My cat has bad breath – What can I do?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a female cat her age is not know she was a stray but she is an adult cat. I have noticed that she has really bad breath so bad it turns my stomach. She is constantly trying to do something that appears to be tasting or swallowing and her saliva seems to be really thick or she has cotton mouth, it is really annoying me cause she wants to get in my face and love on me and I can’t stand how she smells.

Help I don’t know what to do should I change her food or brush her teeth?

Faedra Stauffer


Hi – thanks for your email. Bad breath, or “halitosis”, is caused by a variety of problems including bad teeth, gum infections or mouth infections. You can try brushing your cat’s teeth but if there is a lot of tartar or bad teeth, brushing is probably not going to help. I’d recommend taking her to your vet to evaluate the underlying problem causing the bad breath.

It may be that she needs her teeth cleaned or teeth pulled. It is hard to tell without examining the mouth.

An article that might be helpful to you is Halitosis (Bad Breath) in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra