Why Does my Cat Smell like Maple Syrup?

One question we see asked a lot is ‘why does my cat smell like maple syrup?’. it seems to be a fairly common problem that plagues certain pet owners, so we figured we would walk you through a little bit about why it may happen. Although, do not expect to find all the answers on this page. It is impossible for us to do that without seeing your cat.

We don’t know why your cat smells like maple syrup! While we would love to give you the answer, there isn’t just one answer we can give you. There are several reasons why your cat may smell like maple syrup and, even then, these conditions could exist even without the maple syrup smell. We are going to go through a few of them on this page, but none of this information should deter you from visiting the vet with your cat. In fact, that is important.

They Came Into Contact with Maple Syrup

Let’s start with the obvious one.

If your cat has touched maple syrup, then they will probably smell of maple syrup. Simple. Cats probably won’t eat maple syrup as they hate sweet things, and there are few food items sweeter than maple syrup. They may have knocked into a bottle, though.


If your cat smells very sweet, then this could indicate that they have diabetes. Yes. This is also common in cats. Diabetes can either be inherited or developed over time. Technically, both are different conditions, but they have the same result.

As you may well know, diabetes occurs when the sugar in the bloodstream isn’t processed by the body properly. This can lead to sugar building up in the bloodstream and organ damage. Eventually, this sugar is going to come out of the body, and it can make the urine smell sweet.

Diabetes is not a condition that you should be treating on your own. You will have to go to the vet. It is mostly going to be a simple problem to treat. Chances are that your cat will likely not need any medication if you go to the vet quickly. At the most, they are probably going to need to undergo a special diet. This food can probably be bought from your favorite pet retailer, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to track that down either.

Maple Syrup Urinary Disease

Nope. We are not making this condition up. It really exists. Urine can smell like maple syrup.

Now, this is not a condition that has been proven to exist in cats. So far, we know that it exists in humans and cattle. However, a lot of people do still believe that if their cat smells of maple syrup that it may be maple syrup urinary disease. Sometimes, there seems to be no other underlying cause, so people just default to this being ‘the one’.

Maple Syrup Urinary Disease is actually an inherited condition. It won’t occur unless at least one of the cat’s parents had the condition.

Metabolic Conditions

Metabolic conditions occur when your cat has an issue processing certain things that they eat i.e. their metabolic system. This can cause smells because something sweet may not be processed in the same way. Metabolic conditions can cause the urine to smell, or it may cause their coat to smell.

Metabolic conditions are mostly going to be inherited conditions. However, they may not always be present. Your cat may be dealing with the problem for a week, and then it may go several months before it rears its ugly head again. The vet will probably need to look at a urine sample to see what is going on.

Kidney Problems

Certain kidney problems can lead to increased ketones in the urine. This can cause the maple syrup smell whenever your cat pees.

Kidney problems are never good and they do need to be dealt with incredibly quickly. If your cat has kidney problems, then it is running the risk of kidney failure. If kidney failure occurs, then, sadly, your cat will likely not survive.

Luckily, the vast majority of kidney problems can be manageable. Even if the kidney issues are not treatable, there will be options available (in most cases). This can include special diets, or even providing your cat with greater access to water (lack of water is a common cause of kidney problems)

Urinary Tract Infection

Honestly, this is probably the most common of them. If your cat has a urinary tract infection or a UTI, then this can result in their urine smelling like maple syrup. It is not a guarantee, but it can occur. If this happens, then you may even be able to smell the maple syrup smell around their litterbox.

Thankfully, this is also one of the simplest problems for you to solve. You still need to go to the vets, but a course of antibiotics will pretty much quickly cure this.

Remember, a UTI is not good for your cat. While the maple syrup smell may be pleasant, your cat is going to be dealing with huge amounts of pain every time that they urinate.

See the Vet

We know that we have said this several times already. However, we cannot stress how important it is that you see a vet if you believe that your cat smells of maple syrup. Obviously, you can probably skip doing that if they have rolled around in maple syrup. We can’t imagine that many vets want to be dealing with a sticky cat. However, for everything else, book an appointment with the vet as soon as possible. As wonderful as maple syrup can smell, we can guarantee that it is not a normal scent for a cat.

Why Does my Cat Smell like Maple Syrup Final Thoughts

There are a lot of reasons why a cat may smell of maple syrup. Almost all of them could be potentially fatal if your cat. The quicker you deal with the problem, the less likely there are to be any issues. Thankfully, if you have pet insurance, the problem is likely going to be incredibly affordable to deal with.

Does your cat smell like maple syrup? If so why do you think he/she does? Give is your theories in the comment section below and as always feel free to checkout our latest cat article.

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