Why Does My Cat Have Bad Breath in Sonora, CA?

Have you ever noticed a foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth? Although a cat’s mouth is an area pet owners forget about it frequently, your cat’s mouth can harbor bacteria and cause problems. Your cat should not have bad breath. If they do, it is because of poor dental hygiene, a poor diet, or a sign of an underlying and more serious condition.

cat bad breath in sonora, ca

Possible Reasons for Your Cat’s Bad Breath

There are many possible causes for a cat’s bad breath.

Food Stuck in Their Gums

Like humans, cats can develop bad breath if there is food stuck in their teeth or gums. Since cats can’t floss their own teeth, it is up to us as pet owners to clean their mouths frequently. It is rare for this to occur, though.

The best way to know if your cat has something stuck in their teeth is by pulling back their top lip to glance at their teeth. When food begins to rot or decompose in your cat’s mouth, it introduces bacteria that can cause your cat’s teeth to rot and deteriorate.

Removing Food from Cat’s Teeth

How do you get rid of decomposing food? Sometimes, it is difficult, and your stubborn cat won’t let you. If this is the case, you can bring them to your veterinarian. While vets take care of your cat’s physical health, their dental health falls into the general category!

When plaque builds up and turns a yellow or black color, it is not easy to get rid of without the proper tools. Although it is tempting to use sharp objects to scrape off the tar or plaque, you can accidentally hurt your cat’s gums, causing bleeding or infections.

Oral Tumors

Sadly, sometimes a bad odor in your cat could indicate that your cat has a tumor or cancer. However, this does not mean that your cat has cancer because they have bad breath. When cats develop oral cancer, a mass grows in their mouth. The mass can become infected, causing a putrid odor.

The odor, however, is not the only thing you need to worry about. These tumors are large and cause your cat pain because of the placement and size. It may also interfere with their throat. If you notice a mass on your cat, you should consult with their veterinarian as soon as you can. Not all tumors are cancerous, but the only way to know is through a proper diagnosis.

Your cat’s vet should be able to take a biopsy of the mass. Most of the time, vets put animals to sleep before taking a piece of their tumors. They then send the piece to a lab for further testing. If it is non-cancerous, your cat’s vet can schedule surgery to take it out. However, if it is cancerous, the treatment is rigorous and depends on the age, weight, and general health of your cat.

Infections and Inflammation

Your cat may also have bad breath due to infections or inflammation in the mouth. This is technically a symptom of an underlying condition. However, infections can occur on their own. Most of the time, the infections that develop in a cat’s mouth are because of their teeth.

If one of their teeth is decomposing, it can breed negative bacteria. It only takes a small scratch or opening to spread the bacteria further, causing bad breath. However, bad breath should be the minimum of your worries. If your cat has an infection in their mouth or teeth, it is likely their faces are swollen due to the inflammation and abscess.

You cannot treat this infection at home. Instead, you need to take your cat to a veterinarian for further advice and treatment. Since infections are serious and can spread, your cat’s vet will likely provide you with an oral antibiotic to fight off the infection.

Feline Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is an interesting condition because it occurs in the mouth but is technically an autoimmune condition. This condition occurs when your cat’s immune system negatively reacts while trying to fight off bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Instead of attacking the bacteria, your cat’s immune system attacks the gums and soft tissue of your cat.

The gums and upper mouth of a cat with Feline stomatitis are usually swollen and red. The smell is acidic and unpleasant. There is a lot that is still not understood about this condition. Some cats are born with this, while others develop it later on in life. Interestingly, not all cats will develop this condition, and the cause is still unknown.


Being around a cat’s stinky breath is not a good feeling. However, it does indicate that there is something wrong. While it is normal for your cat to have bad breath occasionally, if it is a reoccurring problem, then there may be something wrong in your cat’s mouth.

Although you can check your cat’s mouth and teeth at home, if you are having trouble, you can always make an appointment with your vet. They can then check your cat’s gums and teeth for any conditions relating to the ab breath. The most common conditions are related to dental hygiene and the immune system. Thankfully, there are various treatments and preventative measures that you can take.

To book an appointment with your Live Oak Veterinary Hospital veterinarian call 209-432-9437 or use the online form!