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Why Does My Cat’s Breath Smell – 7 Causes

Why Does My Cat’s Breath Smell – 7 Causes

Why does my cat’s breath smell? Cat owners blame their cat’s bad breath on their diet, saying that their cat eats bad food.

According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, a healthy cat shouldn’t have a stinky breath. Even though many times your cat’s bad breath will be the cause of poor nutrition and diet, sometimes, it has to do with health issues.

Bad breath in cats is frequently a sign of dental health issues like gingivitis(inflammation of the gums) and gum disease. 

The Cornell team cautions that untreated gum inflammation and other oral health issues can result in issues with other parts of the body, such as kidney disease, intestinal blockages, and liver disease.

As a result, giving your cat proper oral care is essential to keep them healthy overall and prevent dental problems and gum inflammation. Here are some explanations for why your cat might have a stinky breath and some suggestions for dental care in order to fix it.

7 Causes Your Cat’s Breath May Stink

gray cat with open mouth

Why does my cat’s breath smell? If you noticed that your dear feline friend has a stinky breath, keep reading as we are going to discover some possible causes of it.

1. Halitosis

The medical term for bad breath in cats is halitosis. Although there are many potential causes, plaque buildup in a cat’s mouth is the most common one. You will eventually be able to smell the bacteria on your cat’s breath because this allows them to grow.

2. Periodontal Disease

Despite the fact that a variety of things can cause bad breath in cats, veterinarians agree that periodontal disease is the most common cause of bad breath. Tartar buildup will result from plaque buildup if it is not stopped.

Your cat’s breath will continue to get worse as the bacteria spreads, and it will experience stomatitis, a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the mouth. 

It can also cause tooth loss. You should take care of dental disease as soon as you can because it can cause other health issues in pets.

RELATED: Cat Gum Color Chart – A Guide For Cat Owners

3. Medical Conditions

orange cat with open mouth

Bad breath can be the cause of some medical conditions, besides poor dental care. Breathing issues may result from other illnesses that affect the mouth.

Similarly, issues with the gut, liver, or kidneys can cause your cat to have bad breath, which is why it’s crucial to get a full dental examination.

Kidney Disease

Bad breath can occasionally be a sign of a health issue that begins elsewhere in the body. Cats that have problems with their kidneys may display weight loss, and stinky breath and you can see that they urinate more and drink water more frequently.

To determine if kidney disease is the issue, your veterinarian can examine your pet and perform blood and urinalysis tests.

According to Kornreich, dietary changes can help manage kidney disease by lowering the amount of phosphorus in food, ensuring your cat is well-hydrated and taking care of any comorbid conditions like anemia or high blood pressure.

RELATED: Kidney Disease In Cats – When To Euthanize?

Liver Disease

According to Kornreich, a cat with liver disease may also have yellowing of the eye whites, skin on the ears, or gums in addition to bad-smelling breath.

She might also have a poor appetite, experience vomiting or diarrhea, and drink and urinate more frequently than usual. Treatment is based on the underlying cause of liver disease, he claims.

4. Diabetes

owner petting his cat

If your cat has a stinky breath smell, but it smells fruity rather than foul, they have diabetes. Diabetes causes ketones to accumulate in the blood, which gives animals a sweet breath smell.

Consider whether your cat is urinating more frequently, which is another indication of this condition if you notice this smell. To rule out this potentially dangerous condition, a quick trip to the vet is required. 7

Fruity breath can be a sign that you should review your diabetes treatment plan with your vet if your cat actually has diabetes.

5. Oral Cancer

If a squamous cell carcinoma forms inside the oral cavity of your cat, oral cancer will result. Any soft tissue, such as the tonsils, tongue, gums, and palate, may be affected by this. Typically, it makes eating challenging and results in bad breath.

6. Poor Diet And Nutrition

Cat’s diet and nutrition not only affect the cat’s health but also affect the cat’s breath. Cat food that is full of chemicals, additives, and non-digestible food will make the cat’s breath stink. A better diet and better cat food will fix the gastrointestinal tract and therefore have a positive effect on a cat’s breath.

7. Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis

Stinky breath is brought on by a condition known as lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis, which may be connected to the feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, calicivirus, or Bartonella, among other infections.

Cleaning and tooth removal may be necessary during treatment, she adds. Antibiotics might be required for cats with this condition.

Cats with the feline calicivirus may also experience upper respiratory infections, which are accompanied by ulcerations on the tongue, runny nose, discharge from the eyes, and sneezing.

It would be great to get the calicivirus shot. He claims that the vaccine will shield cats from contracting the illness. The calicivirus is fairly contagious among cats and is very prevalent in environments with high cat densities, such as shelters.

It’s crucial that owners keep their cats’ vaccination records up to date.

When Should You Treat Bad Breath?

cat's teeth

Your cat may develop serious health issues if the condition causing its bad breath is not treated. To avoid this, keep an eye out for these indicators that you should consult your veterinarian about your cat’s halitosis:

• Vomiting, anorexia, or gums and eyes that are yellow-tinged: If your cat has bad breath and any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian right away because they could indicate a serious liver issue.

RELATED: The Most Effective Home Remedies For Cat Vomiting

• Brown teeth: If your cat’s teeth have turned brown, there is probably a tartar accumulation there, probably close to the gum line. It must be treated if your cat has difficulties eating, if she’s drooling and if there is inflammation of the gums.

• Ammonia breath: Your cat may have kidney disease if its breath has a urine odor.

• Sweet or fruity breath: This can indicate that your cat might have feline diabetes if the fruity or sweet breath is accompanied by more frequent urination and drinking.

How Can I Get Rid Of My Cats Bad Breath?

brushing kitten's teeth

The first thing to do if your cat has bad breath is to make an appointment with your veterinarian for a full physical examination to rule out any other issues.

1. Regular Tooth Brushing

You must perform a task that many pet owners would rather avoid if you want breath that smells good. Although it takes time and practice, brushing your cat’s teeth will be beneficial.

To brush a cat’s teeth, you will need a toothbrush specifically designed for cats (or a finger brush) and toothpaste made for cats. It’s important to note that cats do not like having their teeth brushed and it may take some time and patience to get your cat used to the process.

• Start by introducing your cat to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Let them smell and investigate the items.

• Begin by gently rubbing your cat’s gums with your finger or a finger brush.

• After some time, your cat will get used to and comfortable with it, and you can progress to using the cat toothbrush.

• Use a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and brush in a circular motion on the outside of the teeth.

• Be sure to praise and reward your cat throughout the process to make it a positive experience.

• Gradually increase the amount of time you spend brushing your cat’s teeth each day.

2. Proper Nutrition And Diet With Hydrating Your Cat

You should choose natural food and give your cat water often in order to prevent dry mouth.

When choosing cat food, it’s important to consider the following:

Nutritional value: The food should provide balanced and complete nutrition, including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredient quality: The food should be made with high-quality, natural ingredients and minimal fillers or artificial preservatives.

Life stage: Cats have different nutritional needs at different stages of life, so be sure to choose a food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level.

Any allergies: Check if your cat has any allergies or food sensitivities and choose a food that does not contain those ingredients.

Taste: Cats can be picky eaters, so it’s important to find a food that your cat will actually eat and enjoy.

RELATED: Best Cat Foods Without Fillers

3. Purchase Cat Chews For Oral Hygiene

Cat chews are great since their rough and ribbed edges will help remove the tartar until the next tooth brushing. These can be put in your cat’s oral hygiene routine.

4. Try Water Additives And Gels

Have you heard of water additives and gels? This can help greatly with stinky breath prevention. You can rub the gel on your cat’s teeth in order to reduce tartar and plaque, or you can add it to the water your cat drinks every day.

5. Go To The Vet Checkup To Do An Oral Exam

Oral hygiene includes getting a thorough oral examination and wellness check from your veterinarian. This examination will also rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the breath.

Consider making an appointment for professional teeth cleaning if your cat’s breath is particularly foul.

What Should My Cat’s Breath Smell Like?

close shot of cat's open mouth

The smell of a cat’s breath should be very indistinct. Your cat’s breath should have a fairly neutral odor, according to the Ontario SPCA Humane Society, and any unpleasant odor is a sign of oral hygiene issues or other health problems. Cats frequently have a fishy odor, which is almost always a sign of trouble.

How To Prevent Stinky Cat Breath

Proper and regular dental care: Brush your cat’s teeth regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste made for cats. You can also provide your cat with dental chews or toys to help keep its teeth clean.

Feeding a healthy diet: Feed your cat a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Wet food is generally better for cats than dry food, as it is higher in water content and protein.

Regular veterinary check-ups: Have your cat’s teeth checked by a veterinarian at least once a year, and schedule a professional cleaning as needed.

Add dental care products: You can add dental care products like enzymes and probiotics to your cat’s food or water, which can help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Avoid treats: Avoid giving your cat treats that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, as these can contribute to plaque and tartar buildup.

Check for underlying issues: If your cat’s breath constantly smells bad, it could be a sign of an underlying dental or health problem, so it is important to have your cat checked by a veterinarian.

Cat owners usually forget their cat’s bad breath even though it is a common complaint among them. While diet also plays a significant role in your cat’s oral health, dental cleaning is an essential part of learning how to treat a cat’s bad breath.

And since it’s one of the factors that you can control to prevent bad breath, think about giving our human-grade cat foods, which are rich in protein, moist, and free of fillers, a try. By giving your cat healthy food, you can promote greater wellness and lessen issues with bad breath.

Wrapping It Up

hand and two cats

Why does my cat’s breath smell? As we have seen, there can be various reasons why your cat can have a stinky breath. The most common cause is dental issues such as plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, or tooth decay. 

Other causes could be underlying health issues such as kidney disease, diabetes, or respiratory infections.

To prevent bad breath in your cat, it is important to provide regular dental care, including regular teeth brushing, dental chews, and dental toys.

Feeding a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and providing regular veterinary check-ups can also help to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy.

It’s also important to consider any underlying health issues that may be causing the bad breath, so it is always best to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any potential health problems and to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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