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Home > Cats > What are Scent Soakers for Cats? Use and Safety Explained

What are Scent Soakers for Cats? Use and Safety Explained

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Scent soakers are not a specific item or brand for cats but are soft items around the home that can absorb and retain your cat’s natural scent (hence the name “scent soaker”). The idea of scent soakers has been around for a while, but the term was likely made popular by cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.

Scent soakers can be any item that can be permeated with and release your cat’s specific scent, such as cat beds, blankets, toys, or pillows. Even cat scratchers can hold a cat’s scent. The scent is stored and released from the cat rubbing pheromones on the item from its scent glands.


What’s the Idea Behind Scent Soakers?

The idea behind scent soakers is to allow your cat to impregnate items with scent by placing them in areas they feel confident and safe. These items will then release the fragrance into the environment, helping your cat to feel secure.

Similar to how certain smells (such as onion or garlic) can permeate our clothing, any soft furnishing or material that can absorb and release a cat’s scent can act as a scent soaker. By then strategically placing these items around the home (such as in certain rooms, cat carriers, etc.) where cats may not feel as confident, owners can help their cats feel comfortable and safe, reducing their stress and potentially resolving “problem” behaviors.

angry calico cat lying on edge of bed wagging tail
Image By: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

Why Are Scent Soakers Effective?

Scent soakers are effective because of how cats mark their territory. Cats have scent glands all over their bodies but they are concentrated around their face and paw pads.When a cat rubs or scratches a surface they will mark it with their unique scent. This marks the item as “owned” by the cat and helps establish a territory where the cat will feel secure and comfortable. Cats that own things around the home will often gravitate to them as part of their routines, much as they would do to defend their territories in the wild.

This is natural behavior and allows a cat to define a place to call their own where it can hunt, sleep, and mate safely. For house cats, their territory is defined by these items marked by their scent and signifies a safe place to relax and sleep. That is why scent soakers placed around the home can help cats feel secure, as they can visit these items defined in their territories and reduce anxiety and stress.

Cute ginger cat lying in bed
Image By: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

What Can Be Used as a Scent Soaker?

Any item that can hold scent can be used as a scent soaker. Cats will rub on items and scratch them to transfer the scent from glands in their faces, bodies, and paws. By placing items that can be used as scent soakers in places cats feel confident and comfortable, you can encourage your cat to mark them. Some everyday items used as scent soakers can include:

Any item your cat favors that is permeable to odors can be used as a scent soaker. Smaller items like pillows and folded blankets are easier to place, but a large scent soaker like a cat tree can be the “centerpiece” of a cat’s comfort environment.

Cat using a scratching post
Image By: 5 Second Studio, Shutterstock

Are Scent Soakers Safe to Use?

Scent soakers are entirely safe to use if the item is suitable for cats to sleep on or play with. By following the usual safety recommendations for cat toys and beds (like making sure no parts can break off), you can ensure the scent-soaked item is safe for your cat. There are no adverse effects to scent soakers since they’re an essential part of keeping your cat happy. This is true even with multiple cats in the household since numerous scent soakers can be placed in one room.

How Many Scent Soakers Should I Use?

Use as many scent soakers around your home as possible for your cat, particularly if you live in a multi-cat household. In homes with more than one cat living in it, their territories will inevitably overlap. This can mean that there can be confrontations over territory; by placing several scent soakers around your home for both cats in specific places, you can help them better define their borders.

For example, if cats A and B have one room that they like to use, place a few scent-soaked items for each cat at opposite sides of the room (and on the way to the room) to define their territory. Just make sure any places your cats use have ample resources for both.

old gray tabby cat lying on bed
Image By: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

What Else Can I Use To Help My Cat Feel Safe?

You can use synthetic pheromones and scent soakers to ease anxiety and stress. For example, Feliway can be used as a diffuser or spray in rooms, which can help create a calm “climate” in the home. Synthetic pheromones replicate the scent cats release from scent glands when they’re happy.divider-cat

Final Thoughts

Scent soakers are a safe and effective way to help your cat feel safe and comfortable in its home. Scent soakers are any item your cat favors with a permeable surface that can hold and release a feline’s scent. They can be placed around the home once your cat has used them to define their territory. Scent soakers are an inexpensive way of helping your cat feel calm and can help reduce behavior associated with anxiety or stress.

Featured Image Credit: VGstockstudio, Shutterstock

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