Why Does My Cat Stink? Should I Be Worried?

Why Does My Cat Stink? Should I Be Worried?

Author WCF Staff


Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you... Cleanliness is typically closely connected to cats. To keep themselves clean and odor-free, the majority of our feline friends are meticulous self-groomers. However, you may notice that your cat has an unpleasant odor from time to time. It is possible that some cat scents, while harmless or easily remedied, signal a hidden health problem.

Why do cats stink?

Finding out what's causing your cat's bad odor is the first step in solving the mystery. Your cat's head or face may be the source of the odor. It can come from the other side of your cat, as well. Is there a distinct smell coming from anywhere in the coat, or does it appear all over your cat? The first step in dealing with a stinky cat is to ask yourself these questions. You'll know how to help your cat if you know where the odor is coming from.

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What causes bad odor in cats?

Cats may have foul odors for a variety of reasons. It is possible to identify the cause of the stench if you know where it is coming from. It's likely that your cat may need to see a vet, especially if you can't figure out what's causing the stink. Here are a few areas you should focus on.

The rear

Anus problems can be detected by a bad odor emanating from the base of the tail. If you see any of the following symptoms in your pet, call your vet:

Cats can be gassy, and flatulence is expected. If your cat frequently passes gas or the gas has a terrible odor, it may point to a digestive issue.

cat face from side

Diarrhea can leave behind a trail of loose stools in the rectum area. If diarrhea persists, the cat may find it difficult to maintain its grooming routine. You should take your cat to the vet if they've had diarrhea for more than two days.

Constipation can cause your cat to strain, which causes the stool to build up in the colon. Even if hard, impacted feces cannot pass, the liquids can. This can get on your cat's rear end and has a particularly nasty odor when it does. This is a distressing scenario for the cat, and it may be a sign of a more serious health problem.

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Anal glands are another possible reason for your kittie's bad odor. These little pouches sit directly outside the anus of a cat, usually get expressed by defecation. These glands produce a fishy-smelling oily fluid. Acute anxiety, tension, or excitement may cause the fluid to be secreted (similar to a skunk's scent glands). The anal glands can become swollen, diseased, or blocked. As a result, a cat may have an extremely unpleasant odor that won't go away even if you wash them every day. Anus-licking and scooting are common behaviors in cats with anal gland issues.

Even though perianal fistulas are rare in cats, they can still get them. Perianal fistulas are wounds that have a tunnel-like form. Fistulas are incredibly unpleasant to have, and they can leave a trail of a terrible smell. They generally necessitate surgery since they can progress to or accompany other gastrointestinal issues.

lazy persian cat


Some people believe that cats naturally have an unpleasant breath, medically known as halitosis. A cat's poor breath is frequently a sign of a more serious health issue. Something the cat ate could be the cause of the temporary horrible bad breath.

The most common reason for foul breath in cats is dental problems. Due to the microorganisms present in plaque and tartar, the odor can become incredibly unpleasant. Gum disease and tooth loss can result from the accumulation of plaque and tartar.

If left untreated, tartar buildup, growths, oral ulcers, and wounds can result in an unpleasant odor. This is made worse by the presence of bacteria in the cat's mouth. Stomatitis or some other condition could be to blame for these lesions. These are not only unpleasant to the nose, but they can also be painful for our cats. Severe renal illness or uncontrolled diabetes can also cause bad breath.

Coat and skin

You may deal with an issue with your cat's skin and coat if the odor seems to come from all over the body. If your cat is very filthy, consider giving them a bath. A clean-cut feline whose skin and coat smell bad may have underlying issues you're unaware of. If your cat has a skin condition, consult a veterinarian right away.

Skin diseases can cause a cat's entire body to smell awful. The cat's skin and coat may be noticeably inflamed and thin if the illness is serious. After petting a cat with a severe skin ailment, you may notice a greasy and unpleasant coating covering your hands. In most cases, fungal or bacterial overgrowth is to blame.

smelly stray cat

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Infected skin wounds can remain undetected beneath the hair for long periods. As a result, the wound may leak foul-smelling pus. If you can't figure out what's causing your cat's body to smell awful, try running your fingers through your cat's coat and look for wounds. See your veterinarian if you locate one.


An excess of bacteria, yeast, or ear mites can cause ear problems. The bad odor of your cat's ears can be accompanied by scratching and head-shaking. The presence of debris or discharge in the ear canal can indicate an ear infection. If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment.

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Urinary system

The ammonia-like smell of cat pee might get even stronger if the cat's urinary system is ill. Urine that has been infected with bacteria from the urinary tract can have an extremely foul odor. Because of their inability to control their urination, cats suffering from incontinence may emit the stench of pee or urine. Your cat needs to be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible if it reeks of pee.

When to call the vet?

Be aware that cats are masters of disguise. Your cat's issue might be pretty advanced by the time your cat starts exhibiting any symptoms. If you notice a strange odor that won't disappear, don't hesitate to call your veterinarian.

World Cat Finder Team

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