Why Does My Cat Sniff the Air Conditioning Vent?

Read Time3 Minutes, 25 Seconds

Nowadays, most people own cats due to the company they offer most pet lovers. However, if you have an air conditioner at home, you may notice that your pet likes sniffing the air conditioner’s vent. Sometimes you may turn on your unit only to be welcomed by an awful smell from your air conditioner’s vent. Some odors are annoying, while others are dangerous.

Below are some reasons why your cat may sniff the air conditioner’s vent:

1. Growth of Mildew and Mold

There are different types of air conditioners. Some are static, while others are portable. The portable units are mobile, and you can move them with ease. For the portable ones, once you get to learn how do portable air conditioners work, then moving them around and operating them will be so easy. Additionally, there is more to the portable AC; those units don’t just chill but also function as heaters.

They dehumidify the air as it cools, and if the excess water that accumulates from the air conditioner doesn’t drain properly, the moisture supports the growth of mold and mildew, and this produces a foul smell. Also, while the filter is dirty, it can also harbor mold growth, and this may generate a mildew smell.

2. Rotting Garbage Smell

In case a rodent finds its way into your air conditioner’s air ducts, it can die there and begin decomposing. And this may produce awful smell from your air conditioner’s vent; this may be like the smell of a rotten egg. The odor is foul and may cause your cat to sniff. Although this isn’t serious, you may need to contact a professional to extract the decomposing animal.

3. Raptured Vent Pipe

There may be a smell of sewage coming from your AC vent, and this may indicate a ruptured sewer line or vent pipe, especially near the ductwork. Small amounts of methane gas can fill your home with a nasty smell. Remember, the gas is dangerous not only for your cat but for your loved ones as well, so call an Ac expert or plumber to fix the issue immediately.

4. Old Cigarette Smoke

If one of your family members smokes, the evaporator loop can pull the fumes, and the odor permeates the coil, and this blasts the smell of old cigarettes in your house once you turn on the air conditioner. This way, your cat will likely smell your AC’s vent. However, cleaning the AC coil can fix the issue.

5. Gas Leaks

When there’s a gas leak, your ac smells like rotten eggs.  Although natural gas is odorless, your unit may produce such a smell to notify you in case of leaks. If this odor comes from the AC vent, this implies that there may be gas leaks near the air ducts. When this happens, don’t take this lightly, open the windows, go out of the house and contact your gas company first, then call an expert to fix the problem.

6. A Mechanical Problem with Your AC

Your air conditioner may produce odor from heating ducts, and this indicates a mechanical problem with your AC fan or compressor. In case you notice his, turn off the AC before trying to diagnose the problem and confirm if you sense the burning odor near your unit. Check the air filter because if it’s dirty, this hinders airflow and overheats the electric resistance heaters. If this is not the issue, turn off the master switch and contact a technician immediately to avoid a fire.

7. Stagnant Water Collected in Your AC

If your home air conditioner smells bad, then your Ac unit has stagnant water accumulated, which results in an awful smell coming from the vents. But, you can solve the issue by cleaning your device to allow water to drain correctly.


There may be awful smell from your air conditioner’s vent, and this may cause your cat to sniff the Ac vent. However, this could also be an indication of a more serious issue. As such, you need to turn off your air conditioner and call a professional to check the problem.

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