In medical terms, bad breath is "halitosis" and it is a common problem reported by pet owners to their veterinarians. Some sort of dental problem is the most common cause of bad breath in cats as bacteria, saliva, and food particles can form plaque which causes bad breath. If left untreated, the build-up of plaque can develop into gingivitis, or worse, periodontal disease which will cause the cat's breath to be even more unpleasant.
In addition to dental issues in a cat, there are a few other causes of bad breath which include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Kidney disease
- Gastrointestinal disease (including cancers, obstructions, and certain infections)
- Infections of the areas around the mouth, such as the folds of the lips
- Respiratory disease (some types of sinus infections)
- Other oral disease such as tonsillitis, trauma, and some autoimmune diseases
As with any medical issue with your pet, if you notice that your cat has bad breath you should contact your veterinarian for an exam as some causes of bad breath can cause severe and even fatal complications if left untreated.