Tips to Help Handle Your Cat’s Stinky Breath

A cat’s breath isn’t meant to smell minty fresh…

But that doesn’t mean it should smell like a dead tuna washed up on the beach. If your cat’s breath is enough to make you faint, it might be time to remedy the situation.

What causes bad breath in cats?

Halitosis is the primary cause of that unbearable stench emanating from your cat’s mouth, much like it usually is in humans. Poor dental hygiene or even something as simple as a stuck piece of food can cause your cat’s mouth to smell rancid fairly quick. That’s why it’s important to make sure your feline friend’s teeth are clean.

Though halitosis is common and usually not a sign of a serious condition, there are other probable causes. The following issues can also be the reason behind bad breath:

  • Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease
  • Medical conditions in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, liver, or kidneys
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer in your cat’s mouth
  • Poor diet
cat mouth


What can you do to stop your cat’s bad breath?

Once you determine the problem, there are several steps you can take to fix your cat’s bad breath.

1. Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Arguably the least pleasant solution to clearing up your cat’s bad breath is to brush her teeth. Cats are hard-wired to clean themselves, and don’t often appreciate their human stepping in to do the job for them. However, if you can train your can to let you brush those fangs, it can go a long way towards keeping her breath fresh and clean.

2. Get Your Cat on a Proper Diet
A dry mouth is one of the leading causes of bad breath in just about every animal. If your cat is on a staple of hard food, you might consider switching to something with more water in it and real meat. A meal high in moisture like The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Turkey Recipe can help prevent your cat’s mouth from drying up and allowing bacteria to grow.

3. Try Chews
Like dogs, cats rely on using their teeth as the primary means of cleaning them. Chewing on tougher treats cleans their teeth by rubbing off plaque and bacteria and, with certain dental treats, preventing them from latching on in the first place. Buy or make your cat some chewy, long-lasting treats that are both tasty and good for her mouth to help stave off bad breath. If you’re having trouble finding treats your cat would like to chew, try adding a bit of catnip to them and watch her go to town!

4. Use an Additive
While cats aren’t capable of swishing mouthwash, there are still ways to add liquid cleansers to their routine. Dental water additives provide a great way to help fight plaque and freshen breath throughout the day. Simply add a few drops to her water bowl each morning and let it go to work as your cat takes a drink. Be sure to look for additives that are specifically for cats. There are a variety of tasteless options on the market if your feline is picky about her water. Check with your vet for some professional suggestions.

5. The Dreaded Manual Mouth Cleaning
While all of the tips above can help to remedy your cat’s bad breath, there’s still no perfect substitute for a good ol’ fashioned dental cleaning. Your cat should be receiving regular cleanings from your veterinarian, who can diagnose underlying problems and head them off before they get too far. Yearly, or even bi-annual, cleanings are an essential part of maintaining your cat’s overall health and the best way to get rid of nasty fish breath.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

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