If you’ve just got to get a huff of your cat’s fluff, you’re not alone.
Do you find yourself diving nose-first into a cuddle with your cat? Maybe you bury your face into their fluffy neck or soft belly and breathe in that soft, comforting scent? You know the one, the one that smells just like home. If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above, you might be a Cat Huffer.
You might be thinking, “Yes! Yes, I do like the smell of my cat’s fur. I’m a Cat Huffer! Is that normal? Am I weird?” Don’t worry: You’re not weird!
Well, okay, you might be a little weird. But it’s not because you like to smell your cat.
People’s sense of smell might play a stronger role in our emotions and decisions than previously thought. In a famous series of experiments at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, a study showed that people find the smell of a person who is immunologically opposite of them more attractive. Why? Their potential offspring would share both of their parents’ abilities to fight off disease and infection.
Our sensitivity to smell could also explain why some people love the scent of a newborn baby’s head. It’s a way for a parent to bond with their baby. The sweet, fresh smell of a healthy kitten could have the same effect on us.
Humans have tried to bottle that “new baby” smell with perfumes and sprays. But we’ve also managed to bottle that “new kitten” smell. There’s even a lip-gloss that smells like a kitten’s sweet milk breath. It’s supposed to feel and smell like you’re kissing the kitten’s wet nose.
The sweet, fresh smell of a newborn’s head or a kitten’s fluffy neck likely triggers our nurturing instincts. If we like the way something smells, it stands to reason we’re more likely to hold it, care for it, and snuggle it close.
Our sense of smell is also powerfully connected to our emotions. Nostalgia and scent often go hand in hand. Certain smells can even bring you back in time. The smell of cookies baking might remind you of your grandmother’s kitchen, or the smell of fresh-cut grass might bring you back to a particular summer afternoon.
Cat owners likely experience the same feelings when they bury their head in their cat’s fur and get a huff of that fluff. Still, most people don’t expect animals to smell pleasant. Is there any smell worse than wet dog?
It’s hard to say exactly what exactly makes a cat’s unique smell so appealing. They are relatively clean animals, fastidious groomers whose saliva actually contains antibodies, like our saliva, to help fight off bacteria and keep their fur clean. Maybe this clean, healthy smelling scent is what pleases our sensitive noses.
Could it be that the smell of cats is triggering a chemical response in humans, thus triggering our nurturing instincts? Or is it just that we associate our cats, and thus their familiar scent, with love, affection, and that warm ‘n fuzzy feeling of home sweet home?
Whatever the reason, it has to be said again: Cats smell good. So go ahead, get a huff of that fluff; unless you’re allergic.
Are you a cat huffer? My cats both smell delicious to me. One has a grassy, earthy smell. The other one smells almost like fresh bread, which is fitting for a catloaf, I guess!
What does your cat smell like to you? We’re curious! Let us know in the comments below!