During my animal behavior class, my professor showed us a video where a cheetah rubbed its face, paws, and body on a stick for a few minutes. Our professor then asked us to guess what was on the stick that made the cheetah so obsessed with it. Some responded "mint." Others said "meat." But none of us was right. The answer was perfume.
Cats rub their cheek on surfaces around them either to mark their scent or collect a scent from other cheetahs. Experimenters explain that cats love investigating smells, particularly those they wouldn’t usually find in their natural environments, perhaps surprisingly given their evolutionary aims in interacting with those smells. Studies have shown that some big cat species, like tigers and cheetahs, have a strong interest in perfumed scents–but not every one. Researchers indicated that cheap colognes do not work; only the famous brands do! An investigation conducted at Bronx Zoo showed that the two cheetahs in the zoo have the strongest preference for Calvin Klein Cologne.
Cheetahs are of particular interest to researchers studying the phenomenon. It is extremely hard to take a close look at cheetahs in the wild because they run very fast and they are often good at hiding. Researchers are attracted to Bronx Zoo to study their behavior in more research-friendly conditions.
As soon as I got home from my aforementioned class, I grabbed a bottle of Victoria's Secret perfume and sprayed it on the couch to see my cat's reaction. She slowly approached the spot and sniffed it. She then quickly ran away. Alas, maybe it only works on big cats. Either way, this is an interesting phenomenon worth further exploration. Maybe consider going to Bronx Zoo to investigate yourself. On second thought, maybe don’t.
Source: National Geographic