My cat has bad breath, what do I do?


Bad breath in cats appears in seven out of ten adult cats, but can be fought with simple guidelines at home

  • Author: By EVA SAN MARTÍN
  • Publication date: December 4, 2013

A cat with bad breath gives off an unpleasant smell from its mouth when it breathes, an annoying problem that can suffer seven out of ten felines. However, when it is not a consequence of a more serious illness, Halitosis in cats can be avoided with simple homemade tricks: choose the right food for the cat, get him to drink more water, use catnip and other edible prizes against cat's bad breath, brush your teeth and go to the vet.

Bad breath in cats, how to end it?

The bad breath of the cat is a frequent problem, which can be solved with food, water and menthol feline cookies

Bad breath in the cat (or halitosis) can result from poor oral hygiene in the cat. But also be the result of poor feeding in the cat and even more serious feline diseases, such as cat diabetes and certain stomach, liver or kidney ailments.

Consequently, and as in people, cats can also suffer from bad breath problems. Feline oral diseases, including those related to halitosis in cats or tartar, are not uncommon among furry companions. "70% of cats may suffer from some type of oral disease after three years of age," estimates research conducted by the American Veterinary Society.

He bad breath in catshowever, it can be prevented or stopped with the help of seven simple homemade tricks, which are detailed below.

Trick 1. Cats with bad breath: learn to detect it

A cat's breath may be pleasant, but it is also possible for the cat to give off a strong and unpleasant smell. Recognizing it is simple: just bring our nose to the cat's mouth. and wait for our own reaction.

When this problem of halitosis in the feline It becomes chronic, it should be stopped as soon as possible. The veterinarian will be an ally in this regard, since feline doctors often notice bad breath in the cat, even before the owners, during the annual veterinary review.

In addition, as in the dog, tartar is one of the first signs that warns of possible oral problems in the cat. Tartar is nothing more than the concentration of salts (calcium and phosphorus) on the surface of the cat's teeth, which does not take long to concentrate traces of food and saliva. And, with them, the bacteria responsible for feline bad breath.

Trick 2. Stop the cat's bad breath with food

Cat feeding is one of the keys to ending bad cat breath. Dry feed pellets force the cat to chew. The resulting friction allows you to keep your mouth (teeth and feline tongue) clean and free of the tartar that causes bad breath.

"Some cat foods are specifically designed to take care of the cat's teeth, with larger balls than usual, which favor friction and oral cleaning when chewed, "explains Patricia González, a veterinarian specializing in cats.

This type of animal feed is usually marketed under the label oral care (oral care) or similar.

Trick 3. Against the bad breath of the cat, water

Many cats are reluctant to drink all the water they need (between 300 milliliters and 0.5 liters of water per day for felines of five kilos, on average). But nevertheless, bad cat breath, as in people, it is directly related to insufficient fluid intake.

The explanation is simple: the water increases the creation of saliva in the cat, responsible for dragging (and ending) the bacteria guilty of bad breath in the cat.

So, How to get the cat to increase the amount of liquid he ingests? Accompanying your diet with a can of wet food a week is a step. In addition, you have to distribute different bowls of fresh and clean water around the house (better, large size) and even get a cat fountain. These gadgets encourage the cat to drink, by having moving water.

Trick 4. Against bad cat breath, smelly snacks

Edible prizes for cats can be allies to combat the bad breath of the cat. Some of these cookies are designed to improve the oral cleaning of the animal (they are large and invite to be bitten).

On other occasions, cat prizes eliminate cat's bad breath for containing aromatic substances that block the stench: chlorophyll is among the most recurrent.

Trick 5. Stop the cat's bad breath with catnip

Catnip is menthol, so it helps fight bad breath in cats

Catnip, cat-nip, is a plant very similar to mint or peppermint that achieves to get mad to seven out of ten felines, according to a study published in the journal 'Scientific American'.

Cats attracted to catnip rubs strikingly with it and can even bite it. This power of persuasion of the vegetable can be, consequently, taken advantage of by the owners of a cat with bad breath. Catnip secretes an intense menthol smell, which will delight felines, while fighting their bad breath.

Trick 6. Against bad cat breath, dental hygiene

The periodic cat oral hygieneWith specific products for them, it is essential to curb feline bad breath. "Animals need to brush their teeth twice a week," González explains.

The cat's mouth cleaning should be done with a feline toothpaste (the human does not work, as it is dangerous for the animal). These types of products can be sold as mouth rinses or in the format of aerosol.

