View Full Version : Cat likes bleach smell/taste

May 21, 2004, 12:27 PM
My 8 month old cat seems to lose his mind when I get out the bleach/water mixture to clean my white kitchen counters. He jumps onto the counter, rolls around on it and licks it. Then we get into a cycle of him jumping up and my removing him until one of us gets tired of it. I've never seen a cat act like this except with catnip. What's up with this weird behavior?

May 28, 2004, 06:54 AM

I have never heard of this in my 10 years as a vet tech, although, I know cats can like things such as hairspray and lotion, so bleach isn't too much of a stretch.

Bleach isn't really as bad as one might think. The most you might see is vomitting which is really the worst thing because the reflux of bleach could cause damage to the esophogus. One would have to ingest a glassfull to have serious side effects.

Still, try to keep the cat away as much as possible to avoid any complications. Maybe you could shut the cat in a bathroom while you clean?

Hope this helps.


Jul 14, 2004, 11:55 AM
I have four young cats that do the same thing when I bleach my kitchen counters. The behavior is as if I gave them a scoop of catnip. I have never heard of this and I am an advance cat owner--have dealt with several in my life. I can't find any information that explains this behavior or even others who have cats who do this.

Jul 17, 2004, 05:59 PM
I have 4 cats. Only 1 of them has the bleach/chlorine thing. She goes nuts in a basket of clean whites and rolls around on top of the washer while its in use with a bleach product. If I've cleaned using a chlorine product.. she rubs, licks and then attacks my hands. She will chatter to me while I still have the scent on me. I'd love to investigate this phenomenon and see why this happens.

Sep 24, 2004, 09:28 AM
I have been searching for MONTHS for the answer to this exact question (or find other cats who share the same fetish)!!

I have 4 little savages but only one (the only female - she's 8) goes bonkers over the smell of chlorine! I thought it might be a female/kitten thing. She's very 'maternal' to the other cats (and my balls of knitting yarn -- they all end up under the bed during a storm), so I thought the smell might mimic the scent of a baby kitten.

I first noticed it when I got a new hot tub and changed from bromine to chlorine. Whenever I come back in the house from a soak, she follows me around nipping at anything she can sink her pointy little teeth into. She will smoosh her face (and teeth) into my cotton terry robe to get at the scent (flavor?)! It's quite embarrassing when I have company over as she will nip at their calves and ankles, too!

The funny thing is that she is quite persistent and I have to keep an eye on her otherwise she will sneak up and pounce on me :o. Of course, it has since become our little game. ;D

I'm so very curious to know why this is.

Sep 24, 2004, 12:19 PM
I didn't ask those who replied but were your cats who went nuts for chlorine kittens? My cat just turned one year old and suddenly he could care less about the chlorine smell. I think that BengalFan is on the right track about it being a kitten thing (under 1 yr old) and something they seem to grow out of. Still wonder why some of them are crazy for it, though!

Sep 24, 2004, 02:25 PM
My cat is 8 and not a kitten! She is, however, very maternal to the other cats which is why I thought it might be a kitten smell thing -- chlorine on my skin smells like a kitten to her that she feels needs to nuzzled around. She doesn't out and out bite, but rather she 'sneaks' nips.

They are all such odd little critters! Good thing they are so darn cute!

Sep 30, 2004, 08:26 AM
I have 3 cats and 2 of them love the bleach smell. They are 13 and 14 years old and one has always been this way and the other just more recently. When I clean the bathrooms they immediately pick up on it no matter where they are in the house and come strolling in there and wallow on the floor the entire time I'm cleaning!

Oct 4, 2004, 02:31 PM
My cat also likes the smell of bleach and anything that contains bleach - comet, draino, etc. I have to keep him away from the kitchen and bathroom when I'm cleaning, or else he will attempt to lick up the cleaner! He is almost 10 years old and has always behaved this way.

Oct 31, 2004, 03:05 PM
Our two 18 month Chinchilla persians usually go completely nuts when we come home from the pool and toss our swimming clothes on the floor.. They roll, smooch and bite (in a playful manner) at anything that smells of chlorine as well they make little chirping/chortleing sounds while they are under the 'spell'..

I'm going to get the handicam out each night when I get home from the pool this week and next.. if I capture something worthy, I'll post it.



Jan 1, 2005, 09:32 PM
Both of my cats do the same thing -- especially if I use bleach on the floor. I just read on another web site that bleach contains a chemical commonly found in CAT URINE which is ammonia! If this is the case, perhaps the cats think an unidentifiable cat has marked his or her territory. In this case, our cats' rolling behavior is probably a territorial act in an effort to reclaim his or her territory from the unknown intruder (the bleach). This is just a theory and I am not a vet but it seems to fit. Hope it was some help. :)

Jan 14, 2005, 06:11 AM
She's 7 years old, fixed. I got her when she was 5, very maternal. I had her fixed, but I think the smell of bleach drove her wild from the day I got her. If it is on my fingers, from doing laundry or swimming in a pool, she reacts as though it is catnip, wiggling on her back in a circle, and definitely nipping my fingers! The effect takes place almost immediately. She never nips otherwise, but the smell of chlorine really drives her out of control; she'd nip harder but I give her a gentle 2-finger bop on the nose -- sometimes it takes several bops, "NO's", and glares.

