Why Do Cats Have Bad Breath?

December 09, 2008 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Health

Cat bad breath got you down?  I know it gets me down.  It’s hard sometimes to figure out which is worse-cat bad breath, dog bad breath, or kid bad breath.  I am very happy that I don’t have to include fish bad breath in the mix.


Dog bad breath isn’t too much of a mystery.  It is also not entirely unexpected either.  Fortunately, it’s also not that difficult a problem to overcome.  A dog treat here and there, or an occasional brushing of the teeth tends to do the job.


Cat bad breath?  For me at least, that’s another story entirely.  What causes it?  How can I fix it?  How can I keep it from coming back again?  Why is my wife not trying to solve this problem?  Is this cat bad breath because my daughter fed our cat something she shouldn’t have?  Why will these kids not pick up their toys?  I guess that’s a topic for another day.  Let’s stick with the cat.


Our cat’s name is Roary.  For a while we had an experience with cat bad breath in our house.  I don’t play with the cat too much.  Maybe Roary is a good judge of character?  To me, his breath was not that much of a problem.  Neither my son, eight years old, and my daughter, five years old, seemed very concerned about Roary’s breath.  My wife, however, was not pleased.


An unhappy wife makes for an unhappy husband.


My wife convinced me that cat bad breath could be an indicator of a much more serious condition.  We had already solved the Mystery of the Lethargic Kitty (my daughter was stuffing the poor animal behind our backs, because his tongue tickled her hand).  Did we have a new mystery on our hands?  And again, why is this my problem?


We (that’s a euphemism for me) talked to a friend of ours.  Sara works at a local animal shelter.  Compared to us, she is a genius in animal care.  The way some of those animals come into the shelter is just absolutely amazing.  She helps to nurse them back to health.  We (again, a euphemism) turn to her, often with a sad, helpless face, to figure out exactly what we need to do to keep our pets alive.  She is gifted, and tolerant of my most ignorant questions.


Sara confirmed that cat bad breath can be an indicator of a more serious condition, such as lung disease, kidney disease, lacerations or ulcerations of the gums, hairballs stuck in the throat, or some other foreign object lodged in poor Roary’s mouth. 


Sara’s first step in any diagnosis is invariably to check the litter box and the food dish.  Compare the volume of input to the volume of output, and observe any abnormalities left behind.  Roary seemed to be processing normally.  Next, we (this time Sara was there, so it wasn’t just me by myself) examined Roary’s mouth.  Nothing was swollen, cut, or missing.  There were no extraneous items that didn’t belong there.  Roary was behaving normally-still playing with the family (except me, of course).


The bottom line?  Roary had just a plain old case of cat bad breath.  I put my foot down, and mandated that my son take on the job of brushing Roary’s teeth once a week.  As long as he sticks to it, cat bad breath is a thing of the past in our house.  Mystery solved!