One of the best things about being guardian to a kitty fur baby is their obsessive need to groom themselves, which makes them more low-maintenance than most dogs. They like to keep themselves odorless, just like their wild relatives, which serves the purpose of keeping them veiled from predators. So if we notice our kitty has bad breath, should we be worried?
What are the possible causes of our feline’s stinky breath?
Stinky Food. Plain and simple, if their food is stinky, their breath will probably stink too. We have to choose food the will be nutritious before selecting food based on smell. However, many people go with a raw diet for this reason. It’s the closest to what they get in the wild, great for their health, and because it’s frozen fresh, there’s no stink. The real lesson is to avoid food with carbs. Kitty digestive systems are designed for a protein diet. When we feed Miss Kitty Fantastico a diet with carbs, such as dry food, or canned food that contains additive, we are stressing her digestive system and adding to her bad breath.
Gum Disease. Some pure-breeds, such as Abyssinians, Persians, and Siamese cats are predisposed to gum disease - a condition where the tissues that surround the teeth become inflamed. Cats who are genetically at risk typically develop gingivitis or inflamed gums, the first stage of gum disease, as early as 6 months. Bad breath is a common symptom of gingivitis. Other cat breeds can also develop gingivitis when there is a significant buildup of dental plaque. Consider adding dental snacks to their food or as a daily treat. These are treats that are made for cats to help with dental inflammation. We can also consider adding a little Lactoferrin. This is a human supplement found in the health food store. Vets recommend adding half of a powder capsule to each meal during inflammation flare-up.
Gum disease and other problems common to senior cats.
Abscesses. An abscess in the mouth affects the root canal of the cat’s tooth. It’s a bacterial infection that occurs when a tooth breaks or cracks due to injury. An abscess can also result from gum disease. Bad breath often accompanies a tooth root abscess.
Ulcers. Also called feline stomatitis, mouth ulcers arise from inflammation of oral mucosal tissues. The condition may be caused by either a viral infection or dental disease and is common among pure-breds. Mouth ulcers can develop on the lips, gums, tongue, or the back throat, are highly contagious and are extremely painful; bad breath is one of the symptoms.
Oral Tumors. Bad breath may also be a symptom of an oral tumor. When a tumor becomes infected or necrotic, it causes an unpleasant smell. Plus, just like abscesses and ulcers, tumors can be really painful.
If kitty’s foul breath smells rotten, it may be a symptom of kidney disease. It’s typical for the kidneys of older cats, in particular, to function less efficiently. This causes toxins to build up in the bloodstream which, in turn, leads to urine in the blood - or uremia. Severe uremia may also be accompanied by ulcers on the sides of the tongue which worsen kitty’s bad breath.
If kitty’s bad breath is caused by any of the above-mentioned conditions, proper and timely treatment are critical, not only to get rid of her halitosis but to treat the underlying condition and improve her overall health.
Food is one of the most common reasons kitties end up with bad breath. It can be because it’s stinky food, or it can be because there are additives that upset kitty’s stomach. EcoDigestive probiotic and enzyme formula is a digestive supplement built specifically for cats. Many cats lack the essential digestive enzymes that allow them to get the full nutritional benefit of commercial cat food. For kitties suffering from loose stools, diarrhea, gas, constipation, poor skin or a hair condition, or lack of energy, it’s likely she’s not properly digesting her food. EcoDigestive improves your kitty’s digestion and the absorption of nutrients in her diet.
Signs of discomfort or pain can mean a lot of things. When we are checking for illness or disease, just remember to check the mouth and gums. And don’t forget to ask the vet to take a look during Miss Kitty Fantastico’s yearly checkup. Other things to look for in our feline pal are difficulty opening her mouth, chewing on one side, or pawing her face. It’s also pretty telling if she is interested in food but doesn’t eat, or only eats a little. These are all reasons to get her to a vet soon, whether it’s time for a checkup or not.
- “Bad Breath in Cats: How to Prevent and Treat It,” PetMD
- “Bad Breath: Sign of Illness?” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
- “Halitosis in Cats,” VCA Animal Hospital