Theories and speculations welcome. :)

Jan 27, 2005, 03:44 AM
My 8 year old cat 'Smudge' goes wild over the smell of bleach, bit of entertainment when I'm cleaning the bathroom, seemed quite sweet until she started weeing as soon as I left the room on the bathroom rug. If I don't keep her locked out of that bathroom or keep an eye on her she'll sneakily wee in there. It must be the ammonia making her think it's another cat... Why else would she just start this naughty habit!

Whatever it is, I can't see her growing out of it now!

Jun 13, 2005, 11:11 AM
If it is any help to anyone out there, it is my understanding that cat urine contains chlorine and ammonia so that they may be reacting to the "territorial" aspect of the smell. Some cats mark for mating or mark territory with urine for whatever reason and this cleaning product contains one of the ingredients that cats recognize as "urine" and they may be anticipating some kind of sexual rendezvous. Well hope this helps

Nov 22, 2005, 10:44 PM
My male cat, 2 years old, goes nuts when I get out of the hot tub. Especially if the chlorine content is high. I just got out and before I came in the house, used my hand to sprinkle some extra chlorine in the water. He literally attacked my hand, and he has never done that before. I've looked everywhere on the net and can't find anything else but this blog. I think I tend to believe the urine vs. ammonia theory as reported in this blog. It seems like the only thing that makes sense. He did seem pretty predatory when he was lunging for my hands. Any other thoughts out there?

Jan 16, 2006, 10:13 AM
And I thought my cat was the only strange one! She is a little over five years old and LOVES the smell and taste of bleach on my hands. Not only that, she is the same way with my crest white strips (which contains tons of peroxide). I am just glad to know that she isn't the only cat around that has this issue. My male cat could care less about the bleach smell.

Apr 17, 2007, 08:31 AM
Hi. I have 6 cats, 3 of them love the bleach as well. 1 of them is 8 years old, another is 4 years, and the third is 1 1/2. Even after an hour they still roll on the cleaned area.

Jun 1, 2007, 10:52 PM
My cat Maceo goes NUTS on chlorine! He bites and nips and my fingers, grabs my head with both paws and starts "cleaning" my hair wildly! He starts licking and nipping our feet like mad after we're out of the pool... he doesn't even react at much to catnip, it's quite hilarious. Also likes man sweat. Hmm,

Jun 10, 2007, 07:57 PM
My dear old Himmie, Oscar had a fetish for bleach from when we first got him at the age of one. The funniest example of his addiction was when I washed a pair of my jeans in bleach and hung them over the back of a chair to dry. About half an hour later I noticed the jeans had come alive Ė they were jerking about wildly as Oscar had inserted his head in one of the legs. Ever since that day he went crazy over bleach especially when I had it on my hands. He would rub his face on my hands and chew at my fingers. Now my Canadian Sphynx Ollie does the same thing, especially the finger nipping. I donít think itís an ammonia thing because of the ecstatic behaviour.
Ps. This morning I tried the bleach thing on Ryder, my new Persian, and he showed great interest.
This behaviour definitely demands some research!

May 12, 2008, 05:14 PM
I just clean my bathroom and kitchen to disinfect my spring cleaning with Ultra bleach with clorex, I washed my hands thoroughly and then my cat comes into the living room where I was sitting and started nibbing at my hands and feet, then going wild like fed millions of gallons of cat nip, I phoned the vet, opened the windows, strange how a smell can make them react in a strange way...

She is still running around, sliding across the room on her back, etc... LOL...

Jun 8, 2008, 10:29 AM
I was searching for others who had experienced this! I first experienced it with a cat that I had for many years, but it was mild. I just noticed she would sniff my hands or surface in the house if I used bleach cleaner. More recently, my roommate and I brought in a litter of strays and wound up keeping two brothers. These guys go crazy over the smell of bleach! I use it sometimes to clean the floor around the litter box, and one day I did it and the two of them ran over and hit the floor as soon as they smelled it. They started writhing around all over the floor like they were doing modern dance together or something. It's hilarious. I do know that bleach isn't harmful (I've read that in emergencies, like after an earthquake or something that interrupts clean water supply, you can put tiny amounts of bleach in water to purify it for drinking) so I haven't stopped it. I just make sure to wipe it up thoroughly so I am sure they're not getting it on their skin. It doesn't surprise me to find other cats are like this, since my first cat was not related to the brothers. It is really wild that the response from those two is much stronger than their response to cat nip.

