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Why do cats have fishy-smelling breath?

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  
The- Magnificent- Seven

We all found- homes!
 
 
Purred: Sun Apr 19, '09 6:16pm PST 
Why do cats have fishy-smelling breath? Including my childhood cat, I've had around 20 cats so far in my life, and all of them have had breath that smells like fish--not rank, but fishy. My former brother and sister duo had exceptionally good dental health--they kept all their teeth until they died at an advanced age, and yet they had fishy breath. The only one of my cats who's had gum problems is Harvey, but after having his gums trimmed, there is hardly any red left (two years later), and so I don't think gum disease has anything to do with it, either. My cats only eat fishy wet food as an occasional treat. Right now, they are on a dry plus wet diet. Except for Harvey, who is prone to loose stools, none of my cats has any digestive problems, nor do they have worms. (They are indoor cats, and are dewormed regularly.) I find it hard to believe that it's only my cats that have fishy breath; every cat I've ever met seems to have had fishy breath, when I had occasion to smell it. It's not a health issue here, just something that piques my curiosity. I'm sure that there will be some Catsters who will tell me that if I feed my cat this or that, they will have no mouth odor, but I'm more interested in learning who else has a cat or cats with fishy breath, and why you think this seems to be a cat characteristic.
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Jerome(2004-- 2010)

A lap is a- terrible thing- to waste
 
 
Purred: Sun Apr 19, '09 8:03pm PST 
Well, we kitties have all fishy breath because we carry lots of bacteria in our mouths. More than humans, besides even if we get dental cleanings regularly and brush daily there'll be an odour b/c of the bacteria. A warm fishy smell is normal. What isn't normal is when the smell is strong and rather sewer like, it means infection and other things. Sure, what you eat plays a role and so does illness but basically a cat's mouth always smells fishy.
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Miss Tiny- Burr Burr

Love and adore.
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 20, '09 7:01am PST 
think of how nasty our breathe would smell if we didnt brush our teeths!

tiny has nasty breathe. i call it 'stinky teenie breath'
her teeth and gums are in top forum (just got a vet checkup and he said so dancing) so idk
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Cookie

King of Mummy's- Lap
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 20, '09 4:27pm PST 
deoends what u feed them i guess.. my kitty had very sweet breath very soap like.. i used to give him boiled chicken and broth.. sometimes dry food chicken and rice
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Wicked

Im The Most- Important!!!
 
 
Purred: Tue Apr 21, '09 9:57am PST 
It depends on what you feed them and what the quality is.


Atleast thats been my experience.
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Harvey

Has been COTD!
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 22, '09 6:27am PST 
I currently have seven cats and they all eat the same things but some have fishier breath than others. None of them have tooth/gum problems except Harvey, and his gum problem is under control.
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Jerome(2004-- 2010)

A lap is a- terrible thing- to waste
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 22, '09 9:59am PST 
Forgot add that kittens breath doesn't smell fishy. Because they've much less bacteria but past 6 months or so is when you notice 'kitty breath'. If the kitten has worms or other problem his breath will be bad.
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The- Magnificent- Seven

We all found- homes!
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 22, '09 9:51pm PST 
Well, Hilles' breath smells fishy, and she's still a kitten. And there's next to no chance that the kittens have worms, as ALL the cats in the household were dewormed before Leila got pregnant.
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