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My Cat Smells Like Death – All You Need To Know

My Cat Smells Like Death – All You Need To Know

When you think to yourself, “My cat smells like death,” you must make a crucial distinction. There is a difference between asking if your cat stinks bad or if it smells like it’s about to die.

An underlying medical condition, a wound, an allergy, a parasite, or anything else that interferes with the skin’s normal function could be the source of skin odor in cats. 

If your cat has an offensive odor, you should take them to the doctor to have anything hidden beneath their fur examined.

Although for cat owners it can be troubling to face some serious signs for your cat’s health,  you need to know it all in order to help your cat. Keep reading to find out all the possible reasons for this odd odor of your cat. 

Why Does My Cat Smell Like Death? 

Halitosis is the most common cause of apparent bad odor in cats. The typical sources of odor are animal excrement and urine. Because of urinary or fecal incontinence, cats may be soiling themselves, or they may lack the grooming skills necessary to remove the waste from their hair coat.

Identifying the odor’s source is another thing to take into account. There could be a number of reasons why your cat’s mouth smells bad. We’ll need to look at a number of possibilities if the offensive odor is coming from the other end.

We also need to specify what odors are considered “poor” odors. Usually, the cat’s breath will be like the last cat food they ate. 

Given that it is made from animal products that are not always suitable for human consumption, cat food frequently has an unpleasant smell to us. This is not to imply that the cat doesn’t enjoy it, and we must understand that this is a typical occurrence.

However, if the cat’s breath is anything like rotten meat, there could be some problems. 

Some people feed their animals raw food. If that’s the case, we’ll need to watch out for spoiled meat when feeding it to them.

Unfortunately, the rotten meat breath in our cat’s mouth could indicate a more serious health problem. The health of our cat’s teeth and gums is a great indicator of how healthy they are overall.

4 Reasons Your Cat Might Smell Like Death 

the vet examines the cat's teeth

1. Faucitis

Faucitis in cats, also known as feline pharyngitis, is an inflammation of the pharynx (the back of the throat) in cats. This can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, or by other factors such as allergies or irritants. 

Symptoms of feline pharyngitis include difficulty swallowing, drooling, coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. In severe cases, cats may have difficulty breathing and may develop pneumonia.

Treatment for feline pharyngitis typically involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause, such as by administering antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present. 

In addition, providing supportive care, such as administering fluids, and providing medications to help alleviate symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers. 

It’s important to see a veterinarian if your cat is showing symptoms of feline pharyngitis, as prompt treatment can help prevent complications and ensure a speedy recovery.

2. Dental Infection

If your cat has a fishy odor coming from their mouth, they probably have dental problems. Periodontal disease, or commonly called gum disease, is the “most common oral disease in cats.” This illness can be mild or severe, it all depends on the cause. 

In its early stages, gingivitis can be seen as reddish, irritated gums. If the disease is not treated, periodontitis may happen and cause more problems and irritations. 

The gums may recede as a result, and tooth loss may also occur. Halitosis, a sign of gum disease, can be brought on by the condition.

See Also: Cat Teeth Age Chart: A Way To Learn How Old Your Cat Is

3.Feline Calicivirus

Another viral illness with symptoms of halitosis and gingivitis. Depending on the organism that causes the infection because some are more aggressive than others, the infection’s severity will change.

This virus is also called feline AIDS/HIV which can be prevented with vaccine shots. This condition has a variety of signs and symptoms, many of which take time to become apparent. Given that the cat has been asymptomatic for a while, you might not notice the symptoms. 

The first symptom of this disease can be, guess what, a really bad breath in your cat. 

4. Feline Coronavirus

It is a viral infection that attacks the cat’s immune system. They will become quite frail as a result and be less able to fight off illness. You can check their gums in addition to the usual accompanying symptoms of fever, lack of appetite, and exhaustion.

The red gums and bad breath can be noticed as signs when it comes to this disease. Even though this health issue cannot be solved, the symptoms can be relieved and you can help your cat’s immune system by strengthening it.  

It is possible to avoid the illness by adhering to the recommended immunization schedule. You might worry that your cat is about to pass away if it smells like death. As you can see, some of the illnesses listed in this article are potentially fatal.

To identify what is hiding behind the cat’s bad odor, you need to contact the vet as the vet will set the diagnosis and treatment. 

Why Does My Cat’s Breath Smell Like Death?

Orange stray cat drooling

The suppression of the cat’s immune system is the root cause of many of the issues mentioned above. This implies that they are in pain all over their body, as evidenced by the signs coming from their mouth. 

Drooling and bad breath in your cat are typically signs that the problem is getting worse. Cats with compromised immune systems are also more prone to other diseases, such as cancer.

For this reason, if your cat’s breath starts to smell for no apparent reason, you should take them to the veterinarian. You might discover some lesions in your cat’s mouth if you bring them to the doctor for bad breath.

Due to digestive problems, cats may have unpleasant odors coming from their mouths, but it’s also possible that they have odors in other locations. But it’s possible that more than just this one location is responsible for the smell emanating from their genitalia.

Gastrointestinal disorders, the most typical of which is diarrhea, can lead to problems defecating. However, diarrhea and its unpleasant odor could indicate a number of other health problems.

A cat may ingest parasites when it consumes something it shouldn’t, interacts with sick cats, or even eats excrement. During an infestation, the parasites may deplete the cat’s diet of nutrients, leading to malnutrition.

While we might think that our cats’ only concerns are things like where they will sleep next, there are a number of things that could worry them. 

Stress, besides causing their breath to smell bad, can set off an outbreak of a disease like feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1), which has diarrhea as a symptom.

My Cat’s Ears Smell

Since the cat’s inner ear and brain are so close to one another, the cat risks dying if its brain is invaded. The ears of an infected cat might soon smell. The distinctive yeasty odor of ear mites makes them easy to recognize.

Due to the fragility of the ear canals, ear infections are painful and distressing. To clear the debris and moisture from their ear canals, many cats shake their heads and scratch their ears.

An unpleasant odor may start to emanate, and the ears turn red and irritated. A black or yellow discharge is typical.

Ear mites can also result in a black discharge, scratching, and head shaking as symptoms. However, ear mite infections are more common in kittens and cats that live outside. Adult cats’ ear mites become particularly common once a kitten with ear mites is brought into the house.

RELATED: Why Are My Cats’ Ears Hot? Find Out 6 Reasons For It

Sometimes ear mites can create a favorable environment for bacteria or yeast to grow in the ear canal, leading to a secondary infection. The cat may no longer have mites by the time it is taken to the vet, but it still may have a severe ear infection.

Can You Tell That Your Cat Is Dying By Smell?

the vet examines the cat's ear

Cats enjoy grooming themselves, so as they age, they lose the energy to do so, their fur gets messy and dirty. Due to the buildup of toxins, they will also smell as their organs start to shut down.

Cats have a reputation for hiding wounds and illnesses. This is a great survival skill for a cat in the wild because any sign of frailty makes it a target for predators and rival cats.

However, this might be challenging for us devoted owners who want to help our cats through any illness or pain when it comes to our beloved pets.

We need to watch out for any small changes in our cats that might indicate something isn’t right. Many of the signs that your cat is nearing the end of her life are also symptoms of other illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, chronic renal disease, and hyperthyroidism. 

The moment you notice a problem with your cat, the first thing you should do is take her to the doctor to be examined.

Based on the examination and any diagnostics performed, your veterinarian will be able to tell you whether your cat has a disease that can be treated or if the prognosis is less favorable.

6 Signs That A Cat Is Dying

a sad cat is sitting next to a red bowl with food

You might wonder if you should leave your dying cat alone. First look for signs that the cat is actually dying, then decide and consult with your vet for the best possible solution when it comes to comforting your cat at the end of its life.  

1. Changes In Appearance 

It makes sense that a cat with less energy to burn simply can’t keep up since cats spend a lot of time and energy grooming themselves when they’re healthy. 

Dying cats may start to look unkempt and disorganized, and they may even start to emit an odor. Typically, the odor results from toxins accumulating in the body as a result of illness.

See Also: Is It Possible That Prednisone Killed My Cat?

2. Loss Of Appetite

A lack of interest in food or water is a common result of illness in all animals.

This is due to the fact that an animal’s body understands that it takes effort to process any food or liquid, and occasionally a cat is just too ill or worn out to use the extra energy.  

During a cat’s final days, dehydration can set in quickly.

3. Changes In Behavior 

a cat and a dog on a woman's lap

As their time on earth draws near, some cats don’t hide, but rather act in the opposite way. They exhibit increased levels of affection and become overly attached to their human and animal companions. 

On the other hand, some cats completely withdraw from social interaction in their last moments, appearing introspective and uninterested in interaction, though not necessarily hostile.

4. Extreme Weakness 

Even if you are unaware of it, a sick cat will likely become very weak as his body tries to fight off whatever ails him. Your cat might appear weaker than usual, especially in the hind legs, and he might also sleep a lot more than usual.

RELATED: My Cat Is Dying – How Long Will It Take For A Cat To Die?

5. Hiding

When they are extremely ill, cats are known to hide. Why? Because they instinctively understand that a sick animal is a target in the wild. 

By “hiding” from any threat that might take advantage of them in their compromised state, they are probably attempting to defend themselves.

6. Lower Body Temperature

Usually, a cat’s body temperature doesn’t start to drop until its final days. Your cat’s body temperature will drop, sometimes to below 100 degrees, as death draws near. This is especially true of his extremities, such as his ears and paws.

Closing Thoughts

There is no scientific evidence that cats who are near death emit a particular smell, but many animal experts around the world think that a cat’s ability to detect impending death is a result of a particular smell released by people who are near death.

When your cat’s end is imminent, it is very difficult to accept, and those last few days and weeks are tumultuous and challenging both for your dear feline friend and you. 

The time that you think to yourself: “My cat smells like death”, talk to your cat’s vet about their health, their level of pain, or even about humane ways to say goodbye on your terms.

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