Cats are known to groom obsessively, but sometimes even felines start to smell. Here’s how to determine when an odor is a sign of a problem.
Why does my cat smell bad?
Cats are famous for being fastidious groomers, so it can come as a surprise when your pet starts to stink. Although some odors are easy to fix, others can indicate a serious health problem. To determine the cause behind your Kitty’s bad smell, start by identifying the location of the odor.
The best way to get to the bottom of why your cat stinks is to determine the source of the odor. Start by identifying whether the smell is coming from his face, rear, a particular part of his coat, or all over. Once you’ve narrowed down the site of Kitty’s offensive smell, you can begin diagnosing the problem. If his mouth stinks, for example, your cat may be experiencing dental disease. This is the most common cause of bad breath in cats and is due to buildup of bacteria in his mouth. Left untreated, plaque and tartar can cause gum disease and painful tooth infections, so if your pet is experiencing persistent stinky breath, take him to the veterinarian for an oral exam. Other mouth-related odors can result from ulcers or wounds. Again, these can be painful for your pet, so take him to the vet to diagnose and treat the problem, as most cats will not let their owners have a look inside their mouths.
Other sources of bad smells around your cat’s face include his ears, which are subject to infections caused by yeast, bacteria or mites. If you notice an offensive odor coming from your pet’s ears or he is scratching at them and shaking his head, this can be a sign of an ear infection. Look inside his ears for debris, and take him to the vet as soon as possible to determine whether he is suffering from a painful ear infection and to treat the problem.
Cats can also experience stinky coats. If he appears dirty, a bath may be the only treatment needed, but if your pet appears relatively clean, he could be suffering from a skin condition. Skin infections are caused by bacterial or fungal overgrowth and can lead to a bad smell across a cat’s entire body. Other symptoms include a thinning coat; inflamed or red skin; or a greasy or smelly coating on his fur. If, however, your pet’s skin stinks only in a certain spot, it is likely due to an infected wound. Cats’ thick coats can easily hide cuts and scrapes, which can ooze a smelly discharge when they become infected. Run your fingers through your pet’s fur to help find a wound and take your cat to the vet immediately if you do find one.
The base of cats’ tails is an unsurprising source of stinky smells, but some can require veterinary care. Though gas is nothing to worry about, persistently, overly smelly flatulence can be a symptom of a gastrointestinal problem. Likewise, if your pet experiences diarrhea or constipation for more than two days, he needs immediate veterinary care. Finally, some cats stink due to inflamed, infected or impacted anal glands. If your cat is “scooting” across the floor or grooming the base of his tale excessively, take him to the vet to diagnose and treat the problem.