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My Cat Smells Bad: What to do About Cat Body Odor

My Cat Smells Bad: What to do About Cat Body Odor

If your cat is making you think of the Smelly Cat song from Friends, don’t get upset with him, it really isn’t his fault. Cats are very fastidious by nature, so if your cats smell bad or have bad breath, foul odor, or body odor issues, there’s an underlying reason, because cats really do like being clean.

Here are the most common causes of bad odor in cats and what you can do about them.

Tooth And Gum Problems

A gray cat with is mouth wide open

Tooth and gum issues can cause foul feline smells. Bad breath can be an indicator of tooth and gum problems. It can actually lead to overall body odor because if a cat's mouth has an infection and licks herself, the bacteria will spread to the fur wherever she licks.

Get your stinky cat accustomed to home tooth brushing, if you’re not brushing her teeth already since dental disease is the most common cause of foul breath in our kitty companions. A visit to the vet for a dental may be required, especially if tartar buildup has led to gum disease.

Check the teeth of all the cats in a multi-cat household. One cat with mouth issues can spread the bacteria to other cats’ fur through grooming.

Dirty Rear End

A photo of a cat with its tail up

A cat with diarrhea or soft, loose poop can soil the fur around the rear end and back legs. This is especially common in longhaired cats, with so called “britches” or “bloomers” of long fur on the hind leg area.

Check with your vet to see if you need to make a change in your cat’s diet or if your cat has an underlying health problem that’s causing loose stools. If your cat just has naturally soft poop, longhaired cats can benefit from a “sanitary cut.”

Trim the fur around the rear end and on the back of the hind legs to about 1/8 of an inch in length. You can use a small electric pet hair trimmer, which is easier and safer than scissors.

Make it a habit to clean the litter box as soon as it's soiled too. A clean litter box ensures your cat won't accidentally step on earlier urine or feces and guarantees that their paws would stay clean too.

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A photo of an obese cat

Overweight cats can have body odor because a fat cat does not have the flexibility to bend and twist enough to groom all areas of the body, especially the private parts.

Your overweight cat may need a change in diet and increased play and exercise to lose weight. Arthritis in older cats can also limit mobility for grooming. Bathing cats is not always fun, but baths may be necessary when a cat cannot properly groom himself.

Check out the book The Natural Cat for detailed cat bathing advice. Talk to a groomer who is experienced with cats if you are uncomfortable trying it yourself at home.


Anal Gland Problems

A cat lying on a pavement

Cats have two anal sacs that contain sweat glands which produce a not so sweet smelling liquid. They mark their territory by spraying this fluid. The sacs can become infected with bacteria and also become impacted so that the fluid can’t come out.

In severe cases, an abscess filled with pus forms and then eventually ruptures. Your vet can express the fluid out of impacted and infected sacs. Infected sacs also require treatment with antibiotics.

Abscesses and ruptures may need surgical treatment and pain medication. Talk to your vet about weight loss and increased fiber in the diet. Anal sacs can also be removed if necessary.


Kidney Disease

A cat leaning against a wall

Kidney and urinary problems can cause bad odor in cats. Cats can experience urinary incontinence which leads to urine leakage on the fur. Older and overweight cats, as well as some large breeds, can be more prone to incontinence.

Cats with serious kidney problems like renal failure will have excess urea in the body which can cause uremic breath odor (cat's breath that smells like ammonia).

Cats unable to urinate should be taken to the vet immediately, as urinary blockages cause toxins to build up in the body and can be fatal if left untreated.

Skin Infections

Skin infections are frequently the consequence of underlying health issues such as wounds, allergies, parasites, cancer, immunological disorders, or anything else that disturbs the skin's normal defensive systems.

Keep an eye out for an abscess if your cat has recently fought another cat. These illnesses occur within 24 hours when germs contained in cat saliva enter the bitten cat's body and develop into infections.

A cat's odor could be caused by an infection so get your cat checked by the vet if you notice an infection on your cat's skin to prevent the situation from getting worse.

Want to know how to tell if your cat loves you? Check out our article about it here and browse through our huge cat merch and apparel collection.

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Donaldket - February 9, 2016

kidney diseases

Donaldket - January 27, 2016


Found this site and just seeing what is all about!

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