What to Do About Your Cat’s Stinky Breath

Unfortunately, your cat will probably never have breath that smells minty fresh. But that doesn’t mean it has to smell like dead fish that’s been laying on the beach either. If your cat’s stinky breath is getting in the way of your kitty kisses, here’s what to do about it.

Causes of Bad Breath in Cats

In most cases, the cause of the stench coming from your cat’s mouth is halitosis. In other words, poor dental hygiene. Maybe there’s a small piece of food stuck in his teeth that has gone rancid. In this case, keeping his teeth clean can be a huge help.

Although bad breath isn’t always a sign of a serious condition in cats, there are some things that should be ruled out in partnership with your veterinarian.

  • Poor diet
  • Cancer or other issues in the mouth
  • Diabetes
  • Medical issues of the kidneys, liver, or gastrointestinal tract
  • Periodontal/gum disease

What to Do About Your Cat’s Bad Breath

Once you’ve talked to your vet and ruled out any serious issues, there are several steps you can take to eliminate you cat’s stinky breath.

  1. Start by brushing his teeth daily. Yes, he probably won’t like it, especially at first, but it’s the fastest way to fresher breath. He will get used to it over time. Never use human toothpaste to brush a cat or dog’s teeth! Many of them contain artificial sweeteners and other substances that can cause life-threatening problems for pets.


  1. Make sure he’s on a healthy diet. Dry mouth is a leading cause of bad breath for both humans and animals. If your cat eats only dry kibble, try a high-quality canned food that contains more moisture to prevent dry mouth and slow bacteria growth.


  1. Dental chews for cats are a great option, especially if your cat refuses to let you brush his teeth. Look for a chew that’s crunchy enough to remove plaque and tarter. Many also contain natural enzymes that help clean your cat’s teeth as he chews.


  1. Add a liquid tooth cleanser to his water. Since cats can’t use mouthwash, there are dental water additives that freshen breath and fight plaque every time your cat takes drink. All you do is squeeze a few drops in his drinking water each time you fill his bowl. Make sure choose one specifically labeled as safe for cats.


If all else fails, it may be time to see the vet for a professional dental cleaning. Your cat should have his teeth checked at his semi-annual veterinary visits, and professionally cleaned when necessary. After all, there could be a cavity or some other issue that won’t resolve on its own, causing your cat pain, as well as stinky breath.