Why does my cat’s mouth smell bad?

The bad smell in the mouth of our cat is an alarm signal that we should not ignore. You can tell us that you have different diseases, of greater or lesser severity. Furthermore, these do not only affect the oral cavity.

That is why it is important to go to the vet and not wait if we notice a bad smell or other symptoms such as drooling, changes in food intake or bad appearance of the coat. On numerous occasions the cat feels considerable pain that must be relieved.

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Causes of bad breath in cats

If we detect that the mouth of our cat gives off a very bad smell, it is easy for us to think that it has an oral problem. The first step is to try to verify it. For this, we can open the mouth very carefully and check, for example, if there is any injury to the gums or tongue or if a tooth is missing.

But a strange smell can also be due to diseases that have their cause far from the mouth , especially if our cat is already old. In any case, it is necessary to go to the vet to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. The most common causes of bad smell or halitosis are the following:

  • Gingivitis or gingivostomatitis.
  • Kidney disease .
  • Diabetes .
  • Vomiting
  • Other causes.


Gingivitis or gingivostomatitis in cats

This oral disease is common in cats and has different causes. Among them, viruses such as calicivirus or autoimmune reactions at the local level. It involves inflammation of the gums or the entire oral cavity. Produces a very bad smell. If we can open our mouth, we can distinguish the redness and inflammation in the entire area.

Wounds, bleeding and pus are visible. Teeth may be missing or in poor condition, with plaque and tartar. This damage to the teeth can also be seen in periodontal disease . If the cat resists we will not force it, as these pathologies are painful. It is very common that, in addition to halitosis, we identify symptoms such as the following:

  • Hypersalivation, that is, the cat drool excessively.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty feeding. For example, if we give it feed, we can see that it leaves bits of the croquettes in the feeder that are falling from its mouth.
  • Dirty coat because the cat cannot use its mouth efficiently to groom itself.

The cat must be taken to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Dental extractions or mouth cleanings with ultrasounds are usually performed. The prognosis will depend on the cause and it is not always easy to keep your mouth healthy.

Kidney problems in cats

When the kidneys do not work as they should, they cause a series of alterations in the body. One of them is the bad smell in the mouth. It is considered similar to acetone. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating toxic substances from the body through urine.

A malfunction leads to these products remaining in the body and accumulating. This disease is more common in older cats and can present both acutely and chronically. Unfortunately, it is a very common pathology in these felines . Other warning symptoms are as follows:

  • Weightloss. It is one of the first detectable signs.
  • Increase in water intake.
  • Increase in the amount of urine passed.
  • Vomiting
  • Matte mantle, looking bad.
  • Decreased appetite or, directly, anorexia, that is, the cat stops eating.
  • Dehydration

It is essential to go to the vet as soon as possible. The damage to the renal system may be irreversible and the cat will not heal, but with proper management, its quality of life will improve.

Symptoms of cat diabetes

This disease occurs when the cat’s body does not produce the insulin it needs to handle the glucose found in the blood. Therefore, there is an increase in this sugar and symptoms such as the following, in addition to a fruity smell in the mouth :

  • Remarkable increase in appetite without the cat getting fat.
  • Increase in water consumption.
  • The cat urinates more.
  • Bad appearance of the coat.
  • Neurological problems.
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Untreated diabetes can lead a cat to coma.

It is another of the diseases that only the veterinarian can diagnose and treat. It is chronic, but with proper care, the cat can enjoy a good quality of life. As in people, insulin and a specific diet are administered.

Causes of vomiting in cats

If the cat has just vomited or vomits frequently, it is normal that we perceive a bad smell from its mouth. Although occasional vomiting may not be worrisome, if it becomes too common or other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea or dehydration appear, you should go to the vet. It does not matter if the vomit contains foam or food.

Circle the belief that cats vomit regularly by hairballs , but it’s not true. Vomiting is symptoms to be treated and may indicate, for example, the existence of a complex pathology: inflammatory bowel disease.

Causes of bad breath in cats

Finally, it must be taken into account that, sometimes, a foreign body that the cat puts in the mouth can get embedded between the teeth or even hooked on the tongue. If this object remains in the oral cavity for days, it will trigger a reaction around it.


It is possible that it causes an infection, which will cause a bad smell. It is less frequent, but the growth of tumors or infections located in the mouth or nose are another cause to take into account if our cat has a very bad mouth smell.



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