We’ve all been there: you sit down in your favorite chair and your cat hops up onto your lap for a little snooze with her favorite human. She takes a nice big yawn before settling in, and you happen to catch a whiff of…fish? What in the world just happened? Did she eat your goldfish right out of his bowl? After you check on your goldfish friend to make sure kitty didn’t eat him as a snack, you’re still left wondering why in the world your cat’s breath smells like fish.
Fishy Food, Fishy Breath?
Now, there are many reasons why your cat’s breath may smell fishy. Start out exploring why that is by eliminating some of the simpler causes first. Have you recently switched her food over to a salmon or tuna flavor instead of chicken or beef? What about her treats? It may be that her new seafood-flavored snacks are contributing to that slight fishy smell.
Other Causes of Bad Breath
Now, if the food or treats don’t seem to be the problem, it’s time to explore some other possibilities. Cornell Feline Health Center points out that your cat’s breath shouldn’t be really strong if she’s healthy. While there are an array of medical issues, such as kidney disease or diabetes, that contribute to bad breath in cats, the culprit generally is related to periodontal disease or even something stuck in your cat’s mouth.
Check Kitty’s Teeth and Gums
Before assuming your cat is suffering from a dental condition, you may want to check her teeth and gums first. It may be that she simply has something stuck in between her teeth that she can’t dislodge on her own. That could be the source of your cat’s bad breath.
Periodontal Disease and Teeth
If you’ve checked her teeth and don’t see any food particles, you may want to consider her overall dental health. The reason periodontal disease causes bad breath usually has to do with how much tartar or plaque is built up on your cat’s teeth. If you’ve brushed her teeth, or had your vet take care of her dental health needs, then your cat likely won’t have such bad breath. However, if her teeth have been allowed to develop tartar and plaque, that may have led to gingivitis. Poor dental health isn’t good for kitty, so the bad breath may be a clue that she needs some expert help.
Check with Your Vet
Be sure to take your kitty in for a checkup if you suspect that her dental health might be to blame or if you’re just not sure why her breath has been smelling like fish. It’s always best to have your vet on speed dial to check out any concerns and rule out underlying medical conditions.
Preventing Bad Breath
If kitty’s vet visit goes well and she gets a clean bill of health, consider ways to prevent bad breath or at least minimize it. You can brush her teeth with specially made dental tools for cats or you can take kitty to a professional who can help keep her chompers in tip-top shape. Just like humans, cats really should receive regular dental care and cleaning. Give your cat a helping paw and invest in some veterinary-grade dental wipes expertly designed for cats.