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Medical Can't you smell that smell?

  1. Apr 12, 2010 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I noticed something odd and wondered if what I think is happening, is happening.

    We bought a device that seems to stop cats from spraying, by releasing a pheromone that makes cats happy.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=389106

    I thought it was odorless, but, oddly, whenever I gargle with Listerine and then immediately walk into the bedroom, I can smell a weak, unusual, but distinctly detectable odor that I logically attribute to Feliway unit. We have been here twenty years and I have never smelled that smell. Does this make any sense? Can one odor or flavor make one more sensitive to others?

    I don't want to remove the unit long enough to test this as the cat would likely spray in the bedroom again.
     
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  3. Apr 12, 2010 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Perhaps it's not an issue of sensitivity, perhaps it's literally a chemical reaction.

    Why don't you take some of the spray from the device (which should be odorless) and mix it with a bit of listerine in a bowl, and then smell the solution? It might emanate the new smell.
     
  4. Apr 12, 2010 #3
    Isn't this the #1 rule of what not to do in chem class? :biggrin:
     
  5. Apr 12, 2010 #4

    turbo

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    This is the #2 rule. The #1 rule is to convince somebody else to try it while you sidle toward the exit. :devil:
     
  6. Apr 12, 2010 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Isn't this idea found in cooking? I thought that certain foods are supposed to highlight the flavors and odors from other foods.
     
  7. Apr 12, 2010 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Well yes (MSG is the most notable). But you don't know that's what's happening unless you eliminate some variables. My experiment will demonstate whether the new smell is specific to you, or inherent in the two chemicals themselves.

    Change you theory to match the evidence... :wink:
     
  8. Apr 12, 2010 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I tend to resist mixing two chemicals like this when I don't know what to expect. Eventually, when Isaac is gone, I can remove the unit and see if the odor goes away, but Isaac will be with us for a time yet.

    I thought it was intersting enough to serve as a generic question about smell and taste.
     
  9. Apr 12, 2010 #8

    turbo

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    Smell and taste are highly interactive. If you have a head cold and your nose is all plugged up, does any food taste good to you? It's easy for me to starve a cold because things just don't taste right if my sense of smell is messed up.

    The mouthwash could easily have cleaned and sensitized your palate, too, making the pheromone easier to detect. For me, interactions in taste and smell drive a lot of recipes. For instance, butter infused with fresh garlic seems to really bring out the "earthy" flavors in mushrooms and escargot, and the "earthiness" can be accentuated by adding a touch of a pungent spice to act as a counterpoint in the recipe.

    Some pheromones need little help (at least for my nose). About 30 years back, I was deer-hunting and an older neighbor and I were watching the steep slope on the back side of our hill. We were about 100 yards apart or so, sitting in light cover (brush on the wooded slope), and suddenly, I could smell a doe in heat. She hadn't spotted us and was working up-slope almost half-way between us. Neither of us had a doe permit, so I let her pass unmolested, though my neighbor (an inveterate poacher) gave me hell after the fact for letting her go. I never would have spotted her in the cover of the little depression she climbed had I not smelled her first and looked intently up-wind.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  10. Apr 12, 2010 #9
    There was a guy who went to jail for molesting a deer last deer season.

    I think mixing the two together is the best idea given so far. I bet they don't explode, and you will find out if it is the mixture of mint and cat juice reacting, or you might just be crazy.
     
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