We adore our kitties and put up with the 5am wake up paw slap on the nose, the midnight play sessions running at full pelt under the bed and even the up close and personal bum in the face. One thing you shouldn't put up with is if your cat has bad breath. Bad cat breath is not ok and if you notice a particularly foul smell it may signal an underlying medical condition. So what causes our cat's bad breath?
Causes of bad breath (halitosis) in cats
A common cause of smelly cat breath is dental disease which sadly is more common than you'd think with an estimated 8 out of 10 cats suffering with dental disease, and the issue is more prevalent with older kitties. Certain breeds are more likely to have dental issues namely Persians, Siamese, Burmese and Maine Coone cats. Feeding a cat a poor diet and irregularly brushing your cat's teeth are key contributors to dental disease and things within your control. Left alone plaque eventually turns into tartar and a tartar build-up can lead to a number of problems such as gingivitis, periodontal disease or even heart and kidney disease. Unfortunately cat's often suffer in silence so it's crucial that you regularly examine your cat's mouth. If you spot excessive tartar, a particularly foul smell or inflamed gums consult with your vet as soon as possible.
Food and foreign objects
Certain diets are smellier than others which can have a knock on effect on your cat's bad breath. Always look at the full ingredients of a cat food to first identify if it's a good cat food and then carry out the necessary smell and taste test to see if you're onto a winning recipe. Our kitties have particular tastes and why shouldn't they!
Sometimes your cat may get a piece of food or even a foreign object lodged in their mouth which will naturally start to smell after some time. An easy way to prevent this is by regularly checking your cat's teeth and gums. Boo isn't fond of having her teeth brushed nor does she enjoy when we examine her, but we've found she's most accommodating when she's showing us affection and kitty kisses in the evening.
Poor oral hygiene isn't the only cause of cat bad breath. On some occasions smelly breath is a sign of more serious medical problems that require medical treatment. Infections or blockages in the gut, kidney disease, certain cancers and diabetes are all conditions that cause bad breath. Certain conditions have signpost smells; an ammonia like smell points to kidney disease, diabetes can cause a sweeter smell and gut issues are particularly foul smelling. It can still be difficult to identify the cause of your cat's bad breath, so the best option is a quick trip to the vet.
How can you prevent bad breath in cats?
Prevention is the best way to keep your cat healthy and by introducing a regular oral care routine you can save yourself a lot of stress and avoid your cat suffering from harmful unwanted conditions. Brushing your cat's teeth regularly, feeding a good diet, introducing dental chew toys and cat dental treats will all go a long way in helping maintain your cat's healthy teeth and gums. We also recommend scheduling a check over with the vet at least annually.
If you're new to oral care or have an older cat, it's not too late but may require more patience. If you're in any doubt about your cat's bad breath and general dental health, a quick trip to the vet is a must and a simple way to address any issues preventing your cat from being happy and healthy. Your vet should be more than happy to offer guidance and tips including advice on the best dental products and cat treats