Don’t deny it. You’ve known someone who has had a bad case of halitosis, and you’ve inevitably wondered, “Wow, dude, what’s up with that?” Perhaps the person dislikes the taste of Colgate, lost the ol’ trusty toothbrush, is just plain lazy, or maybe they have a kitten fermenting in their gut. You’re never sure of the cause, but you know something must be off.
Is Kitty Breath Inevitably Nasty?
But what about your kitty cat’s halitosis? Do all cats have nasty breath (more scientifically known as feline halitosis)?
Well, as with all things related to the feline, the answer to this question is not clear cut. But with a little investigation into feline halitosis, you can learn whether it’s time to worry and/or whether it’s just time to spend more of your free time brushing your kitty’s pearly whites (or yellows, as the case may be).
In short, your kitty’s breath is not supposed to smell minty fresh. Indeed, it would be a little peculiar if it did. However, if the odor coming from kitty’s mouth is a fluorescent green hue and offensive enough to curl your toes, there could be problem that a vet needs to address.
Causes of Kitty Halitosis
Feline halitosis is usually caused by bacteria growth in the mouth. If this bacteria is not removed, plaque and tarter will begin to grow on the teeth, resulting in even fouler smelling breath.
Feline halitosis can also have more deeply rooted, serious causes. Gingivitis, rotting teeth, tumors or cancers of the mouth, and gastrointestinal tract problems can cause halitosis. Less apparent issues, such as liver, kidney, and respiratory diseases, can also be the culprits.
How to Prevent and Treat Kitty Halitosis
Brush Kitty’s Teeth Regularly
The best thing you can do to prevent and treat feline halitosis is to regularly brush your cat’s teeth. Be sure to buy a cat toothpaste that is specially formulated as well as a cat toothbrush that is specially designed for your furry friend. Cat toothpastes come in yummy flavors, including poultry, beef, and malt, that are palatable for the finicky feline. Cat toothbrushes are the perfect size and shape to fit into your kitty’s mouth. If your kitty is resistant to having his or her teeth brushed, try using a piece of gauze or Q-Tip instead of the toothbrush.
Switch from Soft to Hard Cat Food
It can also help to switch your kitty from soft food to hard food. Crunchy kibble can help prevent and remove plaque buildup from your cat’s teeth. There are also some cat treats that contain enzymes that help prevent the buildup of tarter.
Take Kitty for Regular Vet Checkups
Be sure to take your kitty for regular checkups with your veterinarian. As part of a routine examination, the vet will take a look at your kitty’s teeth and suggest ways of keeping up on your kitty’s oral hygiene. Your vet may recommend annual professional teeth cleanings.
When Should You Take Kitty to the Vet?
In addition to routine, preventative veterinary examinations, you should also schedule an appointment with your vet if your kitty’s halitosis is accompanied by drooling, vomiting, pain, problems eating, or depression. Note, breath that smells like ammonia or urine can be a sign of kidney disease; breath that smells rotten can be a sign of an intestinal, gum, or teeth problems; and breath that smells sweet can be a sign of diabetes.
Good Oral Hygiene = A Happy, Healthy Kitty
Halitosis is a red flag that should be investigated to rule out a more serious, underlying problem. It is important to regularly brush your kitty’s teeth. This is the number one way to prevent and treat halitosis and ensure that your kitty has good oral hygiene. If left untreated, feline halitosis can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. More serious consequences of untreated feline halitosis are heart, kidney, and other diseases. Veterinarians are starting to link more and more diseases in older kitties to poor oral hygiene.