Skip to main content

My cat smells bad

Cat at a veterinarian's surgery. Photo by McBeth

If you say, "My cat smells bad", it is certainly not the cat's fault. If a human smells bad it is probably because the person is not clean and therefore the person's fault. Cats instinctively keep clean through very regular grooming.

A cat that smells bad is 99% certain to be ill. The illness may be a viral infection that has become a secondary infection (bacterial infection). It may be bad breath caused by gum disease. Or for the Bengal cat there is a condition called Bengal cat smelly poo! Yes, their poop can be smelly which can make the cat smell a bit.

Bengal cat can have smelly poo! Photo: Helmi Flick



There are a number of possibilities and only a qualified person (a veterinarian at first call) is able to diagnose the reason.

All the cats I have known and all the cats I have loved and lived with have smelled lovely. Cats groom themselves frequently using their saliva and versatile tongue. As a result they are clean, unlike some (few) humans. If a cat cannot groom her/him self it will be due to illness (if there is no grooming) or overweight (if there is partial grooming). If she is grooming most of her body that she can get to but not those parts she cannot get to because of her size she will still smell nice.

There are other possibilities if you think "my cat smells bad". Smell is subjective. A person may not like the smell of a cat. This is unlikely because it is a nice neutral type of smell but definitely pleasant.

Another possibility is that she is giving off pheromones (a scent from her glands) if she is on heat (in an estrus cycle - see cat heat behavior or cat pregnancy). This smell is designed to attract a male for mating. The smell is musk-like. Your cat should be spayed (altered) if she is not a breeding cat as there are too many domestic cats in the world and very many millions in the USA are euthanized by shelters every year because of lack of space to house them or find suitable homes. Although I would be surprised if she smelled "bad" (the smell is not actually bad) for this reason as most responsible people ensure their cat is neutered/spayed. Breeders nearly always neuter/spay before selling a cat.

I am not a vet but I would favor the likelihood of bad breath as being the most obvious reason for a cat smelling bad. The most common causes of bad breath are:

---kidney disease can lead to mouth ulcers, which in turn lead to infections and bad breath

---diabetes

---tooth disease and gum disease (Gingivitis, periodontal disease, stomatitis - quite common)

This is a must do if you are thinking, "my cat smells bad" - see a veterinarian as soon as possible. This is not normal and is almost certainly due to ill health.




Sources:
  • http://www.cathealth.com (for bad breath)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Well, it is not ALWAYS a matter of disease. My bengal tom (not neutered yet) has a strong smell around his 'behind'. A littlebit like wild cats in a zoo. I actually got used to the smell, so it is not that bad, but it is completely different from other cat's who almost don't have any smell at all. BUt just to give you one more possible reason.

Good luck!
Your blog provided us with valuable information. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging. westtoledoanimalhospital.com is one of the best animal hospital in Toledo, Ohio to give treatment to your pets.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Here I had read the content you had posted. It is very interesting so please keep updating like this. In Fact, it will be useful for beginners to develop their knowledge along with. Veterinary Clinic Vancouver
ABCPUPPY said…
Clearly, is the actual advisory article, all advice is familiar real. Thank you for this administration with us. I started to be interested and advised it. I love your content about cat. Shih Tzu puppies in San Antonio Texas

Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti