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Why Do Cats Smell Your Breath? 5 Reasons

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

Our furry friends have a lot of different quirky behaviors. From bashing their heads on our legs to cuddling with us when we sleep, we have a pretty good idea of what they’re saying despite cats not being able to communicate with us verbally.

Some quirks are a little less easy to interpret. Some cat owners may have noticed their kittens trying to get a whiff of their breath. It’s not because they’re jealous of your lunch.

Cats like to smell your breath for various reasons, but this behavior usually indicates that they want to make sure you are healthy, to be comforted by your smell, or as a stress reliever.

Why Do Cats Smell Your Breath
Why Do Cats Smell Your Breath?

5 Reasons Why Cats Smell Breath

Several reasons exist as to why your cat will want to take a whiff of your breath – and they’re all for totally normal, good reasons.

If your cat smells your breath, it means they’re invested in you and your wellbeing, and chances are it also means that they feel comforted by your presence.

While this may come as a shock, cats’ primary sense is their sense of smell. Shockingly, cats’ sense of smell outperforms humans’ sense of smell by 14 times as much. As a result, cats’ sense of smell is their primary sense to:

  • Navigate the world
  • Ascertain threat levels
  • Recognize other animals and their owners

The saliva in our mouths is a profoundly concentrated area of scents. It’s where we smell like ourselves the most. Cats struggle to see objects close to their faces, so they use smell to identify things or people.

If you’re pressed up against your cat, they have a much better time identifying that you are you when they take a deep whiff of your scent. Chances are, they can get that scent when they go into your mouth.

1. Stress Reliever

Beyond greeting and identifying you, other reasons exist for why a cat would want to smell your breath.

You’ll be happy to know another vital reason cats breathe your breath because it can help them reduce stress. It can bring cats great comfort to take in your scent as they associate your smell with love and protection.

Studies report that cats strongly depend on humans, even if they sometimes don’t always show it. According to researchers, cats develop attachment styles similar to the ones that babies exhibit.

It stands to reason that inhaling the scents of their owners may be an effective stress reliever and will help your cat feel much less stressed and much more connected to you.

2. To Check If You’re Healthy

Reports have circulated the web that our furry friends can smell if their owners have serious diseases and ailments like cancer. While it’s still not agreed upon if cats can detect cancer, we do know that cats can smell chemical changes within our bodies.

It’s possible that when a cat smells your breath, they are attempting to detect sickness or other problems with your health as a gesture to make sure that you are healthy and safe.

While it may be a little invasive to have your cat stick their face near your mouth, know that it’s their way of showing you that they care about your wellbeing and want to make sure you’re okay.

3. They’re Jealous of Your Food

Perhaps the most apparent reason of all that a cat is sniffing your breath is that your cat may be jealous of the delicious-smelling food on your breath.

Since cats have such a robust sense of smell, they can easily detect what meal they ate last and decide if they would like some or not.

So, if you’re asking yourself, “why does my cat smell my breath?” Cover up your food because they may be jealous of your last meal.

4. Cats Love Warm Places

Even though cats have natural warm, fuzzy fur jackets, cats are still very preoccupied with warmth and finding warm places to hunker down in. This is because cats have descended from desert animals, so it’s in their instincts to constantly seek out warm places.

Typically cats prefer a body temperature of around 102 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, if your cats live in an area that isn’t that hot, then chances are finding warmth is always front and center in their mind.

Since our mouths are large cavities, our mouths are one of the warmest parts of our bodies. When cats get a whiff of your mouth, they realize that this is a warm place, and they become very curious about why it’s so warm and how they can transfer some of this warmth to their bodies.

So, why do cats breathe your breath? It may just be because your mouth seems like a nice, warm place to explore.

5. Cats Are Curious

You may have heard the phrase curiosity killed the cat and that’s absolutely true. Cats love sticking their paws, mouths, tails, basically any part of their body in new places.

Experimenting with new places is how they learn about the world and adapt to their surroundings.

Though it may not seem like your mouth has much to offer cats, learning about your body and how it works helps them to better adapt to the world.

If you’ve ever wondered why do cats smell your breath, the most obvious answer may just be that they’re curious about your mouth.

Similar Article: Why do cats like earwax


Cats are funny creatures. While we may not always understand their behavior, cats have reasons for their quirky actions. Though it may not seem like it, smelling your breath is an excellent way for them to show their love and affection to you.

So, the next time your cat leans in for some breath, make sure to open up to give them better access.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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