My Cat Has Bad Breath and Stinky Poop

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses possible causes for foul-smelling breath and feces.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: March 12, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: My cat, Charlie, a Maine Coon, has really bad breath. Also, his feces smell more than usual. He is just over a year old and is current on all his vaccinations. Can you tell me what might be the problem? Every time he uses the litterbox he almost runs us out of the house!  The smell is horrible. Please help me.

A: Halitosis (bad breath) is often a sign of oral or dental disease in cats. Charlie, being just over a year old, is not very likely to have periodontal disease of such a degree that it would cause noticeable bad breath. Still, I’ve certainly seen cases of severe gingivitis and periodontal disease in young cats, so this should be checked by your veterinarian. 

As for Charlie’s feces, the foul smell is probably due to his diet. Is he still eating kitten food? Kitten food is high in protein, and high-protein food often causes very stinky feces. (My cat Crispy is on a high-protein food because of her diabetes, and her stool is deadly.) If he’s on kitten food, switch to an adult-maintenance food. That should solve the problem. You may need to try a few different brands before you find one that results in less stinky poop.

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Reader Comments

Donna    Dallas, TX

12/5/2014 4:30:05 PM

My cat also has the bad breath and wretched smelling feces. I really think it may be the high protein food. I am feeding Taste of the Wild. Can some one recommend a low or lower protein food that might eliminate this problem.

Katherine    Towson, MD

9/7/2011 4:14:45 PM

I'm having a similar smelly-poo problem. I recently rescued Merlin from ARF. I'm using double duty arm and hammer litter, and feeding him friskies indoor formula - wet and dry. Its awful, any ideas what to do?

Madison    Erie, PA

2/9/2011 4:49:45 PM

This was very informative and helpful. Now i know about some solutions to prevent my cats from having this problem.

Karin    Loveland, CO

4/28/2010 6:25:53 PM

My newly adopted cat has very stinky and loose poop. My vet has cleared her medically, and I have her on a high quality adult food. Help?

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