How to Get Rid of Cats Bad Breath at Home

icon May 15, 2023

Halitosis is an offensive odor coming from the oral cavity. For cat owners, one of the more common complaints is bad breath. Unfortunately, beyond the stink factor, there are several underlying health conditions that may be contributing to this.  Keep reading to find out about the possible treatment and causes of feline halitosis.

Bad Breath in Cats

Is It Normal for Cats Breath to Smell Like Fish?

Yes, it is normal for a cat's breath to have a slight fishy odor. This is because many commercial cat foods contain fish or fish byproducts, and this can affect the odor of a cat's breath. Additionally, cats are carnivores and naturally have a higher protein diet, which can also contribute to a stronger odor.

What Should Cat Breath Smell Like?

A cat's breath should have a relatively neutral odor, similar to a human's breath. However, some cat owners may notice a slight fishy or meaty odor, which is normal and not usually cause for concern.

If a cat's breath smells unusually foul or has a strong odor, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. 

Causes of Bad Breath in Cats


Oral disease is a common cause of bad breath in felines and can be caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. Over time, this can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, and other dental problems. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Symptoms include red, swollen gums, and bad breath. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and bones that support the teeth. This can lead to tooth loss, pain, and further health problems.


Other oral diseases that can cause bad breath in cats include stomatitis, which is an inflammation of the mouth, and feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs), which are painful lesions that can occur on the teeth.

Kidney Disease

Cats with kidney disease may have breath that smells like ammonia or urine, due to the kidney's inability to filter waste products from the body.


Uncontrolled diabetes can cause a sweet or fruity odor to the breath due to the buildup of ketones in the blood.

Gastrointestinal problems

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis, or other gastrointestinal issues can cause bad breath due to the buildup of gas in the digestive system.


A cat's diet can affect its breath odor. Certain types of food, such as fish or strong-smelling proteins, can contribute to bad breath.

Treating Bad Breath in Cats

Bad breath in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including oral disease, and treating bad breath will depend on the underlying cause.

If the bad breath is caused by oral diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, professional dental cleaning by a veterinarian may be necessary to remove plaque and tartar buildup and treat any underlying dental issues. This may be followed by a regular dental hygiene routine, including daily tooth brushing, dental treats, and regular check-ups.

Treating Bad Breath in Cats

Puainta | Medicines for Dog/ Cat Bad Breath


If the bad breath is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as gastrointestinal, kidney disease, or diabetes, treatment of the underlying condition may be necessary to improve breath odor. This may involve changes to the cat's diet, medication, and ongoing monitoring of the underlying condition.


The treatment for bad breath caused by the gastrointestinal tract can be prescribed cat food, or probiotics, in addition to the medication prescribed by the veterinarian. Promote intestinal peristalsis in cats to aid treatment.



How to Get Rid of Cats Bad Breath at Home?

There are a few things you can try to get rid of your cat's bad breath at home:

  • Brush your cat's teeth regularly

Just like humans, cats need regular dental care to prevent bad breath. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and cat toothpaste to brush your cat's teeth. Start slowly, by rubbing their gums and teeth with your finger, and gradually introduce the toothbrush.

There are special treats made for cats that help to keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh. These treats usually contain enzymes that help to break down plaque and tartar.

  • Add fresh herbs to your cat's diet

Adding fresh herbs like parsley or mint to your cat's food can help to freshen their breath. These herbs contain chlorophyll, which helps to neutralize bad breath odors.

  • Offer your cat fresh water

Make sure your cat always has access to fresh water. Stale water can harbor bacteria and contribute to bad breath.

  • Teeth cleaning powder for cats

Daily use helps reduce plaque, effectively regulates the stomach and intestines, and reduces oral odor.


When Should I Take My Cat to The Vet for Bad Breath?

If your cat's bad breath persists despite your efforts to address it at home, it's a good idea to take them to the vet. Bad breath can be a sign of a dental issue or an underlying health problem.

Here are some signs that indicate you should take your cat to the vet for bad breath:

Persistent bad breath

If your cat's bad breath doesn't go away despite your efforts to improve it, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Difficulty eating or loss of appetite

If your cat is having trouble eating or has lost their appetite, it could be due to dental issues or other health problems.

Visible dental issues

If you notice broken teeth, inflamed gums, or other dental problems, it's a good idea to have your cat checked by a vet.

Other symptoms

If your cat is also experiencing other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, it's important to have them evaluated by a vet.

In general, it's a good idea to take your cat to the vet for a routine checkup at least once a year. During the checkup, the vet can examine your cat's teeth and oral health and recommend any necessary treatments or preventative measures.

Is Halitosis Contagious?

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is not contagious. It is usually caused by poor dental hygiene, dietary choices, or an underlying health condition.

However, some underlying health conditions that can cause bad breath can be contagious, such as infections in the throat, sinuses, or lungs. In these cases, the underlying infection may be contagious, but the bad breath itself is not.

It's important to note that some oral bacteria that contribute to bad breath can be transferred through kissing or sharing utensils. However, this does not mean that halitosis itself is contagious.



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