If the cat has bad breath, you as an owner want one thing above all: that it goes away as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are a few things that you as the owner can do for your cat. However, keep in mind that bad breath can have dangerous medical causes.
The Most Important Things In A Nutshell
- All cats smell slightly from the mouth after eating.
- If the odor lasts longer or if other symptoms such as plaque or bleeding occur, a veterinarian must be consulted.
- Against bad breath can help food changes, high-quality dry food, cat grass or even brushing the teeth.
My Cat Has Bad Breath: Harmless Or A Problem?
The good news comes first: every cat has bad breath, at least from time to time. It is a symptom that occurs in moderation in all carnivores. Especially if your cat has just eaten, he may smell food coming out of his mouth. This should go away after a while.
It is more difficult if the bad breath does not go away, but remains really penetrating for a long time. Bad smelling saliva is also not a good sign. Therefore, think as early as possible whether your cat needs help, and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Bad Breath In Young Cats: A Question Of The Change Of Teeth
Basically, bad breath is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is a symptom that can shed light on possible other problems your feline has. However, where the stench comes from is not only related to the cat’s health, but also to its age.
If a young cat has bad breath, there is often a simple reason for it: at the age of four to seven months, the milk teeth are replaced by adult teeth. During the change of teeth, difficulties can arise in some cases, for example, when the old tooth remains as a “cap” on the new one, or a gap develops in which food remains accumulate. In this case, bad breath suggests a misalignment of the teeth, which can be well explained, but should still be examined by a veterinarian.
Five Possible Causes: Why Does My Cat Have Bad Breath?
The Most Common Cause: Tartar
The most common cause of bad breath in cats is the well-known tartar. You can recognize it as a brownish or yellow deposit on the surface of the teeth. Tartar is formed from dental plaque, also called plaque. These are soft at first and are formed by a combination of saliva, bacteria and food debris. However, the minerals found in cat saliva cause the plaque to become harder, eventually resulting in tartar.
In the worst case, this can even lead to inflammation in the mouth, so you should have it removed regularly. This must always be done by a veterinarian while your cat is under general anesthesia. As unpleasant as it is, don’t skip the regular visits so your cat doesn’t get worse than necessary.
Gum Infections In Cats
Gum inflammation is technically known as gingivitis and can also cause bad breath. Other symptoms you can recognize when your cat has gingivitis include reddened mucous membranes, swelling or bloody gums. The inflammation is triggered by various factors:
- Injuries of the oral cavity by foreign bodies
- organic diseases such as renal insufficiency
- Tumors in the mouth area
The treatment of gingivitis always begins with the determination and elimination of the cause. This can be done, for example, by medication, but also by surgery. In any case, the veterinarian should be consulted here.
Damaged Teeth Due To Holes Or Fractures
It is also possible that the unpleasant odor results from a broken tooth, a hole or an ulcerated tooth root. Tooth fractures in particular often ensure that the cavity, which usually encloses nerves and blood vessels, has been opened. This not only hurts, but is also a perfect entrance for pathogens, which then trigger inflammation. This also gives the cat bad breath.
FORL: Hard-to-detect Dental Disease
Another common disease in cats is FORL dental disease. This stands for “feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions.” Among specialists, it is believed that one in two domestic cats suffers from this disease.
In FORL, the teeth are decalcified from the inside by odontoclasts, which are the cat’s own cells. Thus they dissolve slowly. From the outside no holes are visible, which often leads to the fact that FORL is not recognized for a long time. Nevertheless, the cat has bad breath – and severe pain.
Important: Just because the cat eats normally and does not cry out in pain does not mean that it is well. Cats usually hide their pain very well, so they rely on you to recognize the other symptoms.
Organic Diseases As A Cause Of Bad Breath
If the cat has bad breath, however, the cause of the problem does not have to be directly in the mouth. Instead, the unpleasant odor can also come from diseases of internal organs, the digestive tract or metabolism. Here, the nature of the odor provides information about possible diseases:
- sweet mouth odor, reminiscent of fruit vinegar: indicates diabetes
- fishy smell: indicates gastrointestinal diseases, such as worms or liver disease
- Smell of urine: sign of kidney disease or even kidney failure
If your cat shows any of these signs, you should take him to a vet as soon as possible. He or she can check whether your cat is really suffering from a disease that needs to be treated.
If the cat has bad breath, you would like to brush her teeth as soon as possible. There are actually specially made toothbrushes for this purpose as well. However, it only works if your cat puts up with the procedure. Always take good care of yourself and seek medical attention immediately if you have been bitten.
Important: Toothpaste for humans has no place in the mouth of a cat! It is not helpful for your cat, but highly toxic.
As an alternative to brushing your cat’s teeth, it makes sense to use chewing snacks and dental care products that can be mixed into the food. For example, enzymatic toothpastes are produced, which are readily and voluntarily ingested by cats and stabilize the oral flora with the help of the body’s own enzymes. This effectively prevents bad breath.
What Influence The Right Food Has On Bad Breath
Besides serious diseases, the quality of food is also related to the bad breath of the animal. Thus, it may make sense to switch to higher quality food if the cat smells extremely of what it has eaten. On the other hand, certain types of food can also trigger bad breath in the cat because they contain fish, for example – then only a new type will help.
Important: All these changes make sense only when it has been clarified whether there is really no medical cause for the smell. Do not expose your cat to unnecessary risk.
In any case, it makes sense to offer the cat not only wet food, but also dry food. Rubbing the hard food against the teeth removes plaque, which could later become tartar. This effectively prevents bad breath. There is also special dental care dry food with particularly large pieces, which can not simply be swallowed, but which the cat must chew. Cat grass is also good for cats. This is special grass blades from the specialized trade, which are soft enough to prevent cuts when eating. Especially if your cat is not an outdoor cat and therefore cannot eat grass outside, cat grass is especially important for him.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Breath In Cats
Every cat has bad breath, because they are carnivores. However, the smell should go away after some time and if possible it should only occur directly after eating. If this is not the case and the oral cavity is particularly malodorous, the cat may be better off at the vet.
What To Do If The Cat Has Bad Breath?
First, the cause of the bad breath should always be identified. This can be a disease, but also simply the wrong food. Based on this cause, the symptom is then treated, for example, by changing the food, dental care products or even a visit to the vet.
What Home Remedies Help Against Bad Breath In Cats?
Humans can help themselves with bad breath with home remedies. The situation is different with cats, because many substances that are good for us are pure poison for the house tigers. These include, for example, many essential oils.
Why Does My Baby Cat Have Bad Breath?
At the age of about four to seven months, young cats lose their milk teeth. It is then possible for gingivitis to develop, leading to bad breath. Since this is usually due to misalignment of the teeth, it is still a case for the vet.
How Can I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
You can, and with special cat toothpaste, not with normal! However, if the cat does not feel like it, chewing snacks and care products should be used.