How to Get Rid of Bad Cat Breath

Cat Dental Care Cat Breath


  • What causes bad breath in cats?
  • How to get rid of bad cat breath
One of the best things about owning a pet is, without doubt, their company, love and affection. In 2022, 37% of people surveyed said they got a cat for companionship. A further 20% said they got a cat to feel less lonely so imagine getting a feline friend and then having to hold your breath every time they come over to give you affection. Bad breath can occur in both young and old cats but is typically more common in senior kitties.
Rather than just restricting the affection your kitty can get from you or how many baths they very helpfully give you by licking your hands, you can try to get to the source of the issue. To understand how to help your feline friend out, you first need to work out the cause of their gnarly breath! 

What causes bad breath in cats?

There are several possible causes that can have your kitty’s breath smelling a little funky and some are much easier to fix than others. It’s worth cycling through the more short-term issues to clear them off the table of possibilities before you consider the more serious issues that may require a visit to the vet to solve.


If you’re noticing a bit of a smell following your feline friend around, especially after meals, you might want to investigate their diet. Many cat food diets are high in protein due to the dietary needs of your feline friend. This high protein diet often means it carries a stronger smell than other pet foods like doggy diets. A dry diet might not smell as much as a wet diet but it’s also worth considering the source of protein included in the meal. If it’s a fishy food it’s likely to leave a bit of a fishy smell after your fur baby has eaten.
Smelling their meaty meals on their breath isn’t uncommon and it could mean that you just need to wait until a little while after they’ve eaten to give them a cuddle. If you’re sensitive to particular smells like fish then it may be easier for you to provide a chicken-based diet as long as your kitty is happy to accept the change.

Plaque build up

Over time, plaque will build up on your cat’s teeth as they get older. One way vets will know the age of a cat is through the health of their teeth, including how much plaque build up there is. It’s normal to have some minor discoloration, however, it can start to carry a smell if it goes untreated for too long. When teeth start to decay, sulphur compounds are what cause the breakdown of teeth and sulphur tends to have a very unpleasant smell. There are quick fixes that involve a trip to the vets but as always in these cases, preventatives are always the preferred option so helping them look after their teeth in the first place will be highly beneficial in the long run.

Mouth injuries

If there is a smell coming from your cat’s mouth that doesn’t seem to go even when they haven’t eaten for a while, they could have an issue in their mouth. Mouth issues don’t just mean tooth decay, which does come with a smell, but it can include secondary infections as well. Infections can be caused by severe dental decay but they might also be caused by injuries. Injuries can be caused by external factos as well, such as a fight with another cat where a claw could have caught them or even just from chewing on something that caught on their gum. A small scrape or a missing tooth can breed bacteria which stops the area from healing and tends to give off a sickly sweet, rotting type of smell that infections always give.

Underlying illness

If you smell something coming from your cat’s mouth and you check inside to find nothing, there are plenty of illnesses that could give them bad breath while not presenting as a physical issue within the mouth. Gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease and diabetes can all cause issues with their breath. When it’s an internal issue that you can’t always see, you will usually need to seek out vet attention since they will often need treatment to resolve it. If left untreated, issues like kidney disease will get progressivley worse and can be fatal. 

How to get rid of bad cat breath

From vet care to preventative treatments you can do at home, there are a number of ways to fix bad breath in your feline friend depending on what the issue might be.

Cat opening it's mouth and showing it's teeth.
Breath freshener

We might have the option of handy sprays we can use and gum to chew on to avoid the case of bad breath but we have to look for alternatives for a handy fix for kitty halitosis. Johnson's Sweet Breath Tablets can either be served as a post-dinner treat or crushed and sprinkled over their food. They are entirely natural tablets made from parsley, chlorella, and peppermint to keep breath nice and fresh so you won’t even have to smell what they just ate.
The Broadreach Nature Dental Deep Supplement Powder for Dogs & Cats is another great option for adding to your feline friend’s meals to help keep their teeth and gums healthy while promoting fresh breath. It can be used from as young as four months of age and helps to prevent plaque build up so you don’t have expensive dental fees in the future.

Brushing their teeth

Whether you’re planning for the future and wanting to avoid the build up of plaque that will result in a dental further down the line or you just want to get rid of that just eaten breath, tooth brushing is a great tool. Introducing your kitty to brushing their teeth from a young age means you can help preserve their dental health into old age. It’s far less common for cat parents to clean their fur baby’s teeth than it is a dog’s but the issues and benefits are just the same. Cats may take a little longer to get used to it but it will pay off in the end with a slow introduction.
The Beaphar Liver Toothpaste & Toothbrush Dental Care Kit for Dogs & Cats is a great kit to start you off with cleaning your kitty’s gnashers. It has a healthy meaty toothpaste that your pet is bound to love and the toothbrush included in the kit has a larger end and a small end for pets of different sizes. They might even do better initially with the Beaphar Soft Finger Toothbrush for Dogs & Cats as it’s a little softer and less imposing for beginners.
For those in-between meal snacks and to keep teeth clean while they’re getting used to having their teeth brushed, DentaLife Chicken Cat Dental Treats are the best possible treat. They’re perfectly designed to give maximum teeth cleaning while still being a tasty snack for them.

A trip to the vet

When all else fails, your beloved pet might need a trip to the vet to really figure out what’s going on. Most of the care you can provide at home is preventative but if smelly breath is persistent, you may need the help of your vet to get to the bottom of things. You can sometimes tell what the issue might be depending on the smell. If a cat’s breath is sickly sweet, this could be because they’re diabetic and not breaking down the glucose in their system properly. Liver issues can cause a very musty smell while kidney problems can cause an ammonia-like smell similar to bleach. If there is an infection or blockage of the intestinal tracts, you may notice a bad smell but like many other illnesses and diseases, there are usually secondary symptoms that go along with it like vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes it’s the secondary issues that help your vet to work out what the matter is with your pet.
Treatment options will range from a dental scale and polish to a short course of antibiotics or even the introduction of a life-long medication to keep your beloved pet healthy. The faster you are able to pick up on issues, the better the prognosis may be.
For all of your preventative treatments and to keep your pet’s breath smelling fresh, visit us in store and online.