There don't seem to be any good, reliable answers to this question out there in Internet land.

I was eating a banana one day and a couple of my cats, being curious little beasties, came up and sniffed it. They both instantly recoiled, as if it was the worst smell ever! Considering they smell their own poo when they go to the toilet and like sniffing each other's bums, cats and people obviously have different ideas of what smells good or bad!

Other odours that cats dislike: onion, capsicum and mint (toothpaste). These make sense as the plant has developed these strong chemicals to avoid being eaten. However, bananas are fruit and are considered delicious by many species!

I have seen some links where a cat likes bananas, so why do some cats seem to hate the smell of banana?

  • Cats very much like the odor of one mint at least (catnip). And one of mine liked mint ice cream....
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 16:45
  • @keshlam I am aware that catnip is a type of mint. My cats have a catnip mouse (which has no odour to me) and although they don't play with it that often, when they do they go crazy over it. They don't like the smell of toothpaste, however, recoiling at it every time.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 8:06
  • It's possible that bananas contain a compond that cats can't metabolize -- I can attest that food intolerance can be seriously uncomfortable -- and their noses are warning them off. But that's speculation.
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 13:53
  • 1
    I doubt they smell their poo/bums cause for them its a good smell, they do it cause these scents carry additional information about the other cat, stuff we can't smell.
    – Just Do It
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:48
  • @PoolPartyRenekton They mightn't think it's a good smell, and in fact smelling their own or other cat's excrement almost always triggers their covering reflex but they certainly don't recoil from it either. Sometimes they even hold their mouth open to use the olfactory organ on the roof of their mouths (can't remember the name just now).
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


Cats have a sense of smell 14 times greater than humans. I find the feline anatomy and behavior amazing. God made cats' sense of smell so that they are exposed to less toxic items. For example, my cat gags every time she smells toothpaste. This is a common effect. Toothpaste has cat-toxic substances in it. So the cats' sense of smell is protecting them from danger. There are also toxic substances in citrus fruit. However, bananas have not yet been proven as toxic to cats. Maybe your kitty knows something we don't yet. 🐱

  • What are the feline toxins in toothpaste? Has it been shown that this is what the cats react to when they smell it? I was assuming that they were reacting to the mint odour but I have nothing to back this up except observation and that mint is the strongest odour detectable to people.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 11:06
  • It depends on your toothpaste. Common toothpaste toxins to cats are Fluoride, Xylitol, and even Eucalyptus. Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 23:16
  • I'm not sure why you said even eucalyptus. It has a very strong smell and is toxic to a number of species (possibly even humans in large doses). My toothpaste is minty. Has anyone actually researched the ingredients individually to see if cats react to them? Many toxins are odourless and tasteless.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 0:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.