Do Cats Give off a Smell? Do Cats Give off a Smell when they’re Scared? Do You Know if Cats give off a smell when they’re scared?
Yes, cats can give off fluid from their anal glands when they are scared. This fluid smells strong, unpleasant, musky, or fishy.
The fluid can spray or drip out of their glands. Cats usually do this when they are scared or stressed, but it can also happen when they are excited.
Table of Contents
Anal Glands of a Cat
Just inside a cat’s anus are two small glands that work like the glands that skunks use to defend themselves.
Usually, when your cat poops, the fluid from these glands comes out. This tells other cats that the territory is already taken.
When a cat is scared, it may let out a bad smell from its anal glands.
The smell can make your cat smell musky for a few hours.
This could also happen if your cat is very happy.
Some cats have anal glands that work too much, which is rare, and some cats’ anal glands get clogged.
This can happen if the cat has loose stools, which don’t put enough pressure on the glands to let the fluid out.
The anal glands can also get inflamed or infected, which makes them swell up and feel sore.
This makes cats feel uncomfortable, so they may try to ease the pain by licking and biting the area or scooting their back end on the ground.
Why and How Do Cats Send out Pheromones?
A cat’s head, paw pads, skin, and anal glands all have scent glands.
These glands make pheromones that cats use to talk to other cats and to tell what’s going on around them. You can also get pheromones from your urine.
Your cat’s glands all over its body release pheromones when it does different things.
For instance, your cat gives off pheromones when it scratches things, rubs its head or body against things, or sprays urine.
Pheromones can be given off for many reasons, such as:
- Map out the area
- Get to know someone
- Find some other cats
- Make ties stronger
- Find sexual partners
- Bring mother cats and their kittens closer together.
- Indicate contentment
- Show worry or fear
The chemical signals that your cat’s pheromone sends out depend on what’s going on.
In general, the glands on your cat’s face send out pheromones that are friendly. When your cat rubs its head or faces against you, it is sending out low-intensity pheromones that show bonding, comfort, and familiarity.
When you give them their favorite food or treats, cats will also rub their heads against you.
These friendly pheromones are often imitated in synthetic pheromone products like Feliway because they make cats feel safe and calm.
On the other hand, the pheromones that come from a cat’s anal glands are very strong and are used to show fear or stress, mark territory, and show that the cat is sexually viable as seen in do Cats Release a Scent When Scared?.
Fear pheromones can also leave the body through the skin.
How Do the Pheromones of a Cat Smell?
Nothing! No smell!
Pheromones from a cat don’t smell.
Pheromones are not smells. Instead, they are a mix of chemicals that cats can read with their vomeronasal organ, also known as Jacobson’s organ.
Cat pheromones are interesting because cats can’t smell them either.
But cats can recognize and understand pheromones, and the pheromones can be found weeks after they’ve been released, even though they get weaker over time.
People can’t smell cat pheromones, and they don’t have any effect on them either.
Pheromones are not what makes a cat’s urine smell bad. Instead, it is the ammonia in the urine that gives it that smell.
Instead of relying on smell, the vomeronasal organ reads the chemical signals of pheromones and figures out what they are.
When your cat is trying to find pheromones, it will act like a Flehmen.
This is when their upper lip pulls back, their nose closes, and they take a quick breath in. This lets the pheromones get to Jacobson’s organ.
When they’re happy, do cats show glands?
Most of the time, cats show their glands when they are scared, but it can also happen when they are happy.
The smell that comes from the glands is usually stinky or fishy, and it can last for a few hours.
Cats sometimes show their anal glands when they are doing things that make them happy and show that they are content.
This doesn’t happen as often as when people show their anal glands when they’re scared or stressed, but it does happen.
For example, when your cat expresses its glands, it might be kneading its blanket.
No one knows for sure why a happy cat might show off their glands, but it could be a way to mark its territory.
There could be a medical reason, like if their glands are full and not getting drained regularly because they have loose stools a lot.
If it happens often and makes you worried, you should take your cat to the vet for an exam.
The vet can make sure there is no medical problem and check to see if the anal glands are infected or blocked.