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What Is a Cat Scent Soaker? Pros, Cons & FAQ

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a cat lying on a blanket

What Is a Cat Scent Soaker? Pros, Cons & FAQ

For cats who are anxious, stressed, or unsure of their own space, life can be scary. It’s important to find ways to improve your cat’s environment to reduce these negative feelings and improve their confidence and overall well-being. There are many ways you can do this, and one way is implementing the use of a cat scent soaker.

If you’ve never heard this term before, you’re not alone! A cat scent soaker is an item that can retain your cat’s scent. The idea behind “scent soakers” isn’t new, but the catchy name is. Here’s everything you should know!

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What Is a Scent Soaker?

You likely already have multiple scent soakers in place for your cat without even knowing it. A cat scent soaker is any item with a porous surface that can capture and retain your cat’s own scent. So, these are things like cat beds, like the Hepper Nest, cardboard scratchers, and even favorite napping rugs or blankets.

These items can all thoroughly absorb smells. If you’ve ever cooked strong-smelling food in your house and then realized that your couch suddenly has retained the odor of curry or onions. That’s exactly how a cat scent soaker works, except your cat will come in direct contact with the surface.

Every time your cat rubs against an object, they’re attempting to leave their scent behind. When they scratch, nap, and play on a surface, their scent stays behind. Porous surfaces absorb these smells to an extent that can mark something as “belonging” to your cat. Territories are extremely important to cats, and they can create a sense of calm and safety for them.

cute fluffy blue eyed himalayan cat in hepper nest bed

What Are the Different Types of Cat Scent Soakers?

Any porous item that’s safe for cats has the potential to be a scent soaker. Consider getting your cat some items that belong just to them, like a cat bed or scratcher. Obviously, the human members of the family won’t be using those.

If you have multiple cats, there will be overlapping territories, which is typically fine. You may notice, though, that some cats may have a distinct preference for a particular item.

Your cat will be most comfortable with multiple scent soakers. If you have multiple cats in the home, then you should make sure there are enough scent soakers to go around. Even if your cats are just going to snooze in the sunny spot on the carpet, give them the option to have their own bed. Multiple scratchers, beds, caves, tunnels, and soft toys are a great way for multiple cats to have their own favorite scent soakers throughout the house.

Where Is It Used?

Scent soakers can be used anywhere in your home. In fact, it’s ideal for scent soakers to be located in multiple areas. This will give your cat that feeling of familiarity and comfort in all of their favorite places. In multi-cat homes, this also gives plenty of opportunities for each cat to pick their favorite spaces and create their own scent soakers.

It would likely be of benefit to you if you avoid placing scent soakers in spaces you don’t want your cat to spend time in. It can be difficult to keep cats out of specific areas, but you may find some success by not providing any scent soakers to make the space feel welcoming. This isn’t going to work on all cats, but anxious cats are less likely to venture out of the spaces that they feel are safest, which are often the spaces containing their scent soakers.

cat scratcher
Image Credit; Boonlert Saikrajang, Shutterstock

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Advantages of Cat Scent Soakers

Scent soakers can be an excellent way to help your cat feel safe and reduce anxiety. With plenty of scent soakers, you may notice your cat seeming more confident within the space. If your cat is feeling confident, they may begin relying on you less as their comfort point. This is great for you and your cat because it decreases excess anxiety whenever you aren’t around.

The addition of scent soakers can also help better define territories in multi-cat homes where everyone doesn’t always get along. They allow each cat to select their favorite spaces and rub their scent deep into scent soakers in that space. This helps each cat recognize the territory “boundaries” for the other cats in the home, helping them to avoid those spaces when necessary. It also helps each cat have their own safe space they can go to when they are anxious or scared.

Disadvantages of Cat Scent Soaker

We get that you probably don’t want a scratching post in every room of your house. Finding ways to camouflage scent soakers while still distributing them throughout your home can be tough. This usually requires creativity or the purchase of items that are intended to fit into a home’s décor without standing out. If your home has a modern feel, the last thing you want is a big, brightly colored kitty cave messing with the aesthetic of the space.

Scent soakers also aren’t guaranteed to work. Everyone knows how particular cats can be, which can make the introduction of new items difficult. Your cat may reject that new cat bed or blanket you bought to add a scent soaker. While you can try to train your cat to use the item, it just isn’t a guarantee.

Once your cat has thoroughly scented the scent soakers in the home, there is no guarantee that it will fix your cat’s anxiety. Anxiety and other behavioral problems in cats can be complex, often with multiple factors causing and further contributing to them. To give your cat the best chance at having their anxiety controlled, you may have to move things in the home, provide extra safe spaces, add cat doors between rooms, and have your cat seen by a vet for anti-anxiety medications.

sad looking cat lying on a table
Image Credit: avi_acl, Pixabay

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will a scent soaker encourage bad behavior?

It would be very rare for a scent soaker to encourage bad behavior in your cat. If they begin urinating or defecating on or around their scent soakers, then they should be seen by a vet to rule out medical causes. If none are found, then there is likely a behavioral component that will need to be addressed.

Can scent soakers be used to introduce new cats?

Yes! A scent soaker is a good way to help your old cat and new cat get used to each other’s smells. You don’t want to take away all of the scent soakers that belong to either cat, but taking a blanket or piece of clothing that one cat has been on and moving it into the other cat’s area can help your cats get to know each other before they meet face to face.

two cats playing
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

What if my cat doesn’t like the scent soakers I’ve given them?

If you’ve introduced a new item, your cat may not like it for a long time. Some cats will never warm up to certain items, and that isn’t abnormal.

Try introducing scent soakers that are similar to scent soakers your cat already likes. These can be blankets or beds with similar textures to their own, a scratcher in the same shape as the old one, or something of the like. If there are porous surfaces in your home that your cat has spent time on, then you already have some scent soakers to work with.

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The use of scent soakers throughout your home, especially in areas where your cat spends the most time or seems to feel the most confident and safe, can be extremely beneficial to the emotional well-being of your cat. Scent soakers can also help multiple cats establish and respect each other’s territories, as well as being a beneficial but safe way to introduce cats to each other before they are together face to face.

Featured Image Credit: Nadezhda Zaitceva, Shutterstock

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