Do stray cats smell? Timmy, the cat I feed and give a bit of tender loving care to, does. He washes etc. But he always has dirty paws, a messed up and scratched face and he smells of a very badly kept room. You know those homes where the owner or tenant has simply given up (don't blame them) or they are old etc. and the whole home is a complete disaster, with piles of newspapers, mess on the floor, a massive pong of filth, old dirt, that kind of place. Well Timmy smells of that kind of place and I wonder if he is time sharing. I don't think he is, though, as he is very hungry when he comes in, as if he hasn't eaten since the last time I fed him.
He may be living in some sort of run down place, a garage or something that has junk in it and he smells of the junk he lies on. He occasionally stays with me for a while but seems eager to get going back to his filthy home. When I pick him up I get dirty and feel itchy (due to his allergens) at the same time. I still love him though!
It is much harder for a stray or feral cat to keep clean. When I washed him he hissed! Timmy's head wound has healed nicely (see cat abscess). I feel (and this is not a boast) that I have saved his life.