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Does Your Cat Smell Bad? It Could Be a Health Issue

smelly cat blogCats are known for being fastidious about their grooming routines, so it may take you by surprise if your feline companion starts to smell a little less than fresh and clean. If you notice a bad smell coming from your cat, the first step is to take note of where the smell is coming from, and the second step is to contact a veterinarian. Depending on the part of the body, a funky stench can be the result of the following health problems:

Mouth: The most common cause of a foul odor coming from the mouth is dental disease. It’s estimated that 70% of adult cats suffer from some degree of periodontal disease, due to lack of brushing and veterinary teeth cleanings. But, other health problems can cause mouth odors too. The early stages of kidney disease can trigger bad breath, so can liver disease, digestive issues, and oral cancer.

Ears: If there’s an unpleasant or yeasty smell coming from your cat’s ear, there’s a good chance an ear infection is to blame, especially if there’s unusual discharge. There are several causes for feline ear infections including ear mites, allergies, skin conditions like seborrhea, and foreign bodies. Infections are typically treated with medication and cleaning.

The rear end: If a less-than-pleasant smell is coming from your cat’s hind quarters, check for matted feces in the fur. Overweight or arthritic cats can have difficulty grooming themselves, so treating these underlying conditions can help combat the problem. Cats experiencing diarrhea are also more likely to have matted fur around their rear end. Diarrhea can be the result of several health issues including inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and intestinal parasites. Although considerably more rare in cats than in dogs, infected anal glands are also a possibility if your cat is producing a foul odor.

Bite wounds anywhere on the body: You might not even notice a bite wound on your cat until it starts to smell. Puncture wounds are often small, but are full of bacteria and can result in painful abscesses full of puss. The most common spots for bite wounds are around the base of the tail, the legs, the face, and the neck. These types of wounds need to be addressed by a veterinarian right away to stop infection and relieve pain. In addition to a foul odor, symptoms of a bite wound include lethargy, loss of appetite, and flinching when the affected area is touched.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Midge D November 18, 2015, 10:33 pm

    Although no one’s “poop” smells like roses, including our animals’, there’s usually a “standard” or “common” odor our animals feces emits, usually due to the diet we feed them and their general health. That’s why its a signal that something might not be quite right when those “usual” smells turn into really foul smelling feces. It might be as simple as your kitty/dog having eaten a mouse or stinky bug. But keep close account of how long the foul odor feces continues. More than 2 days should be of concern enough to call the vet. Changes in food can also effect fecal odor and most vets will suggest NOT switching foods unless medically necessary. Also, especially with cats, urine odor might have an unusually “heavy” or strong odor that isn’t the usual smell you’re used to. That, too, might be something to speak to your vet about. And I’ve found that dogs’ ears get especially stinky with infection. So don’t underestimate our own (human) “sniffers” when it comes to helping out our fur kids.

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