Why Does My Cats Breath Smell Like Fish

Why Does My Cat’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

We all know cats have unique smells, but when their breath starts to smell like fish, it can be quite concerning. There can be several reasons why your cat’s breath might have this fishy odor, ranging from simple issues to underlying health problems.

1. Poor Dental Hygiene: One of the most common reasons for fishy breath in cats is poor dental hygiene. Tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay can all contribute to a foul smell in your cat’s mouth.

2. Diet: Certain types of cat food can also cause fishy breath. Some brands use fish as a primary ingredient, and the lingering scent can affect your cat’s breath. Additionally, if your cat has been eating fish-based treats or raw fish, it can contribute to the smell.

3. Kidney Disease: A more serious cause of fishy breath is kidney disease. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, waste products can build up in the bloodstream, leading to a distinctive odor in the breath.

4. Diabetes: Cats with uncontrolled diabetes may have a sweet or fishy odor to their breath. This is due to the body’s inability to properly process glucose, resulting in a byproduct called ketones, which can produce an unpleasant smell.

5. Respiratory Infections: Respiratory infections, such as sinusitis or gingivitis, can cause a fishy smell in your cat’s breath. These infections may be accompanied by other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, or nasal discharge.

6. Gastrointestinal Issues: Certain gastrointestinal problems, such as gastric reflux or intestinal obstructions, can lead to smelly breath in cats. These issues can cause regurgitation or vomit, which can leave a foul odor in the mouth.

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7. Liver Problems: Liver disease or dysfunction can also cause an unusual odor in your cat’s breath. When the liver is not functioning properly, toxins build up in the body, leading to a distinctive smell.


1. How can I improve my cat’s dental hygiene?
Regular brushing of your cat’s teeth using a specially designed toothbrush and toothpaste for cats can help improve dental hygiene. Additionally, offering dental treats or toys can aid in reducing tartar buildup.

2. Should I change my cat’s diet to eliminate the fishy breath?
If you suspect the fishy breath is due to the cat’s diet, consider switching to a different brand or flavor of cat food. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best options for your cat’s specific needs.

3. Is fish-based cat food bad for cats?
Fish-based cat food can be a healthy option for cats, but it should not be the only source of nutrition. A balanced diet should include a variety of proteins to ensure your cat receives all the necessary nutrients.

4. How can I prevent kidney disease in my cat?
Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and providing plenty of fresh water can help prevent kidney disease in cats. Early detection through routine blood tests is also crucial.

5. Can I treat my cat’s fishy breath at home?
While some causes of fishy breath can be managed at home, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

6. What are the signs of liver disease in cats?
Signs of liver disease in cats may include weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), decreased appetite, vomiting, and changes in behavior or litter box habits.

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7. Can fishy breath be a sign of a serious health issue?
Yes, fishy breath can be a symptom of underlying health problems such as kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes. If you notice persistent fishy breath, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.