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 Edgewater vets talk about some of the reasons your cat may have bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Why does my cat have bad breath?

While we may often associate pet bad breath with dogs, the condition can also affect cats. There are many causes of bad breath in cats, from simple digestion-related bad breath to 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 try to provide the best care possible for our feline friends we can sometimes forget that this includes taking care of their oral hygiene. Unfortunately, this isn't always something we do well enough and the majority of cats experience some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. 

A cat's teeth come into contact with food particles and bacteria every time it eats, which can lead to a number of dental conditions. The minerals found in the cat's saliva will cause this bacteria to harden into tartar if it is not removed on a daily basis. The bacteria found in the mouth and on the teeth can spread throughout the body and cause heart and kidney disease, even though tartar is a serious problem on its own. In addition to being the most frequent reason for gum recession, tartar can cause your cat's teeth to fall out. All of these things can cause your cat to experience extreme pain in addition to foul breath.

Some common symptoms of these conditions might include: 

  • 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

Despite the fact that dental problems in cats are likely to be the most frequent cause of bad breath, this is not always the case. This ailment might be brought on by other, graver ailments that your cat may be experiencing.

These other conditions will cause symptoms that are very similar to those experienced by oral concerns, which makes it important to ensure that you bring your feline friend in for an examination as soon as possible.

These other conditions that may cause bad breath in your cat 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. 

How To Get Rid of Your Cat's Bad Breath

When you have a cat that is experiencing bad breath the main goal will be to treat the cause or have the potential cause diagnosed.

Treatment for a cat with bad breath should begin with a regular brushing routine from an early age if possible in order to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. This can be done by purchasing a special toothbrush that makes brushing cats' teeth easier and if that doesn't work at first you could try using your finger to brush the teeth until your cat becomes accustomed to the process. At the very least brushing should happen multiple times a week and should become easier the more often you do it.

It is also recommended that your cat have a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year to remove any hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and to help detect potential dental problems early.

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? Book an oral examination appointment for your cat today at Animal General.