The 7 Fascinating Reasons Your Cat Smells Your Breath

If you’re a cat owner, you may notice that a peculiar thing happens when you breathe around your cat. Maybe you’ve noticed that your cat spends quite a bit of time sniffing around your mouth area, or you’ve noticed your cat taking extra attention when you exhale.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your cat takes such a keen interest in smelling your breath. These reasons are:

  1. Your cat is learning about you
  2. Cats navigate the world around them using their noses
  3. Cats are food-driven, and interested in what you’ve eaten
  4. They are naturally curious
  5. It is cat is attracted to warm places
  6. Your cat is checking your well-being
  7. Your cat trusts and loves you


1. Your Cat is Learning Things About You

It’s a well-known fact that cats have an extraordinary sense of smell, but just how much are they able to take in about the environment around them with their nose alone?

While it is estimated that humans have around 5 million sensors in our nose, cats have around 200 million.

It’s hard for us as people to imagine — we arguably rely much more on our other senses such as sight or sound — but your cat can use their nose to pick up on what other cats or creatures are around them.

Your cat may be smelling your breath because they are trying to learn more about you using their most sensitive tool.


2. Cats Navigate the World Around Them Through Their Noses

Similar to our first point, cats rely on their nose to an extent that is not really fathomable to humans.

A cat can use its nose to find food, pick up on what other cats have been nearby (thanks to their pheromones), and to find their way around a familiar space.

To your cat, sticking their nose in everything that crosses their path is the logical thing to do. It may be your cat’s instinct to sniff your mouth simply because it’s exactly that — an instinct.


3. Cats are food-driven

Have you ever wondered why your cat comes running down the hallway as soon as you so much as open their bag of cat food? While some of this may have to do with them associating the noises of the bags with dinner time, it is also possible that your cat is smelling their food from a great distance away.

And it’s not only their dinner that cats are interested in. Your cat wants to know what you have been having for dinner, too — and what better way to do that than smelling your breath?


4. Cats are naturally curious creatures

It’s anticlimactic, but even with impressive scientific strides, there are some things that our cats do that we can question to no avail.

The strange habit of smelling our breath may be one of those things. However, there is always the option that cats are just smelling our breath out of curiosity.

It’s hard to say exactly what makes cats so curious, though it’s theorized that it can be traced back to their strong survival tactics, such as their instinct for hunting animals and hiding from predators.


5. Your cat is attracted to warm places

Have you ever put your hand in front of your mouth and breathed into it?

Most likely, the temperature of your breath will feel warm on your hand’s surface. Much like your cat wants to lay in the one ray of sunshine that sneaks into your house or nap on the radiator, your cat may be attracted to the warm emitted from your own breath.


6. Your cat is checking in our your well-being

Could our pets possibly be able to draw conclusions about our health by sniffing our breath?

Some people theorize that cats may be able to pick up on an abnormal smell in their favorite human’s mouth. In many people, bad breath can be a sign of certain health conditions such as gum disease.

Scientists have found that our cats can be more in tune with human’s emotions than was previously thought, so maybe an idea like this isn’t so far-fetched.


7. Your cat trusts you and loves you

Cats are methodical animals — for the most part, they do not give their unconditional love away for free. If your cat is getting close enough to you to smell your mouth, the chances are that the two of you share a great bond and sense of closeness.

Your cat might be giving your mouth a sniff as a point of affection, or a little way to say hello.


Writer: Rachel Cribby

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