Why Does My Cat Like the Smell of Bleach?

All products featured on the site are independently selected by the editor of Floppycats, Jenny Dean. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Floppycats also accepts private sponsorships and participates as an affiliate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. You can read our full disclosure at the bottom of the page. Originally published Aug 10, 2016 A reader recently shared a story that might sound very familiar to other Ragdoll cat owners: someone in your house has been cleaning using bleach, and even though they wash up thoroughly, your Ragdoll kitty immediately and inexplicably begins to go a little crazy, sniffing, rubbing and rolling all over anything that smells like bleach, from hands, to mops, to laundry. What in the world is going on? If you have experienced this scenario and wondered why does my cat roll in bleach? Are they having some kind of strange reaction? You are not alone. This is a surprisingly common occurrence among cats. While even the experts cant totally explain this, here is a little bit of information to help you understand this odd phenomenon.

The vet will continue to treat the cat by giving them large amounts of milk or water, and the prognoses is generally good if you act quickly and effectively. Their love of the scent is a common cat quirk, but it does mean that you have to be extra careful to keep any chemicals containing bleach safely away from your kitty.

Do cats like the smell of bleach?

Why do cats love bleach? … The generally agreed upon answer is that it is because cats have a very highly developed sense of smell – much more complex than humans’ – and something like bleach might be connected to their pheromones, triggering a biological, hormonal reaction to the scent.

What happens if cats smell bleach?

Cats have a strong reaction to a variety of smells, including bleach and catnip. Bleach is a harsh irritant and can affect the eyes, but it is not toxic. There is no risk of a problem when the area is dry.

Why does my cat love the smell of chlorine?

Vets speculate the odor stimulates endorphin-like brain chemicals. Maybe there’s a rare chlorine gene too, and menthol. So, Alicelanders, if your cat responds to odd chemical smells, let us know (and please indicate if the cat loves or ignores catnip too).

Some cats like the smell of bleach even though generally cats dislike the smell of cleaning chemicals. Some cats get high on the smell of bleach as if it is catnip. There appears to be no chemical link between the chemical in catnip (4a,7,7a-Nepetalactone) and the usual chemical which we call bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Although there are other types of bleach.

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Many cats seem to have a bleach fetish so this isn’t as crazy a question as you may think. The chlorine in bleach (and also the ammonia in other cleaning products) can smell rather like the biochemical odour of cat wee. Cats can smell things we can’t because of their supersensitive sense of smell too, so what may be an undetectable level of bleach for us may be really potent to a cats nose.

It’s not unlike the excited rolling and purring and cheek rubbing you see with cat nip actually. Although this response may seem harmless enough, if your cat rubs in bleach and then licks it off they are essentially ingesting an irritant poison (sodium hypochlorite).

Bleach disinfects surfaces because its superpower is breaking down proteins present in viruses, bacteria and fungi. It causes ulceration of eyes, skin, paws pads, the lining of the airways, mouth and rest of the gastrointestinal tract. Household bleach (5 – 6% strength hypochlorite) should ideally be used at a 1:32 dilution if a cat is in the house – this concentration is effective for most daily purposes if left for 10-15 minutes contact time.

Birds and fish are exceptionally sensitive to chemicals (hence the old practice of taking a caged canary down into a mine). In the case of mopping floors, I’d always use a 1:32 strength and ideally go over the floor with a separate bucket of water afterwards especially if you are lucky enough to have underfloor heating – you don’t want any of your family’s airways to be exposed to bleach aroma toxicity!On this note, also avoiding using very hot water to dilute your bleach. What should I do if my cat might have been in contact with bleach? C arefully check their fur, paws and mouth area for any smells of bleach and then immediately rinse with soap and water (not antibacterial or Dettol liquid soap or any containing essential oils – also toxic to cats!).

Note: I’ve used mL (millilitres) and L (litres) because the terms gallon and pint differ in volume between the UK and US. Here’s an online dilution calculator – I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy, so please double check your result, but it might help you to work out how much bleach you need relative to water in other units that way you can use whichever regional volume measurement you’re used to.