Bad Breath In Cats - Causes & Treatment
Bad Breath In Cats - Causes & Treatment
Bad Breath In Cats - Causes & Treatment

Bad breath in cats


If your feline friend is suffering from bad cat breath otherwise known as halitosis, we firstly recommend you take them to visit the local vet. Your vet will be able to examine your cat’s teeth and mouth to check there isn’t a serious issue causing their bad breath. Keep reading to find out about the possible causes of feline halitosis.

Causes of bad breath in cats

1. Gingivitis Gingivitis occurs when an accumulation of plaque and bacteria builds up in your cat’s mouth. This causes gums to become inflamed which will be uncomfortable for your cat.

2. Periodontal disease Periodontal disease develops when a cat is suffering from gum inflammation, called gingivitis. If the gingivitis is left untreated it can cause calculus to build up under a cat’s gums which creates little pockets of space. These pockets are the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth and this can lead to periodontal disease, another common cause of bad cat breath.

3. Kidney disease There are two different types of kidney diseases that your cat could suffer from. The first is acute kidney failure and the second is chronic kidney failure. There are a few different symptoms that could be a sign of kidney failure, such as vomiting, weight loss and bad breath.

4. Diabetes in cats Diabetes could be behind a cat’s bad breath. If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes you may notice their breath have a fruity smell to it. This rare smell is not normal and could be the sign of a metabolic emergency. Other signs that your cat may have diabetes are a significant increase in urinating and drinking along with an increase in appetite – if you notice this and your cat hasn’t been diagnosed you should book them in to see the vet as soon as possible.

5. Stomatitis in cats Feline stomatitis occurs when the whole of a cat’s oral cavity becomes severely inflamed. It is a condition that most cats can develop. One common symptom of stomatitis is very bad cat breath. It’s important to book a consultation with your vet if you notice your cat’s breath has a foul smell to it.

6. Diet The food your cat consumes can often be a cause of bad breath. If you’re asking yourself why your cat’s breath smells, it might be a good idea to look at what they’re eating. If you have taken your cat to the vet and ruled out any oral health issues, then their diet may well be the cause. Occasionally wet and soft cat food can cause bad cat breath as it can stick to a cat’s teeth, this tends not to happen with dry food. Try changing your cat’s food to see if this gets rid of the halitosis.

7. Coprophagia and pica Coprophagia is the term for a cat who is eating their own or other animals’ faeces . Pica is a medical issue in cats where it regularly eats non-food items. Both of these issues can cause bad cat breath.

Treating bad breath in cats

As mentioned earlier, if your cat has bad breath it’s important to make sure you take them to the vet to rule out any more serious issues being the cause. This being said, some cats suffer from bad breath, even if there are no problems with their teeth and gums.

Try out some of the steps below to reduce the bad smell coming from your cat’s mouth. If your cat is suffering from gum disease, check with your vet before carrying out these steps.

1. Cleaning a cat’s teeth at home Brushing a cat’s teeth regularly not only helps reduce plaque and tartar build up, but it can also reduce bad cat breath. When cleaning a cat’s teeth, it’s important you do it somewhere comfortable and whilst using a cat toothbrush. Never give a cat human toothpaste, instead, you should use specialist pet toothpaste designed for cats.

2. Cleaning a cat’s teeth at the vets If you think your cat needs a more effective and rigorous clean, it may be worth asking your vet to clean their teeth with specialist tools. The equipment your vet has will be much more effective than what you have at home. Asking your vet to give your cat’s teeth a professional clean every once in a while will help to remove plaque and tartar that could be present in your cat’s mouth. Doing this will help to reduce the smell from a cat with bad breath and also give the vet a chance to extract any teeth that are rotten or causing pain.

3. Dental cat treats Feeding your cat dental treats such as Dentalife Cat® can make a real difference to your cat’s breath and their overall dental hygiene. Feeding your cat 17 Dentalife Cat® treats a day is scientifically proven to help reduce tartar. This is because each treat your cat chews surrounds the teeth and helps to provide a deep clean, and removing this tartar and plaque can help a cat with bad breath.

Dentalife Cat® treats have no added artificial colours and preservatives and come in a resealable pack to keep the treats fresh. Learn more about Dentalife Cat® treats and how they can improve your cat’s dental health today.

If you’re looking for more dental advice for your cat, make sure you check out the rest of the articles on our cat dental advice hub. It has a whole host of great articles on cat dental health that you’re bound to find useful.


What is DentaLife?

Purina® DentaLife® is innovative daily treat that cleans as your dog chews for healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath