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Why Cats & Kittens Have Bad Breath & Top Ways to Fix It


Unlike humans who can brush their teeth to get rid of morning breath, bad breath in cats isn’t as easy to get rid of. Bad breath in cats can usually be an indication of serious issues. This is because many cats often have health challenges such as dental diseases as they get older, and the bad breath may be the first pointer.

When the odor is manageable and infrequent, it may not be a serious problem. However, if the bad breath remains for too long with an odor that you can't stand, then you should know something is going on. The causes of bad breath in cats include the following:

Oral Cancer

If a cat has oral cancer, then it can lead to bad breath. This happens when there is an infection of the tumor as it grows. In most cases where a cat is diagnosed with various forms of oral cancer, they usually don’t live long. 

Most of them usually have a maximum of six months left to live at this point. 


This is another cause of bad breath in cats. You can identify diabetes here as the cause of bad breath if the odor is fruity. Also, your cat will eat a lot but lose weight, drink more water, and urinate more often. 

Using insulin can help in managing diabetes in your cat. 

Kidney Disease

This is another disease that causes a unique odor in the mouth of your cat. In the case of kidney disease, the bad breath will have an odor that smells like urine or ammonia. Cats that are eight years or older commonly have kidney diseases.

Other symptoms of kidney diseases include weight loss, lethargy, a larger volume of urine, and more water consumption. You can take your cat to your vet for proper examination. The examination will include a urinalysis and blood test.

You can help your cat manage through the kidney disease by making some adjustments to the diet. You can start by providing enough water to keep the cat hydrated while reducing the amount of phosphorus present in the food. 

Other issues, such as high blood pressure and anemia, will also come up, so do your best to help the cat through it.

Liver Disease

The yellowing of certain parts of the body can be a clear indication of liver disease in cats. This includes yellowing of the gums, skin on ears, and whites of the eyes. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Periodontal Disease

The most common cause of bad breath in your feline companions is periodontal disease. This infection occurs due to the accumulation of dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gum. 

Leaving the plaque for a few days is enough time for it to harden into tarter after mineralization. This creates room for more plaque to accumulate in the mouth of the cat. The accumulation of dental plaque also irritates the gum tissue.

Failure to address periodontal disease in your cat can lead to several problems such as pain, bleeding gums, and tooth loss. You can visit your veterinarian for professional teeth cleaning sessions to treat the disease.

When the vet successfully gets rid of the tartar and plaque, he/she will check for any teeth that need extraction. An x-ray may be necessary for adequate assessment. Your pet will be sedated with general anesthesia during the process, so you don’t have to worry about the pain. 

Preventive measures you can take to avoid periodontal disease in your cat includes brushing the teeth daily. If you experience any resistance from your cat, then try to break down the process to smaller stages. 

You can start by getting your cat to lift her lip, getting the teeth touched, and so on. Sometimes, using toothpaste may not be an option. You can use a washcloth or dry gauze to get rid of some of the plaque. 

Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis

This is a condition with a close relationship to the calicivirus, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and other infections. In addition to bad breath, this condition also causes extreme pain and inflammation in cats. The inflammation is responsible for the odor. 

To treat this condition, some cats need to have all or a few of their teeth removed. 

If the bad breath is caused by an infection or disease that can be traced to the mouth, then it is an oral cause. On the other hand, when the cause of the bad breath isn't traced to the mouth, then it is usually a systemic cause. Systemic causes include kidney diseases, diabetes, and so on. 

Tips for Eliminating Bad Breath

To eliminate bad breath in cats, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is essential. You can start by brushing the teeth of your cat and buying Paws Plus at https://petfriendlybox.com/products/paws-plus-for-cats can assist you to treat them. This will help hinder the accumulation of tartar in the mouth. 

When brushing the teeth, you can also apply toothpaste as long as it is made for cats. You can brush the teeth daily, but it may be difficult during the initial stages. Your cat will grow accustomed to this in no time since it gives the opportunity to spend more time with you.

For systemic causes, you will need to visit your vet to determine the real cause of the bad breath. Your veterinarian can also help with the treatment of the cat.

If you receive approval from your vet, you can also get some dental care cat food to help with the bad breath. These usually contain ingredients that offer tartar-reducing benefits. 

If your cat has a breath that smells neutral, then you have done an excellent job. This is a sign of a healthy mouth. Helping your cat develop excellent oral health will have a significant impact on its overall health.

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