Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Why does my cat have bad breath?

Cats like to be close to their owners. This is especially true first thing in the morning, and there's nothing like waking up to smelly cat breath. This condition is often attributed to dental concerns, but that is not always the case. Our Yucaipa vets discuss 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's breath smell?

While we typically associate bad breath in pets with dogs, cats can also experience this condition. There are numerous causes for a cat's bad breath, ranging from simple bad breath from eating to dental issues and other serious conditions.

This makes it even more important to bring your feline friend in for a dental health checkup with their veterinarian to find out why this smelly condition is happening.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

We always try to take care of our feline friends, but sometimes we forget to take care of their oral hygiene. Most cats get some type of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. 

Every time a cat eats, food particles and bacteria enter their mouth and contact their teeth, potentially leading to a number of dental issues. The minerals in the cat's saliva will cause the bacteria to harden into tartar if they are not removed daily. Although tartar is a serious problem on its own, the bacteria that live on teeth and in the mouth can also spread throughout the body and lead to heart and kidney disease. Additionally, this tartar is the most typical reason for gum recession, which can lead to your cat's teeth falling out. Because of all of these things, your cat might have very bad breath and be in pain.

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

Only by bringing your cat to your veterinarian for an oral examination, can you accurately diagnose and treat these conditions? The treatment your cat requires will depend 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 issues may be the most frequent cause of bad breath in cats, this is not always the case. There is a possibility that other, more severe conditions in your cat's body could be the root of this condition.

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. 

Treatment for Bad Breath in Cats

If your cat has bad breath, your goal will be to treat the cause or have the potential cause diagnosed.

The best defense against tooth decay is routine tooth brushing. To make brushing the teeth of cats easier, you might want to try using a unique toothbrush. Until your cat gets used to the procedure, you could try brushing its teeth with your finger if that initially doesn't work. The more often you brush your teeth, the easier it should get. You should do this at least twice a day.

It is also recommended that your cat get a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year to get rid of all the hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and help spot 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 about your cat's bad breath? Contact our Yucaipa vets today to book an appointment for your feline friend.

New Patients Welcome

Green Valley Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Yucaipa companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Book Online (909) 790-2963