Cat bad breath is a common issue that owners deal with. Mainly because owners hardly brush their cat’s teeth. Imagine if you didn’t brush your teeth for months, or years? Many cats develop bad breath, or halitosis, from poor oral health. That good news here is that there are home remedies for bad breath in cats. If you have been dealing with stinky breath pets in your home, don’t worry, we have some recommendations for you. Before we discuss how to solve cat bad breath at home, first let’s dive into the reasons why your cat may have halitosis. 


What Causes a Cat to Have Bad Breath?

Your cat’s bad breath is most likely a sign of another problem. Ongoing bad breath is linked to disease. That foul smell is more often than not linked with dental disease. Many pet owners do not brush their pet’s teeth weekly, or even monthly.


If your cat hasn’t had their teeth cleaned in months, or longer, it is likely that dental disease is the issue here. Roughly 75% of cats over the age of three have dental disease. The decaying teeth lead to foul odor. Remember, occasional bad breath is normal. Halitosis in pets is normal, it’s only when it becomes persistent and extremely foul that owners should worry. 


Periodontal Disease

Bacteria builds up in your cat’s mouth. This bacteria forms plaque that mineralizes and becomes tartar. Your cat’s bad breath will become worse and worse as more tartar builds up. The build-up of tartar leads to periodontal disease, which is an infection within the mouth. 


Periodontal disease can be recognized by excessive brown and yellow tartar on the teeth, excessive drooling, inflamed gums, difficulty eating, or only using one side of the mouth to eat. If you notice these signs in your cat, please take your fluffy friend to the vet. Periodontal disease can be very painful for your cat. 



Gingivitis can occur if you are not cleaning your pet’s mouth. It is the inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is also caused by tartar build-up, so periodontal disease and gingivitis often go hand in hand. Symptoms of gingivitis include swollen gums, bleeding gums, and sensitive chewing by your cat. Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mucous linings of the mouth and can look like gingivitis. Both of these ailments can lead to horrible breath. 


Is your cat's mouth hurting from periodontal disease or gingivitis? See this article for some suggestions about providing relief.



Of course, diet is also a major factor when it comes to your cat’s breath. Diets that are fish and liver heavy can cause bad breath. Also, cats are natural carnivores and just because they are domesticated doesn’t mean all they stop hunting. Some cats will catch and eat rodents or insects which may affect the breath. And, sometimes your pet may get foreign objects lodged in their teeth. Bacteria will build up and cause the object to smell horrible. Of course, this is an easy fix. Just remove the object. 


Coprophagia is when your cat enjoys eating its own feces. This is a horrible habit and there’s no surprise that it will cause some nasty breath. Your cat can be eating its own feces for a number of reasons, including vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, parasites, diabetes, and other diseases. Try to clean your cat’s little box frequently and keep their environment clean if you notice them eating their own feces. If the issue continues, contact your vet.  


Metabolic Ailments

In rare circumstances, your pet may be experiencing metabolic disease if bad breath is horrid and persistent. Kidney disease, diabetes, and liver disease can cause bad breath. If you don’t notice periodontal disease, gum disease, or an irregular diet but still cannot get rid of bad breath, see a vet. It may be a sign of something much worse. 


What is the Best Cat Bad Breath Home Remedy?

Bad breath is such a constant issue that home remedies are widespread. There are tons of products that are sold over the counter for cat bad breath. The Veterinary Oral Health Council has a list of approved products for cats that are updated constantly. Before owners use water additives or breath treats, see if they made the list. Many water additives are not safe for cats, and treats may be packed with sugar and preservatives. It’s best to get a product that you know will work and is healthy. 



Brush Teeth

Just like us, cats need to have their teeth cleaned. You can take them to a professional, or do it yourself. Many owners practice the do-it-yourself method. Try touching your cat’s teeth and gums, and opening its mouth for fun so it gets used to you touching that area. Then try to use a brush and paste, remember to be gentle and don’t force the issue. You don’t want to put fear in your cat while brushing its teeth.


It is best to use a toothbrush made for cats. Also, be sure to use vet-approved toothpaste and never use human products. Our toothpaste is meant to be spat out, while cats must swallow theirs. If you want you can award your cat with a treat after to show some positive reinforcement. 


Water Additive

Never use any water additive that is made for humans or dogs. Speak with your vet and make sure you are getting a product that is safe for cats. Water additives can break down bacteria and plaque on your cat’s teeth. Flavorless types work the best and can be added to your cat’s water dish. Follow the instructions on the product carefully. This can be an ongoing process, done to keep your cat’s breath fresh and teeth clean. 


Lemon Juice

This is a natural water additive practically everyone has at home. The acidity in lemon juice can help neutralize the foul smell of bad breath in cats. For this, you want to use fresh lemon juice with no added sugars. Just add a couple of drops to your cat’s water bowl. Now when you cat drinks it will help cure the breath.


Chew Toys

Although chew toys are more popular amongst dogs, they are good for cats too. Besides providing some healthy playtime, chew toys also help cats break down plaque on their teeth. They force a cat to chew and gnaw at it which helps keep teeth clean. This makes it harder for the build-up to accumulate and become tartar.


There are chew toys with additives for bad breath and regular ones as well. Either way, your cat should have a toy that it can gnaw on whenever it pleases. Stay away from toys that could cause a potential choke hazard. 


cat bad breath home remedy


Diet Change

Raw food is typically better for your pet’s health, but it may cause bad breath. Diets that are high in fish and liver can cause putrid breath. There are several healthy options for sale that offer bad breath remedies, which can be found at The Veterinary Oral Health Council page. 


Bad Breath Treats

Another cat bad breath home remedy is making use of bad breath treats. Most pet stores sell some type of bad breath treat. These little snacks can be high in sugar and preservatives, so make sure to check the ingredients. Organic products are always the best. Bad breath treats are meant to help alleviate the bad breath, and that only. If your cat has an underlying medical ailment causing the bad breath, the treats will only give you brief relief. 



For a cat with bad breath, parsley makes a great remedy because of its order eliminating properties. In fact, several bad breath cat treats use parsley as an ingredient for fighting foul breath. Try periodically adding a small spring of it to your cat’s food to help freshen its breath.


How to Prevent Bad Breath in Cats

Take your cat to the vet regularly. Your vet should be able to alert you about any upsetting looking ailments involving the mouth. 


The best way to prevent bad breath in cats is to brush their teeth periodically. It does not need to be done every day, but once or twice a week is perfect. Make sure to get both the front and back of the teeth. Finger glove application appears to be the easiest method for both owners and cats.  


Chew toys are also a great preventative measure for bad breath in cats. The constant chewing and gnawing will help stop bacteria from building up on the teeth. Many chew toys come with breath-freshening options as well, to make things easier for owners. Try to incorporate as many dental-friendly treats into their weekly routine as recommended. 



Final Thoughts on Preventing Bad Breath in Cats

Bad breath is gross. You just want to cuddle your furry little friend, but you are met with a putrid smell that ruins the mood. Bad breath can be more than just an annoyance, it could hint at a much more serious medical ailment.


If you have tried home remedies for cat bad breath and you still find yourself dealing with this issue, take your cat to the vet immediately. Bad breath can be caused by different diseases such as liver disease and diabetes.


By keeping up with your pet’s oral health, you can spare them pain and irritation in the future. Remember to add dental-friendly treats and toys to their routine, and try to keep up with brushing your cat’s teeth weekly. 

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Written by Joe Farber at

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