Why Do Cats Have Bad Breath?

Why Do Cats Have Bad Breath?

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If you are the owner of a cat, you will know that its breath is not always pleasant. Your feline’s food and physiology are different from that of humans, so its breath is much stronger and difficult to disguise.

There are still cats that retain good breath after a number of years, but they are few and far in between. This is likely due to the excellent care and prevention on the part of its owners and partly due to luck since a cat’s breath is very difficult to control. Also, each cat breed has its own peculiarities when it comes to dental needs.

Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 cats over the age of three have bad breath, which should not be a cause for concern if the smell is not too strong or is not persistent. In short, bad breath is a mostly common occurrence.

What Causes Bad Breath in Cats?


Some foods tend to accumulate more easily between the teeth and gums of cats, leaving traces and bacteria that eventually proliferate and generate that bad smell.

For example, if you’re used to giving your cat home cooked vet-approved food, you should know that if you don’t mix it with dry food regularly, it’s likely to give your cat bad breath.

This also applies to cat relish and mousse, as they are very greasy and difficult to clean. 

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is not only a human problem. Cats can also develop it and it could have serious consequences if we do not take care of it quickly.

Periodontal disease is severe inflammation of the gums caused by an excess of plaque. The dental health of a cat works the same as that of humans or dogs. If teeth are not brushed or cared for regularly, they may end up being damaged.

Therefore, we must take care of our cat’s teeth and gums when they are young and try to give them special nutritional supplements for their teeth to help them improve their cleanliness and maintenance. For example, there are special dental treats that you can give your cat. These treats are not only tasty but are healthy as well.

Low Hydration

It is just as important for our cat to not only eat well, but also be drinking enough water on a daily basis. What happens to us when we have a dry mouth? We have bad breath. The same is true for our feline companions.

The recommended daily amount of water for a cat ranges from 300 milliliters to half a liter. Water intake should be proportional to the cat’s weight. So the more your cat weighs, the more it should drink. A great way to make sure your cat has enough water is to purchase a gravity water dispenser. 

The less water your cat drinks, the less saliva it produces. And saliva is responsible for hydrating the tissues and eliminating the bacteria that causes your cat’s bad breath. Therefore, we must always watch that our cat stays very well hydrated throughout the day.

How Can I Cure My Cat’s Bad Breath?

The best way to prevent cat dental problems in your cat is to carry out a regular routine of cleaning its teeth. In addition, giving your cat special dental treats like the ones pictured below will also help. These are available in bulk quantity from Amazon.

On the other hand, it is also a good idea to take your cat in for regular visits to your veterinarian from time to time to check on their dental health. Be sure to ask your vet any questions related to your cat’s bad breath. It is better to be safe than sorry.

The best way to avoid bad breath is by preventing it in the first place and by following the advice of your veterinarian. But if you decide that you would like to try and brush your cat’s teeth, you can rest assured in knowing that there are cat-safe teeth cleaning products available.

Can I Use Toothpaste On My Cat?

Never use human tootpaste on your cat! There are special products available that are much safer for your cat to use. And many of these come in delicious flavors such as chicken and duck.

You will also have to use a special toothbrush for them as well, since their mouths are very small and much more sensitive than that of a human being. Never use a toothbrush that’s made for adult humans on your cat. Doing so could end up hurting your cat.

Your cat’s teeth can be brushed regularly once all their baby teeth have fallen out. Like humans, brushing is the best way to prevent serious gum problems and bad breath. So once your cat has shed it’s baby teeth, you can start brushing them using special cat-safe dental products.

If your cat dislikes getting their teeth brushed and you cannot get your cat to cooperate in this process, then you can use a special additive that you can add to your cat’s water to help with it’s bad breath. There are also brushless gels available that you can put on your cat’s teeth without the need for brushing.

How To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

The best thing to do is to start brushing your cat’s teeth at an early age. The earlier you get them started, the easier it will be for your cat to accept teeth cleaning as just a normal part of their existence.

The first thing you will do is lift up your cat’s upper lip and gently brush their large front teeth, otherwise known as canines.

Once you have gotten your cat used to the front teeth being cleaned, then you can move to the back teeth or molars. It is important that the brushing rhythm is always very slow.

Watch the video below for a more thorough and in-depth step by step explanation. I have always found it easier to learn by watching someone else do the process first.

After you have brushed your cat’s teeth, make sure that you give your feline companion a reward for being such a good kitty. (Do this even if it was stressful for your cat.)

Is Bad Breath a Sign of Illness?

More often than not, your cat’s bad breath is nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that your cat’s bad breath is persistent or it intensifies, and your cat also begins to experience some of the symptoms that we will explain below, you should definitely bring your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

  •  Extremely reddened gums
  •  Lack of appetite
  •  Weight loss
  •  Drooling
  •  Yellow spots
  •  Dropping food constantly

These symptoms, combined with persistent bad breath, could hide more serious issues such as tumors, intestinal obstructions, ulcers, or acute periodontal disease. In any of these cases, you will need to take your cat to the veterinarian for a full check-up. It might not be anything serious, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.