The most comfortable toothbrushes for the cat are those that wrap around our finger. The veterinarian or feline hygiene specialist (almost all clinics already have one) can help in this task, which must be completed with annual oral cleansing, in depth.

Tip 7. Fight bad cat breath: go to the vet

Annual cat veterinary check-ups will help the feline to detect possible mouth problems or bad breath in the animal. These checks are also essential to identify other possible causes of feline halitosis, more serious. Among them, cat diabetes, stomach diseases, as well as liver or kidney ailments.

Why does my cat have bad breath?

Very often, bad breath is caused by an accumulation of odors produced by bacteria in your pet's mouth. This may be the result of a dental or gum disease, certain cats, in fact, may be especially prone to plaque and tartar. Various dermatological and diet-related aspects can also be contributing factors. However, persistent bad breath can also indicate more serious medical problems, such as abnormalities in the mouth, in the respiratory tract, in the gastrointestinal tract, in the liver or in the kidneys. In all cases, halitosis is an alert signal that must be investigated.

How can I determine the cause of my cat's bad breath?

Your veterinarian is the best person to determine the cause. A physical exam can reveal the cause of your cat's problem. If not, more tests should be performed. You should be prepared to answer some questions about your cat's diet, oral hygiene, exercise habits and general behavior and attitude.

When should you visit the veterinarian?

If your cat has bad breath, any of the following symptoms will require veterinary attention:

  • Excessive brown tartar on your cat's teeth, especially when accompanied by drooling, difficulty eating and red and swollen gums, could indicate a serious dental or gum disease.
  • Unusually fresh, sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, especially if your cat has been drinking and urinating more often than usual.
  • A breath that smells like urine can be a sign of kidney disease.
  • An unusually fetid smell> Treatment depends on your veterinarian's diagnosis. If the plaque is to blame, your cat may require professional cleaning. If the cause is gastrointestinal or an abnormality in the liver, kidneys or lungs, you should consult your veterinarian about the steps you should take.

    How can I prevent my cat from having bad breath?

    Many people assume that bad breath in cats, especially at a certain age, is normal and almost inevitable, but that is not the case. In fact, being proactive about your pet's oral health will not only make your life together more enjoyable, but it is the smartest preventive medicine:

    • Take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups, to make sure he has no underlying medical problems that can cause halitosis.
    • Make sure your veterinarian monitors and controls the condition of your cat's teeth and his breath.
    • Brush your cat's teeth frequently (if> If left untreated, both gum disease and excess tartar (both cause bad breath) can lead to infection and tooth loss.


      It is very important that our cat has a correct and healthy dental plaque. To do this, one of the remedies is to periodically brush, accustoming it since childhood. The importance of brushing is capital, since tartar can be introduced into the gums causing teeth to break or even fall over time.

      Good brushing is a method that takes time. First we must brush our cat simply with gauze, and when he gets used, we will introduce the use of toothpaste, which will never be toothpaste for humans, since this is highly toxic to them. Also children's toothbrushes will be very useful for brushing our cat. When choosing the specific toothpaste for your cat, it is best to consult with the veterinarian, who will also advise you on other preventive remedies.

      In cases where brushing for our cat is no longer effective, we must go to the veterinarian to offer us specific solutions for tartar that we cannot eliminate. In most cases the veterinarian can remove the scale with ultrasound, leaving the dental surface clean. When the feline's dental health is in a worse situation, it could lead to tooth extraction. In addition to tartar, other causes of bad breath can be diseases such as pharyngitis, gastritis or acute or chronic kidney failure.

      Prevention is really very important to never reach this extreme. In case of intervention, we must start with toothbrushing just after the treatment offered by the veterinarian, so that our cat is in the best health conditions, and does not go through it again.

      Food, diseases or oral / dental infections are the main reasons why our cat may have bad breath. Tartar is a very good indicator, as it can indicate that our cat has a health problem.

      Bad breath in the cat

      Bad breath or halitosis can become common among adult cats and is a sign to which we must give enough importance, since although in most cases it is indicating poor oral hygiene, tartar accumulation or problems with feeding , too may be indicative of a pathology that affects the stomach, liver or kidneys.

      If your cat suffers from halitosis it is important that he can go to the veterinarian so that he discards any serious pathology but also to be able to treat a possible oral disease, since the American Veterinary Society states that after 3 years, 70% of the cats suffer some problem with your hygiene and health dental mouth.

