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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 Franklin 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 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 can cause gum recession in cats, resulting in teeth falling out. All of these things can cause your cat to be in pain and have very 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 bad breath in cats is by you 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

If your cat has bad breath, especially if it is persistent, it is always advised to bring them in for a checkup due to the variety of possible conditions that can cause it.

Treatment for Bad Breath in Cats

If possible, begin brushing your cat’s teeth at a young age to avoid plaque and tartar build up. 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.

It is also recommended that your cat receive a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year to remove any hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and to 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? Want to learn more about how to get rid of bad breath in cats? Book an oral examination for your cat today at Pet Vet Battlewood.

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (615) 794-3838