Jun 8, 2008, 10:38 AM
Huh. So I just read all the other comments. I didn't realize bleach contains ammonia. Maybe using it around the litter box is not such a good thing. We do have another cat who wees in front of the box and it's becoming a problem. He did it before I ever used the bleach though - that is why I started doing it. Still, maybe I will look for something else to clean the floor with.

Jun 8, 2008, 01:29 PM
Huh. So I just read all the other comments. I didn't realize bleach contains ammonia.

Bleach does not contain ammonia. In fact, mixing bleach and ammonia together is extremely dangerous. It causes a chemical reaction that creates chlorine gas, which is used as a chemical weapon. I don't want anyone to read the previous post and think that mixing those two cleaning agents together is a good thing to do.

Jun 15, 2008, 08:51 AM
Froggy is right. Mixing bleach and ammonia creates lethal fumes.

I am amazed to find people who have been dealing with a curious phenomenon similar to mine.

My cats would go crazy over the used cotton balls I used to take off nail polish. They would lick them like crazy, which worried me considerably. I had to become very careful about their disposal. Their fancy for NAIL POLISH REMOVER would also have them playing all over the emery boards.

Has anyone else noticed this happen?

Oct 23, 2008, 03:11 PM
My female 5 year old Tiger cat,
Jinx, does the crazy dance with bleach. I thought it was only her, but I guess not. Now I know that it won't harm her, I will let her play around and roll in it.

She does one other crazy thing with dancing.
I found this out when I opened my cedar chest for the first time after Jinx entered out house. She ran from the other room, she was sleeping, and jumped into the cedar chest and would not leave. If I take out sheets, curtains, rugs out of the chest, she rolls around acts the same way as with the bleach.

To all of our carzy cats.

Oct 29, 2008, 04:48 PM
Haha. One of my cats also goes crazy for bleach. So weird.

Nov 10, 2008, 09:28 AM
My cat is a year and a half and just started doing this. If I start using bleach she comes runningand will attack as though it's a game. Im not sure why she's started this but I was little worried at first but it doesn't seem to have any adverse effects.

Mar 9, 2009, 04:51 AM
I have 2 ten month old cats. One male and one female. Although I don't use a lot of bleach around my house because of kids, I work as a waitress and our cleansing water to wash the tables and counters has a splash of bleach in it. When I come home most of the time, my hands smell like bleach.

My female will lick my hands contentedly, but my male will attack them. He will pounce on my and grab my hand in his paws, even using his claws to hold them in place. Not scratching, but more of a warning that he will if I move before he is done. He will then precede to lick then actually try to chew my fingers. Mostly it isn't painful, but he gets excited sometimes and forgets it is my fingers and will nip me hard. He eventually stops, but it is the weirdest thing.

He is the only one of the two however that will attack anyone in the family who washes their hair. Not any other part that has been in the shower or tub, but he will try to chew and pull out hair with his teeth.

Until I looked this us and found this site, I thought I had a possessed cat! I don't buy catnip, but rarely. And it is the only similar reactions that come close. Haha

Jun 16, 2009, 08:57 AM
I have goats and there on bottles and we clean there bottles with bleach and water in the sink and the cat goes ballistic all over and jumps on the counter and licks it!! :p it's hilarious!

Oct 9, 2009, 04:55 PM
We have 3 female cats that have been spayed. We didn't start noticing the reaction of chlorine with the cats until our son began swimming on the high school team. One of our cats would poke, claw, and climb on his head (if he laid down) after he returned from the pool. Yesterday, after cleaning the floor with bleach/water, one of our other cats began rolling around the floor acting very strange. The third cat had also reacted to an area of white carpet I cleaned with bleach several times. She sat/rolled in it for quite a while. The funny thing, none of these cats like catnip.

Aug 25, 2010, 11:41 AM
My two year old female cat Frankie, goes bazurk at the smell of chlorine/bleach. If I go swimming she tries to bite me and rub up against me. When I use bleach within the house she throws herself on the floor and rolls around rubbing herself up against objects. Very strange behaviour which only is apparent when the smell of bleach is present. I wondered if it had a similar smell to perhaps male cat pheremones or something?

Aug 25, 2010, 11:41 AM
My two year old female cat Frankie, goes bazurk at the smell of chlorine/bleach. If I go swimming she tries to bite me and rub up against me. When I use bleach within the house she throws herself on the floor and rolls around rubbing herself up against objects. Very strange behaviour which only is apparent when the smell of bleach is present. I wondered if it had a similar smell to perhaps male cat pheremones or something?

Aug 25, 2010, 06:29 PM
This thread is 6 years old.

Aug 25, 2010, 06:53 PM
And is now closed.