Although cat bad breath may not distress your cat, it is a sign that something is wrong with your pet, and so you will need to arrange a veterinary check-up. Cats tend to suffer less from body odour, certainly compared with people, because their sweat glands are confined to the area between their toes, rather than being distributed over their bodies. They may suffer from flatulence however, which can be a problem, particularly if you have visitors.
Tartar on your cat’s teeth is the most obvious cause of bad breath. Unless your cat has been accustomed to having its teeth cleaned by you since it was a kitten, it is best to let the vet deal with this.
You are most likely to notice that your cat is suffering from bad breath or halitosis when you are sitting down with your pet purring on your lap or beside you. The odour is unlikely to be apparent at other times, when the cat is on the other side of the room, for example.
It will be worthwhile examining your cat, to see if there is an obvious cause of the problem. Perhaps its teeth may be heavily coated with tartar, which is a common reason for bad breath. Another possibility, particularly in the case of longhaired cats, is that hair may have become trapped between the teeth, holding food particles here as well, and these have started to decay.
FOOD DEPOSITS CAN CAUSE CAT BAD BREATH
Alternatively, the problem may not actually lie within the mouth itself. Especially in the case of Persians and similar breeds, it could be that deposits of food have accumulated in the longer fur around the lower jaw. The solution in this case is simple. You will need to wash the soiled area of the coat, although beware, because your cat may resent this and could even attempt to bite you. Try to arrange to have someone else around to restrain your pet, leaving you free to concentrate on cleaning the fur. In severe cases, you might need to clip it back. If the skin underneath is looking inflamed, this may need to be treated with a suitable antiseptic.
- Cats use their body odour to mark their territory, stretching their paws out to deposit the scent present in the sweat between the toes. This will then be picked up by other cats in the vicinity.
- Body odour is an important means of communication in cats, but humans cannot detect the scents known as pheromones which indicate when a queen is ready to mate and serve to attract potential mates.
- Cats fed on dry rather than canned food are less likely to suffer from accumulations of tartar on their teeth, and thus bad breath as a result.
- Wildcats such as lions will gnaw on bones as a means of cleaning their teeth, and this helps to prevent halitosis.
What is the easiest way to clean the fur?
Try using damp cotton wool, with a little baby shampoo if the food deposits prove to be stubborn. Simply wipe the affected area, allowing time for the food deposits to become softened.
What else could be the problem?
Long-standing kidney failure can be a cause of bad breath, simply because of the failure of the body’s metabolism to work properly. Diabetes can also result in halitosis and body odour.
Can I brush my cat’s teeth to remove the tartar from them? No, because these deposits are hard, and trying to brush them off will be painful for your cat. Arrange for your vet to clean the teeth thoroughly, having anaesthetised the cat.