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Home > Cats > Why Do Cats Smell Your Breath? 5 Likely Reasons

Why Do Cats Smell Your Breath? 5 Likely Reasons


Our cats interact with us in all kinds of ways that we might find bizarre but are actually quite normal to them. When it comes to smelling our breath, this might be something we humans deem disgusting, but it can tell our cats a lot about us that they might not know otherwise.

A cat smelling your breath is just another method of communication, and sometimes they’re trying to get more information about you. In this article, we will explore a few reasons why a cat might smell your breath so that you can better understand your feline’s behavior.


The 5 Likely Reasons Why Cats Smell Our Breath

1. They’re Inspecting a New Smell

Cats have a sense of smell that is roughly 14 times stronger than humans. Your breath can send lots of messages! Cats are attracted to smelly things anyway, so if you have something heavy on your breath, they are just following the trail of the scent. They could simply be curious and lean in to get a better whiff.

Portrait of a young beautiful woman in a yellow shirt hugging kissing with a gray fluffy cat sitting
Image By: Olesya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

2. Your Cat Might Sense an Illness or Disease

Sometimes dogs get all the credit in this area. However, our cats can also smell traces of certain health conditions in our bodies. When our bodies are stricken with illness, certain chemicals are released within.  Unlike dogs, cats might not have specialized training to warn people when there’s an issue, but they can definitely notice the change and might smell your breath more often as a result.

Don’t let this scare you, of course! That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have some type of life-threatening disease. But it can indicate a bigger problem—so if you’re feeling symptomatic or are late for your annual checkup,  it might be time to make an appointment with your general practitioner.

3. Your Cat Smell Food on Your Breath

We all know our kitties are voracious eaters—always crying for more, even if they just finished a meal. Did you just get done eating a delicious, greasy cheeseburger? Or maybe you’ve had some yummy fried chicken that tickles their senses.

Scientists think cats can smell food up to 150 feet away! Your cats can certainly detect the smell of food in your mouth, and they might just want to take in all of the different aromas. This is perfectly normal, though they might wonder why you didn’t share.

Cat kissing a woman on the cheek
Image Credit: MarcosMorandi, Pixabay

4. It’s Warm in There

Cats are naturally attracted to warm places. That’s why you might see one sitting on your laptop or close to a heater vent. If your mouth is open, they can certainly tell that the temperature is quite different in there.

This can pique their curiosity and make them wonder if they can benefit from this warmth. Of course, they will soon realize that you aren’t a heater, nor can they climb inside of there—so they’ll be off to the next thing in no time.

5. It’s a Way of Bonding

If your cat is getting up close and personal, smelling your breath might just be another way that they are bonding with you. Think about it. They might be meeting your chest and snuggling up to your warm body, and when they get close to your face, they naturally gravitate towards your mouth. It really could be that simple.

Since you’re their human, they love all your smells—even the ones that you don’t know about. So, when they smell your mouth while cuddling, it’s just another way to get closer to you. Also, the feeling of you breathing can mimic when they were kittens close to their mother.

cat licks on the nose of a young man
Image Credit: Julija Sulkovska, Shutterstock



Cats learn about us in a variety of ways. Our breath tells a story we might not realize. So, the bottom line is that your cat is getting a better understanding of you—whether it be what you ate, the warmth you emit, or otherwise.

There might not be any clear indicator of why your cat is smelling your breath. It could be a combination of things. However, these are the most common reasons listed in this article—and the rest is up for you to interpret.

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Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

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