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purr doctor
purr doctor, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1053
Experience:  11yrs in feline-only medicine/surgery.
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Hi. My cats breath stinks really bad and Im really concerned.

Customer Question

Hi. My cat's breath stinks really bad and I'm really concerned. What could be causing it? And what should I do? His teeth aren't damaged and doesn't have any infections in his mouth. I read that it could be a liver disease?!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.


I am sorry your cat has bad breath! You are correct in that this usually signifies a disease process.


How old is your cat?

Did a vet check his teeth specifically?

Is he having trouble eating?

Is he having any other symptoms at all (weight loss, increased thirst or urine, vomiting, behavior changes, etc)?


Thanks and I will wait for your reply.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

he's 5 years, and the vet did check his teeth. No, he isn't having any trouble eating or having any of the following symptoms weight loss, increased thirst of urine, vomiting, behavior etc.

Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.


Thanks for the additional information! I'm glad to hear he isn't acting ill.


A foul odor to the breath can indicate those things we have already touched disease, infection, etc. It can also indicate dehydration, diabetes, or sometimes advanced kidney disease. Some foods will make the breath smell different than others.


I find it hard to believe, unless you have recently had his teeth cleaned, that a 5 year old cat wouldn't have any signs of dental disease. Were you there when the vet checked the teeth and did he look clear back at the rear molars? Tartar buildup and gingivitis (red gums) is extremely common in cats because of lack of daily care. Some of the high carbohydrate foods, especially dry, can also contribute to dental disease. If he will let you, pull his upper lip all the way back until you can see is upper back molar. If you see any tartar accumulation (usually a brown or rust colored hard substance), or if his gums look red where the tooth meets the gums, then this is dental disease. It can be a health risk, just like in people.


The other disease processes I mentioned are less likely at his age but could be easily ruled out by lab work.


The current theory is that most cats on dry food are dehydrated. Most internal medicine veterinarians and feline specialists are recommending an all canned food diet. I know most have been told by a vet that canned food is bad for the teeth....this is only partially true. Please visit this website for more information on what you should be feeding your cat to keep him healthy.


If you check his teeth and they look good, you may want to get a second opinion. You can sometimes find a vet that has a specific interest in cats at


I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

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