why do cats like bleach

Why Do Cats Like Bleach?

Why Do Cats Like Bleach?

If you’ve ever cleaned up with bleach and noticed your cat acting exceptionally unusual, you’re not the only one. Cats are often spotted acting crazy in the presence of bleach. They sniff, rub, and roll all across any surface that’s emitting the stench of bleach, even if it’s only faint.

The big question is: why do cats like bleach? Why are cats so irresistibly attracted to the smell of bleach, whether it’s on your hands, on the floor, or even in the laundry? Believe it or not, this is common with every cat. Experts haven’t locked down the explanation for it yet 100%, but there is a bit of information that we do know. 

First, there is definitely something inside the chemical makeup of bleach, likely chlorine, that attracts cats. It probably triggers something biological inside of them by mimicking the pheromones found in cat urine, then they have a hormonal reaction to the smell. Basically, bleach is a close copy of cat urine. At least, it is to cats.

It doesn’t help that cats have an unusually powerful sense of smell. They can smell much better than humans can. Even the faintest bit of bleach will smell strong to a cat. That’s why if you’ve already finished cleaning and you can’t smell the bleach, you may still notice your cat sniffing and rubbing at the spot.

Why Do Cats Like The Smell of Bleach?

To understand why cats like the smell of bleach, let’s take a look at pheromones. In animals, pheromones are typically excreted to act as hormones outside of the body, triggering a social response from other animals. This is how cats figure out when it’s time to mate, among other things.

Now look at chlorine, which appears to be the key chemical in bleach that cats are attracted to. Chlorine, and likely some combination of other chemicals, creates a stink that makes cats think they’re smelling some other cat’s urine – and this is what makes them go crazy.

But if you’re wondering why cats react this way to bleach and not other cleaning products that contain things like chlorine, the answer is that bleach is much more powerful than ordinary cleaning products. It’s packed full of way more ingredients than other cleaners or detergents. 

Most cleaning products are also diluted with water. Bleach isn’t. This means that every single ingredient found inside of bleach is significantly more potent than ingredients found inside of other cleaners. With your cat’s uniquely powerful sense of smell, they’re able to pick up on the faintest of scents until they’re squirming on the floor like worms.

What Does Bleach Do to Cats?

The smell of bleach will often do the same thing to your cat as catnip. That is to say, if your cat gets a strong whiff of bleach, they may begin to rub, purr, and drool excessively as if they’re freaking out over some hidden catnip. This in itself isn’t dangerous, so long as your cat isn’t actually licking liquid bleach off the floor. So long as the bleach has been cleaned up, your cat is perfectly fine. 

In fact, if you see your cat purring and rolling around near where the bleach smell is, just leave them alone and they’ll probably get over it eventually. They may also be making some rather strange noises, so it’s probably a good idea to leave them be. 

Is the Smell of Bleach Harmful to Cats?

The smell of bleach is not harmful to cats. Even though it might be alarming to see your cat acting in such an unusual way, there’s no danger posed to your pet. 

However, licking or drinking bleach can definitely cause health issues that require immediate veterinary attention. If you didn’t clean the bleach up well enough, your cat might be licking it up. This is obviously very bad. If your cat has ingested bleach, you need to look out for the symptoms. 

The symptoms of bleach poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain, sore throat, excessive drooling, and bleach stains around your cat’s mouth and paws. Bleach stains make your cat’s hair look faded. You also may smell the stink of bleach coming off your cat’s fur. 

The first step to treating bleach poisoning is to give your cat milk or water and then hurry them to the vet. Never try to make your cat vomit the bleach out. This doesn’t work. The good news is that a veterinarian can easily fix your cat up in just a few hours. 

Which Bleach Is Most Dangerous for Cats?

All bleach is dangerous for your cat. Regular household bleach does contain a slightly lower concentration of chlorine and is slightly less acidic than some other products. But it is still dangerous enough to cause irritation to your cat’s skin and to be potentially fatal if swallowed. 

Then you have products like highly concentrated bleach that are wildly dangerous. These types of products are only for professional cleaning and have a much higher concentration of chlorine and a higher level of acidity, making it particularly treacherous for felines. 

Lastly, there is no-chlorine bleach. While this may seem like a good choice at first, it’s important to know that instead of chlorine, these products often use hydrogen peroxide. This is also dangerous for cats and can induce vomiting. And unfortunately, your cat will probably still go crazy for the bleach smell.

Final Thoughts

Why do cats act weird around bleach? They simply go nuts for the smell. Nobody is entirely sure why. Scientists say it could have something to do with a chemical in the bleach that effects the cat’s hormones by mimicking the pheromones in cat urine and causes a strange behavioral reaction. We don’t entirely know.

But the good news is that smelling a bit of bleach isn’t dangerous to a cat. Your cat can sniff and rub all they want so long as they aren’t physically ingesting the bleach or getting in their fur. If they do ingest bleach, get them to a vet immediately!

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