by timrel

April 4, 2022

Why Do Cats Hate Oranges

While most humans love the sweet, citrusy smell of a freshly peeled orange, your cat hates it. But why? 

First of all, cats are 14 times more sensitive to smells than humans. Your feline friend has such a strong sense of smell that it can smell odors for days, even weeks after the chemical that caused the smell has disappeared. So, while you may love the scent of a juicy mandarin, the smell is most likely repugnant for your cat, and way too overpowering. 

Secondly, citrus fruits, such as oranges, are toxic for cats. Citrus fruits contain essential oil extracts like limonene and linalool which can wreak havoc on cats’ nervous systems. They also contain psoralens, toxic chemical compounds that can induce photosensitivity. While the fruit itself is edible for cats, the peel and plant material can make your cat sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, or skin irritation. Another reason why cats hate oranges.

Do Cats Hate Orange Peel?

Yes, most cats (but not all) hate orange peel. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the likes and dislikes of your feline friend, the majority of cats are repelled by orange peel. 

The smell is simply too strong for a cat’s hyper-sensitive sense of smell; the acidity in the citrus puts them off. And that’s a good thing. The skin of citrus fruits, such as orange peel, is toxic for cats. 

What Smells Do Cats Dislike?

Cats have such a strong sense of smell that many scents that humans love are way too strong for the feline community. In particular, cats dislike strong scents such as:

  • Citrus smells such as lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit (all toxic for cats)
  • Banana
  • Eucalyptus, menthol, and mint scents (mint also causes gastrointestinal issues for cats)
  • Spicy aromas such as pepper, curry, or cinnamon (beware: cayenne pepper is toxic for cats)
  • Pine
  • Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and rue (take care as rue can be harmful to cats)
  • Plants such as lavender, marigolds, and geraniums (both are mildly toxic for your feline companion)
  • Vinegar
  • Ground coffee

Interestingly, the majority of smells that cats have an aversion to are toxic for them and if ingested could cause symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, excessive saliva, skin complaints, and dramatic weight loss. 

Do Cats Hate Lemongrass?

The jury is still out on whether or not cats hate lemongrass. While some cats seem to despise the scent of lemongrass (most likely because of its citrusy smell), many cats are actually drawn to lemongrass. Some experts suggest that cats enjoy nibbling on lemongrass because it could have a similar effect on cats to catnip.

Lemongrass is pretty safe for cats when eaten in moderation. However, it is mildly toxic if large amounts are consumed. The good news is most cats can’t eat enough lemongrass to become seriously ill. 

On the other hand, when lemongrass is made into an essential oil, it is incredibly dangerous for cats. Cats don’t have a liver enzyme known as glucuronyl transferase that breaks down essential oils. 

If you notice your cat excessively nibbling on lemongrass, this could indicate there’s an underlying condition such as a nutritional deficiency, anemia, or hyperthyroidism. Speak to a vet to rule out any other health issues that could be causing your cat to crave lemongrass in high quantities. 

Why Do Cats Hate Oranges PIN

What Smell Do Cats Hate to Pee On?

Cats pee in places that have been marked with the scent of their urine. If the area in question has a very strong smell, cats tend to avoid it. 

Cats have an aversion to a wide range of smells, mostly strong ones. If the cat catches a whiff of these scents, they are likely to be repelled and won’t want to pee nearby. These strong scents include citrus, peppery scents like cayenne pepper, vinegar, minty odors, strong herbs and spices like curry or cinnamon, pungent-smelling plants such as rosemary or thyme, and other strong foods like mustard.

To discourage a cat from peeing on a specific area, try spritzing the zone with one of these strong scents. Essential oils are a commonly used deterrent for cats. However, it’s important to be cautious when using them. Essential oils can be extremely dangerous for cats and therefore should be diluted well with water and used with care. 

Another common repellent is apple cider vinegar. Mix it with equal parts water and spray to eliminate the smell of cat urine and prevent your cats from peeing there again. 

Does Orange Peel Stop Cats Peeing?

Generally speaking, yes. Most cats have a strong aversion to orange peel, making it an effective natural repellent to stop cats from peeing in certain areas of your home or garden. To stop cats peeing in a certain area of your garden or pots and plants, simply scatter orange peels around. 

As an added bonus, orange peels make a great fertilizer for the soil. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy scattering orange peels in your garden, you can make a powder. Thoroughly dry discarded orange peels pop them in a blender until they turn into a powder. Sprinkle the powder in all the areas of your garden that are out of bounds for cats. 

About the author


I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

You might also like

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022