I recently watched a compilation of videos taken featuring “cats reacting to smells they don’t like.” A few of them featured cats pulling the same or a very similar expression in response to the things they smelt. But here’s the thing about that expression; it isn’t actually a specifically negative reaction.
The expression the cats are all exhibiting is known as “the Flehman Response” and is actually a face cats pull when they are processing an odour. Cats compile a lot of information from scent and have considerably more scent receptors than humans. The response is extremely common when they are trying to read information and is in effect the cat both smelling and tasting the odour they’re encountering so they can obtain more information from it.
Admittedly, when the reaction is witnessed, it’s not especially obvious that what’s happening isn’t unpleasant for the cat. But the truth is, it’s neither one nor the other and the cat is simply reacting to the situation that means they can learn more about their surroundings.
If you have access to Facebook, this is the link to the video. See if you can spot the responses: