fresh. But bleach can be harmful to your cat if ingested, so it’s important to keep cleaning products out of reach.

You see, cats are naturally curious animals that love to explore and investigate new smells. The scent of bleach may be intriguing to cats because it’s a strong odor that’s different from their usual surroundings. Also, bleach contains sodium hypochlorite that gives off a chlorine-like odor which cats find intriguing.

Another reason why cats may be attracted to the smell of bleach is that they have a keen sense of smell that allows them to pick up on scents that humans may not notice. Cats have an organ in their noses called the vomeronasal organ that allows them to detect pheromones and other chemicals in the environment.

That said, below are the top reasons why cats love smelling bleach:

Chemical Interactions

Chemical interactions between bleach and the environment are an important reason why cats love to smell bleach. When bleach comes into contact with organic materials, it can produce a chemical reaction that releases chlorine gas. This reaction can create a new, unique scent that may attract your cat.

Chlorine Pheromones

Though there’s no scientific evidence to back it up, bleach or chlorine may produce pheromones that attract cats. According to research published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, pheromones are chemical signals that cats use to communicate with each other.

Still, it’s possible that the smell of bleach or chlorine may remind your cat of certain scents in its natural environment, such as the smell of urine or ammonia. 

Abnormal Smell

Another possible reason why cats are attracted to the smell of bleach is that it has an abnormal or unfamiliar odor that piques their curiosity. Cats have a highly sensitive sense of smell and are often draw towards strong scents that they’re not familiar with

Also, bleach can produce a strong, overpowering smell that can linger in the air for some time. This scent may be intriguing to cats, who may want to investigate the source of the smell.

Is It Safe for Cats to Smell Bleach?

Simply put, it’s not completely safe for cats to smell bleach. Bleach contains highly toxic chemicals that can cause respiratory distress, gastrointestinal irritation, and skin irritation in cats. It’s important to keep your cat away from bleach and ensure proper ventilation when using bleach or other cleaning products.

Exposure to bleach can cause several health problems in cats. When cats smell bleach, they can inhale the fumes, which can irritate their respiratory system, leading to coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Prolonged exposure to bleach fumes can cause severe respiratory distress and even lung damage in cats.

Moreover, bleach can cause gastrointestinal irritation and skin irritation in cats. If your cat ingests bleach, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Bleach can also lead to chemical burns or ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, or stomach. Also, skin contact with bleach can cause redness, swelling, and itching.

If your cat has ingested bleach, it’s important to recognize the signs of toxicity. These include coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. 

Difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drooling, and skin irritation may also indicate bleach exposure in your cat. In severe cases, your cat may develop chemical burns or ulcers in the mouth or on the paws.

Bleach Toxicity to Cats

Bleach is toxic to cats and can cause a range of health problems, including gastrointestinal irritation, respiratory distress, and skin irritation. Even small amounts of bleach can be harmful to cats, so it’s essential to take every precaution necessary to protect them from exposure.

The symptoms of bleach toxicity in your cat can vary depending on the concentration of bleach, the duration of exposure, and the cat’s health. Gastrointestinal irritation is a common symptom of bleach toxicity in cats. It includes vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Also, cats may drool, retch, and experience abdominal pain. 

Respiratory distress is another common symptom which includes coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Cats may also experience difficulty breathing, causing rapid or shallow breaths. Moreover, skin irritation is also a symptom of bleach toxicity. It may include redness, swelling, and itching. 

If you suspect that your cat has ingested bleach, contact your veterinarian immediately. The longer the cat is exposed to bleach, the more severe the health effects can be. 

That said, the treatment for bleach toxicity in cats depends on the severity of the symptoms and the amount of bleach your cat has digested. 

In mild cases, the veterinarian may recommend supportive care, such as giving the cat fluids and monitoring its condition. If the cat has ingested bleach, the veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove the bleach from the system.

In more severe cases, the cat may require hospitalization for treatment. This may include oxygen therapy to help with breathing difficulties or IV fluids to treat dehydration. The veterinarian may also administer medications to help with pain or inflammation.

How to Protect Your Cats From Bleach

To protect your cats from the potential dangers of bleach, store all cleaning products in a secure location out of reach. Use non-toxic, pet-safe alternatives when possible. Keep your cats out of the room during cleaning and ensure proper ventilation. In case of accidental ingestion, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Cats are curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings, so keeping cleaning products out of their reach is essential. The best way to store cleaning products is in a locked cabinet or high shelf that your cat cannot access. Also, put cleaning products away immediately after use to prevent your cat from accidentally knocking over or ingesting them.

You can also use pet-safe bleach alternatives to protect your cat from potential harm. Many non-toxic, pet-safe cleaning products are available on the market including vinegar, baking soda, and plant-based cleaners. They’re effective at cleaning and disinfecting without the use of harsh chemicals. 

According to a study published in Veterinary Nursing Journal, one should avoid using strong smelling disinfectants as their strong scent can upset your cat

Moreover, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation when using bleach or any other cleaning product in your home. When cleaning with bleach, open windows, and doors to increase airflow and reduce the concentration of cleaning fumes. Using fans can also help improve ventilation and reduce the risk of your cat inhaling harmful fumes. 

Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen, and your cat may ingest bleach or other harmful cleaning products. If you suspect your cat has ingested bleach, contact your veterinarian immediately. They can advise you on the next steps to take and provide appropriate treatment. 

To summarize, cats’ attraction to the smell of bleach is rooted in their natural curiosity and sensitivity to strong scents. But remember that bleach can be toxic to your cat, so you should always use it cautiously. By understanding their behavior and taking necessary precautions, we can keep our feline friends safe and happy in our homes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *