Will my new cat's smell ever go away?
December 1, 2012 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I just got a new kitten and she smells terrible. Will it go away?

I just got a new kitten and everything is going great so far except for the fact that she stinks! She's been in a shelter for about 7 months so obviously that is why, but I'm just wondering if it's ever going to go away. I've given her a bath (which she surprisingly didn't mind) but it didn't seem to help in the slightest.

My other cat, I'm not kidding, actually smells GOOD. I don't remember her smelling bad when I got her, either.
Do you think new kitty will eventually smell good, too?

Also, any name ideas for new kitty? :)
posted by kerri13 to Pets & Animals (66 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Stinks like what? Diet should help assuming it's healthy.

posted by Max Power at 5:42 PM on December 1, 2012

Her name is Li'l Stinker!

If you just washed her, she doesn't smell like shampoo? What does she smell like?
posted by Houstonian at 5:43 PM on December 1, 2012

Response by poster: Stinks like a shelter/dirty cat. Nothing specific
posted by kerri13 at 5:44 PM on December 1, 2012

Shelter food is usually cheap and terrible and gives both dogs and cats wicked cases of stank-ass. It should clear up after a couple weeks on decent-quality food. I assume she's been tested for parasites as well? Those can cause stinky digestive issues, too.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:45 PM on December 1, 2012 [11 favorites]

My cat used to smell bad when he would run away, and then come home with intestinal parasites. Maybe a trip to the vet is in order.
posted by pickypicky at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't have experience with stinky kitties, but I would think improved diet would help, assuming she's otherwise healthy. And oh god, she's so cute!
posted by upatree at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2012

We got a shelter cat that smelled too. It faded to nothing within a couple of weeks without any effort on our part, since she did not want baths. Ever!

I would call her Calico or Tortie. She looks like she has some tortoiseshell markings! Sweet kitties.
posted by pink candy floss at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2012

She looks like an old soul. I'd call her Esther.
posted by Sal and Richard at 5:51 PM on December 1, 2012 [13 favorites]

I would call that cat Butts or Stinkybutts and I would regret nothing.
posted by elizardbits at 5:52 PM on December 1, 2012 [19 favorites]

A stinker, likely a slinker also - why not Gollum?

If she's smelly from her previous environment, I'd try enthusiastic brushing to get rid of loose fur and dirt. If that doesn't help, give her a bath. Also, changing diets will also almost certainly help.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:52 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

She looks a lot like my first kitty, Abby.

So I vote for Abby.
posted by cooker girl at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2012


Give it a couple of weeks. If she doesn't smell better by then I'd take a trip to the vet. How is she with the litter box? Our 6 month old kitten usually smells awesome but if he's been playing around in the box he gets stanky (you can smell our vaguely perfumed litter on him, as well as other icky smells).
posted by elsietheeel at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by timsneezed at 5:58 PM on December 1, 2012

Cat names should be based on their personalities and/or personal characteristics. Stinky or Stinker or even Stinkerbell is fully appropriate.
posted by so_gracefully at 6:01 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Awws, she looks a lot like my first cat - Halloween (Weenie), who loved to hang out under our Christmas tree.
posted by gudrun at 6:02 PM on December 1, 2012

Stinky McStinkypants.
posted by kestrel251 at 6:08 PM on December 1, 2012

I like both Esther and Mabel. How about Hazel?


As for stinky kittens: any kitten I've had stank upon first arrival. I have no idea why because they've been from various places. A bath is usually done within a day or two and clears it. I don't know why Esther still stinks. They have "cat wipes" at PetsMart, they might work and are a lot less stressful for Mabel.
posted by deborah at 6:09 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you should call her Catlyn, or Catrina or Cat-arse-trophe.

My cats don't stink except when they fart. Or crap on themselves from travel sickness. Sorry I can't help there.
posted by b33j at 6:10 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, she looks Just like my cat Matilda did when she was a kitten!
Agree with everyone else -- a few weeks of decent food should make her smell as cats should (awesome).
posted by third word on a random page at 6:17 PM on December 1, 2012

Jasmine. Because in the ancient baby naming book we used to use to name our family pets, its name meaning was listed as "a fragrant-smelling flower" and we almost named our enthusiastic poop-covered shelter puppy that.

Nthing diet - cats are what they eat. But to be on the safe side, and especially if it smells at all like something rotting or infected, it's vet visit time.
posted by Mizu at 6:23 PM on December 1, 2012

Our recent street kitten smelled bad too, which faded over time after deworming, etc. It helped to use those no-bath wipes, and good food helped too.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:24 PM on December 1, 2012

Her name should be Smelly Cat.
posted by evilmomlady at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Does little Dolores have bad breath perhaps? If you don't value your fingers much, you could attempt teeth cleaning with some kitty toothpaste.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2012

She is Eleanor and she's odiferously challenged at the moment and is highly embarrassed by it. But she will have a fine emanation, thank you, when she has some decent food regularly, and a nice, clean place to sleep.
posted by southeastyetagain at 6:30 PM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by LittleMy at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Philyra - greek goddess of perfume (and beauty, healing, and writing).
posted by quodlibet at 6:35 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by facetious at 6:36 PM on December 1, 2012


Or Hazel.
posted by Sara C. at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2012

posted by ersatzkat at 6:54 PM on December 1, 2012

posted by discopolo at 6:58 PM on December 1, 2012

Reminds me of a tortie we used to have named Twitters. (Twenty years ago, predating anything internetbased.)

How do her litterbox giftings smell? That would indicate something digestive.

I would check with a vet if it were me, honestly.

(And, Phoebe would be an awesome and totally ironic name. See smellycat link above, if you don't know why.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:09 PM on December 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

She is beautiful. One of my shelter kitties had a strong "too many kitties" odor for a few weeks, but it faded away.

I would name the kitty Raisin. And snuggle her even if stinky.
posted by hilaryjade at 7:13 PM on December 1, 2012

Linus! I believe he was the stinky Peanuts character.
posted by saraindc at 7:20 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could it be that her anal glands need to be expressed?
posted by HotToddy at 7:20 PM on December 1, 2012

sorry, apparently not Linus but Pig-Pen.
posted by saraindc at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know about the stink, but as for names:
Kaboodle or Stephanie or Aroma
posted by MT at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2012

Oh and her name is Smudge.
posted by HotToddy at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

OH or also Peditos which is spanish for little fartypants
posted by elizardbits at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Aw! She looks like my tortie. *waves*
Name suggestion: Mischief.
posted by xiaolongbao at 8:12 PM on December 1, 2012

She's a Mabel.
posted by spinturtle at 8:17 PM on December 1, 2012

Seconding Smudge or Turtle.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:22 PM on December 1, 2012

My recently-adopted cat's shelter smell went away within about two weeks. I didn't do anything special to clear it up.

I'm a firm believer in letting a cat name herself. After a while, you'll discover what her hidden name is, because that's what you'll wind up calling her regardless of any "official" name that you give her.

Turns out, my cat's name is Mr. Cat.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:30 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Diet will help. Vet to check parasites, anal glands, and ears could reveal an underlying problem. Time in a clean environment will help, too.

I'd be tempted to name her Topaz or Tourmaline, earthy little jewel that she is.
posted by batmonkey at 8:44 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My last shelter cat reeked when he came home. It was revolting. I washed him daily for a while -- he didn't really mind, much -- which mostly just masked the scent with coconut, but after a week or two he smelled like cat instead of like gross.
posted by jeather at 8:48 PM on December 1, 2012

Are her ears dirty? That might be the cause of the smell. Or her breath, or her anal glands. Both can either be related to parasites or food.

I had a tortie once and we called her Maple. My ex husband kept her in the divorce, so you are free to call this one Maple. Or Marble. But not Eleanor because that was my mother in laws name and she was not nice.

I like Marble. And I want to come play with her!
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:49 PM on December 1, 2012

My cats stank when we got them from the shelter ; it went away after a few days. I think their fur is mildly odor-absorbing. I've used the deodorizing wipes, they sorta work.

She looks a lot like my tortie, so I'll suggest her name - Arizona.
posted by Fig at 9:10 PM on December 1, 2012

Please don't give her a name that immortalizes the stinkiness forever, because it will wear off with good quality food and maybe a little attention from the vet.
posted by zadcat at 9:33 PM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

I like naming cats after philosophers. Plato, Socrates, etc.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:48 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing Stinky Cat.

When we brought our cat home from the shelter, she STANK. Turned out to be parasites, and we nipped that in the bud fast, but her name is still Poo Poo Platter. She likes to hang out on the arm of the couch and make herself ridiculously flat. Totally like a platter of fluffy adorable poop, at least in the beginning.
posted by goosechasing at 10:16 PM on December 1, 2012

Seconding Philyra. I like the idea of calling a girl kitty Phil, but it's a pretty, elegant name full name. Plus it would be a cute story to tell after her stinky days are long past.
posted by Specklet at 10:32 PM on December 1, 2012

I give my kits "vet names" -- something for the file at the vets. One, I suck at picking pet names. Two, I wind up using repeated vowels or consonants when I greet or talk to them. My LB (Little Bitch) is greeted as mimi or poose or bahbah. Max has always been buddy or b-cat or bo-cat, or "bla-a-a-a-ck!" if he's being a jerk (he's a black cat). So, LB gets vowels, Max gets consonants, b's & k's. It's just a thing. Give you beautiful new kitty any of the charming names offered here and then call her whatever comes naturally.

I'd be disinclined to give her a "stinky" variation, though. Hopefully that's a short-term issue :)
posted by wallabear at 11:22 PM on December 1, 2012

I would suggest naming the cat Pig Pen, or Hermione, and a consult with your vet.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:42 PM on December 1, 2012

God, what a gorgeous cat. Beautiful. Calico cats are just so, so beautiful. My last girlfriend had a calico cat, completely insane but pretty as your new cat, those same gorgeous eyes.

About the smell -- I'd bet if I had to that it's food. Ever been around someone who *really* reacts strongly to garlic, they eat it and reek for days? Maybe they were feeding your kitty stenchy food. And yeah, who knows, could be some sort of infection or parasite or ??? but you're going to check all of that out on your vet visit Monday, right?

It could be worse -- I cat-sit for someone years ago, the cat didn't smell but it had these nuclear poops. Unreal disgusting stench-o poops, and it always shit in the night, wake up gagging, close to vomiting, had to clean out the cat box and throw the stuff outside but the stench stayed for hours, no kidding. A horror show. And it was eating normal cat food, it wasn't like it was eating rotted dead rats or something.

I agree with so gracefully -- pets should name themselves. It takes just a little bit of patience but that name will reveal as you get to know her, in fact it'll help you get to know her, paying closer attn to her to figure out her name.

My first dog was a German Shepard pup, she followed my every move, close as my shadow -- it was crystal clear that her name was Shadow. My red Doberman was 18 months old when I got her, and already named -- Rusty. I'd never have named her that but it was her name, would have just confused her had I started calling her Myrtle or whatever. But as we trained, it fast became clear that her real, full name was Rusty, The Wonder Dog.

So anyways, let your cat name herself. It's fun.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:59 PM on December 1, 2012

She looks like an Edith to me.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:09 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Call her Flower. Be optimistic. :)
posted by springbound at 4:02 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check her ears to see if it's more concentrated there.
posted by Mertonian at 4:36 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love the idea of a vet name, because cats really do name themselves. Sadie was my cat's given name, but we all called her Boopsie (or Boopers, affectionately) - who knows where that came from, but it was the perfect name for her. She must have communicated it to us somehow.
posted by k8lin at 5:53 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you given her a bath?
posted by futz at 6:01 AM on December 2, 2012

reading skills failed. sorry.
posted by futz at 6:02 AM on December 2, 2012

Yes, let your cat find a name on its own. My beloved 14-year-old Siamese was nameless for 2 weeks, then I got to thinking about Do The Right Thing and it was clear his name has always been Mookie.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:57 AM on December 2, 2012

I agree that cats find their own names. Might Max the Wonder Kitty was able to leap extremely high in pursuit of cat teasers. Hence the name.

But as people have suggested both mine and my daughter's name for your cat, either one of those would be lovely.
posted by jeoc at 2:11 PM on December 2, 2012

Agreed with others about the smell, just give it a couple of days. Also as Mertonian says, check the ears; ear parasites turn up as black crud in the ears, and smell bad, and are pretty common. If she still smells funny next week, take her to the vet.
posted by aimedwander at 3:46 PM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: So true about cats finding their names! Our other cat is named Annie but most of the time we call her "bits". I have no idea where it came from, but I think it's a derivative of bitch :). I do love the old lady names such as Hazel, Mable, Esther, etc. We are thinking about Sophie. I want to wait and let her name herself but it's so hard not knowing what to call her!

Also, smell is already mostly gone!
posted by kerri13 at 5:04 PM on December 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

but I think it's a derivative of bitch

posted by elizardbits at 7:54 PM on December 2, 2012

Nthing getting her ears checked. My kitty is prone to ear infections, and we can tell when she has one because she absolutely reeks (especially when she shakes her head).

What a gorgeous girl you have!
posted by SisterHavana at 11:35 PM on December 2, 2012

posted by brujita at 2:11 AM on December 3, 2012

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