Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Why does my cat's breath smell bad?

As most cat parents know, our feline friends enjoy getting up close and personal. This is especially true first thing in the morning, and there's nothing quite like waking up to stinky cat breath. Most of the time this condition can be linked to dental concerns, but that is not always the case. Our Perry vets talk about some of the reasons for your cat's bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Reasons Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

While we typically associate bad breath in pets with dogs, it can also affect cats. A cat's bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including from eating, dental issues, and other more serious conditions.

This makes it all the more important to bring your feline friend in for a dental health checkup with their veterinarian to get to the bottom of this smelly condition.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

While we always strive to provide the best care for our feline companions, we occasionally forget to consider their oral hygiene. Unfortunately, the majority of cats then develop some form of dental disease by the age of three.

Every time a cat eats, it exposes its teeth to food particles and bacteria, which can cause a variety of dental problems. This bacteria must be removed daily or it will harden into tartar due to the minerals found in the cat's saliva. 

Tartar is a significant problem in and of itself; however, bacteria that are present in the mouth and teeth have the potential to spread throughout the body and cause diseases of the kidneys and heart. 

Additionally, tartar is the most common cause of gum recession in cats, which can result in the loss of their teeth. It is possible that your cat will experience pain as a result of all of these factors, in addition to having extremely bad breath.

Some common symptoms of these conditions might be:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Redness of the mouth and gums
  • Behavioral changes
  • Inability to eat or lack of appetite

The only way to accurately diagnose and treat these conditions is by bringing your cat to your veterinarian for an oral examination. The treatment that your cat requires will be dependent on the condition that they are experiencing, but some of the possible treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and potential dietary changes.

Other Conditions That May Cause Bad Breath in Cats

While dental problems are the most common cause of bad breath in cats, it’s not always the case. Bad breath can be caused by more serious conditions in your cat's body.

These other conditions will produce symptoms that are very similar to those seen with oral concerns, so bring your feline friend in for an examination as soon as possible.

Other conditions that may cause your cat's bad breath include:

  • Ulcers and sores
  • Kidney disease
  • Abscess or infection
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Teething
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Diet 
  • Infections
  • Cancer

Due to the wide range of potential conditions that can cause bad breath, it will always be recommended to bring your cat in for a checkup if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is ongoing. 

Treatment for Bad Breath in Cats

If possible, begin brushing your cat’s teeth at a young age to avoid plaque and tartar accumulation. This can be accomplished by purchasing a special toothbrush designed to make brushing cats' teeth easier, and if that doesn't work right away, you can try brushing the teeth with your finger until your cat gets used to the procedure. Brushing should be done at least twice a week, and it should become easier with practice.

In addition, it is recommended that your cat undergo a dental examination and routine cleaning at least once a year. This will allow for the removal of any plaque and tartar that may be difficult to access, as well as identification of any potential dental problems at an earlier stage.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your cat's bad breath may be linked to oral health or systemic conditions? Want to learn more about how to get rid of bad breath in cats? Book an oral examination appointment for your cat today at Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital.

New Patients Welcome

Looking for quality veterinary care in a warm and friendly atmosphere? Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital in Perry, GA is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (478) 987-4811