Why Does My Cat Have Smelly Breath?(Worse Than Normal)

Cat breath

Why Does My Cat Have Smelly Breath?(Worse Than Normal)


Finnegan did that face in face at the crack of dawn thing last week. It was at the exact moment he exhaled that I inhaled, that I caught an unusually big wiff of his foul-smelling halitosis. This is not to say that his cat breath EVER smells like a bed of roses, it does NOT. But this particular morning was down right horrifying. I could not believe what was coming out of his furry face, it was beyond actual words. In fact, Godzilla feces does not even begin to scratch the surface here, but that is one that comes to mind. The odor motivated me to skip my morning coffee, go directly to my iPad, flip it open and research why the air he breathed on me had such a barbaric stench. This post is all about why my cat’s breath smells so bad.

Cat breath brushing teeth

Is it normal for cat breath to stink?

I mean, we have to take into consideration cat’s clean their butts and everything else on their body with their tongue.

It is no big surprise that a cat’s breath will be stinky.

Odor producing bacteria is the main culprit of all bad breath, and then add on to a feline’s unique qualities of bathing with their tongue. It should be suspected that an offensive smell is going to gather in her meow portal. The main culprit is bacteria from plaque build-up on your cat’s teeth.

RELEVANT: Why Do Cats Purr? What Is It A Sign Of?

Yes, it is totally normal for a cat to have bad, smelly breath. A number of factors cause bad breath and cats are even more susceptible because most people do not brush their teeth regularly or take them to the vet for a professional brushing. The even more important question is, how bad is too bad? If your cat’s breath smells like death, it is time to do something.

Any kind of odor that is unusual or extremely potent can be a sign of a bigger problem. It is important to have your cat checked out by a vet to see if there is an underlying medical issue that will need to be taken care of. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry. I did call my vet and I will give you an update on Finnegan and what could be the primary cause of his atrocious halitosis at the end of this post.

Why does my cat’s breath smell so bad?

There are so many reasons your favorite feline could be a dragon breathing, godzilla feces, smelling fur face. Probably the number one reason ANY cat’s breath (and dog too by the way) stinks so bad is the obvious reason. No brush, lots of bacteria.

If you did not brush your teeth for weeks or even months at a time, you would have some pretty stinky chompers too. But our teeth would also start to rot out, we would have cavities, rotten fangs and gum disease. Since humans eat so much sugar, we get lots of cavities. Cats do not really get cavities because they do not eat sugar.

Here is a quick snapshot of just a pawfull of reasons your purr vessel has a portal filled with toxic air.

Bad breathFood stuck in tooth
Brush cat’s teeth

Naturally unlodge itself
Bad breath
Gums swollen
Plaque build-up
Brush cat’s teeth
Professional teeth cleaning at vet
Bad breath
Gums and mouth swollen
Gums bleeding
StomatitisVet visit asap for possible antibiotic treatment, anti-swelling medication, professional teeth cleaning, possible tooth/teeth removal

Bad breath
Witness cat eating feces

Need to identify underlying cause;
possible causes: vitamin and mineral deficiency, parasites, anxiety, fear, pica
Vet visit, cat behaviorist
Special diet, interaction adjustments,
vitamins, play dates

Cat Breath Follow-Up

These are only a few reasons your feline might be suffering from severe halitosis, so be sure to check your cat’s breath with a follow-up inhale all day and week. If her breath gets normal again, she probably had a piece of food stuck in her tooth giving off a nasty stench. It probably worked it’s way out without your intervention. But if you still smell a garbage dump in the choppers, call your vet.

BTW – cats do not get cavities!

Schedule a visit with your cat doctor, let them know the situation and make sure you have them do a teeth cleaning while you are there. Your vet can even give you some tips on how to prevent this from happening again or getting worse than just halitosis.

And that leads me to my next discussion……

Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly.

Should I brush my cat’s teeth for better breath?

Yes, you should brush your cat’s teeth regularly and the ideal amount is once daily.

I know, I know…. I don’t do it this often either. I really should, and I have always intended to do better with Finnegan’s oral hygiene, but I honestly forget.

My cat is not exactly the type to sit in my lap and let me clip his claws or brush his teeth while he relaxingly watches. I have seen cats on videos (like YouTube and Tik Tok) act amiable and agreeable while getting cleaned up by a person, but my cat is not one of them. He would prefer to take care of it all himself, thanks anyways!

Okay, enough excuses.

Lets all decide to do better.

And congratulations if you already do brush your cat’s teeth daily; you have my total respect and admiration!

The ideal amount is once daily, but if you can’t be a perfectionist about it, my Vet suggests I do what I can. So that is what I do and that is honestly… well I am not going to put it in writing.

Brush your cat’s teeth. Here is a video showing exactly how to do this.

What type of teeth do cat’s have?

Cats have four different types of teeth and they each play an important role.

INCISORFood snatchers
CANINEBiting, tearing, ripping

Respect the teeth.

As you can see from the chart, they all play an important role in your cat’s hunting, gathering, chewing and protecting activities.

Here is a very basic visual of a cat’s teeth.

Cat teeth molars pre-molars incisors canine breath


The canine teeth are fang-like and tend to be sharp (but not too sharp). They are used for stabbing and piercing their prey.


These are the little teeth up front. They a grabbers of food and are flatter than a fang. Their purpose is to pluck the food up after the canine stabs it.


They are located towards the back of the mouth and start the chewing process.


Molars are in the very back of the mouth and are used for chewing.

What should I do about my cat’s bad breath?

If your cat’s bad breath persists, you must get him to the vet. It is important to eliminate any severe, underlying disorders that could be causing the stench. Even if the condition is not an emergency, having a cleaning can prevent a more extreme issue.

Even if your fur baby’s situation cleared up on his own, this might be a good time to commit to an regular maintenance oral hygiene routine. Sometimes thinking about long term solutions can be overwhelming, so perhaps just committing to today.

Then tomorrow, see if you can’t brush your cat’s teeth again.


Having a pet with bad breath is totally normal.

(Any dog owners judging, oh pllllleeeaaaasseeee!)

But having a cat who has bad breath can also be a warning sign for something more serious.

Regular home brushings are the absolute ideal solution for a pro-active strategy and also an ongoing maintenance plan.

Starting felines when they are kittens so they are used to the cleaning is ideal. I wish I would have done this with Finnegan.

As for Finnegan, I am so relived to report he has a relatively clean bill of health including his teeth HOWEVER, my vet did notice one molar that might need to be removed in the future, due to tooth decay. If I start brushing his teeth regularly, I can pro-long this condition, if not eliminate it.

Now over to you! Have you ever had any teeth issues with your feline?

Do your brush your cat’s teeth daily?