      Warning signs in feline halitosis

      If your cat gives off a bad breath it is of great importance to go to the veterinarian to make sure that halitosis is not caused by an organic affectation, but if your pet shows some of the signs that we expose you then you should pay special importance because they indicate serious pathologies:

      • Brown tartar in excess accompanied by excessive salivation,
      • Red gums and difficulty eating
      • Urine-smelling breath, which may be indicating renal pathology
      • Sweet smelling breath like fruity, usually indicates diabetes
      • The foul smell accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite and yellowish mucous membranes indicated a liver condition

      If your cat experiences any of the exposed manifestations you must go immediately to the vet, since the animal may need urgent treatment.

      Feeding in the cat with bad breath

      If your cat suffers from halitosis it is important check your diet and introduce some change that can be of great help:

      1. Dry feed should be the main food of the cat with bad breath, because the friction required by its intake helps eliminate and prevent the accumulation of tartar.
      2. The cat should drink at least 300 to 500 milliliters of water a day, enough fluid intake>

      Catnip against cat's bad breath

      Catnip (Cane Nepeta) drive any cat crazy, our friends cats love to rub against this plant and even bite it and we can take advantage of this to improve their breath, since this type of herb has a mentholated smellIt is also known as cat mint or cat basil.

      Make available to your cat a pot with catnip and let him play as much as he wants, you will end up noticing him in an improvement of his breath.

      Oral hygiene in the cat

      At first it may seem like an odyssey to brush our cat's teeth, however, it is a necessary fact. To do this we must not use toothpaste for human beings under any circumstances, since it would be toxic, we must acquire a specific toothpaste for felinesThere are even some comfortable spray presentations.

      We will also need a brush and the most recommended are those that are placed around our finger, try to brush your cat's teeth at least 2 times a week.

      If you want to read more articles similar to How to improve my cat's breath?, we recommend that you enter our Dental Hygiene section.

      My cat's mouth smells, why does a kitten have bad breath?

      As we told you at the beginning of the article, a kitten or an adult cat will always smell its mouth a bit like food. When the days pass you will get used to recognizing the difference between the normal aroma of your breath and the smell of rotten fish, which is a problem.

      The reasons for true halitosis are mainly due to two factors: poor diet and poor dental hygiene. It is common that many PetLovers neglect the oral health of their furry, either due to laziness or pure ignorance, but the ideal is to be able to clean them every two days. By doing so, you will prevent him from having an infection in his mouth that can spread through his bloodstream, also to have bad breath or teeth fall out.

      How to clean a cat's teeth

      If the cat whose bad breath worries you is a kitten, you're in luck, this is the best age to start cleaning your teeth. If you get used to this routine, it will not protest so much as an adult and it will be easier for you. In case the problem of rotten fish breath occurs in adults and you have never cleaned your teeth, it will be more complicated, obviously.

      If you find yourself in this situation, you will have to approach your mouth and interact with it progressively. The first thing you have to do is impregnate your finger with something you like and rub your teeth with them. When you get used to this, it is when you have to start cleaning. In case you do not get it, get in touch with our online veterinarians, because they can recommend you, depending on the behavior and age of your cat, some liquid to have them clean without brushing.

      Home remedies for bad breath in cats

      With a special brush and a fluorine-free toothpaste created for cats, brush it very gently, Well, your teeth are not like ours. Reward him with caresses, pampering and congratulations. If he doesn't have obesity problems, you can also give him something rich for behaving so well.

      Many PetLovers who have the problem that their cats' breath smells bad, what they do is change the canned wet recipes for dry feed. It is best to combine both feeds, only by increasing the ration of the first. The reason is simple. By having liquid, it is more common for the ingredients of your food to stick to your mouth, favoring the appearance of the germs that cause the bad smell.

      Dry feed also helps to gnaw the possible plaque that causes tartar and may have attached to your gums, generating that unpleasant feeling of breath with the smell of rotten fish.

      My cat has bad breath and drool, okay?

      Anyway, everything we have told you so far refers to cats without diseases and healthy, whose problem is poor dental hygiene or a wrong perception of what a rotten breath really is. The problem is that this foul smell can be a symptom of a disease that has its origin in your gastric system and even in your liver.

      This is the reason why you should consult our online veterinarians to see if it is a serious case. If so, we will recommend you to a specialist in the area. Tell us if you clean your teeth correctly and how, also if you have tartar or notice any pathology in your teeth. That will help to understand if it is a serious problem for you to go out urging.

      Have you been left with doubts? Ask our veterinarians: