Speaking for the furry ones on this earth...

Why Does My Cat Stink?

Learn the common odors cats might develop.

Do you have a kitty that has a foul odor and you can't tell exactly where it's coming from? Here are the most likely culprits.

The Rear End

Cats can become stinky when something isn't right with their rear ends. This can include:

  • Anal gland problems or normal anal gland excretions.
  • Moist skin folds that become infected.
  • Diarrhea that gets caught in the fur of the tail.

Many of these conditions will result in your cat licking or trying to lick at the rear end a lot. If you're noticing a foul odor, try to get a look under the tail to see if something obvious lurks there. You might notice swelling, oozing, redness, diarrhea, or irritation of the skin around the rectum.

The Mouth

The mouth is a big source of foul odors. These can include:

  • Gum disease with infection, such as gingivitis or stomatitis.
  • Sores on the mucous membranes, such as ulcers.
  • Oral cancer, which is quite prone to becoming infected.
  • Systemic illness that causes foul breath, such as the uremia that can occur during kidney failure.

If you're noticing that your cat's breath is bad or that he is rubbing her mouth often with a paw or along furniture or carpet, there might be a mouth problem. You may or may not be able to get a look in the mouth, but if you do, you're looking for red gums, significant brown or white coating on the teeth, unusual masses anywhere in the mouth, and excessive saliva.

Additionally, a cat with foul odor in the mouth spreads that all around the fur while grooming, so it can quickly become an all-over scent that is harder to track down.

The Skin or Fur

If a cat rolls in something yucky, especially the case for outdoor cats, they can come inside stinky. They will also smell bad if they get sprayed by a skunk.

Additionally, skin problems that result in infection cause a bad odor. If the skin is moist, oozing, has raised red bumps, or there are patches of hair loss, this might be the problem.

The Ears

Ear infections can cause a bad odor. While this is more common in dogs than cats, it can still occur and should be on the list of things you check if your cat suddenly smells bad.

If the ears look red, have brown, red, or black discharge, appear read inside, or the cat is scratching or rubbing at them, they might be the source of the bad odor.

The Urine

This is mainly the case with intact male cats (those that have not been neutered). The urine of a male cat is extremely pungent, and not only can that smell be strong around the litter box, but it can also be on the kitty because he may walk through his litter, use his paws to bury the urine, or get some on his fur.

Additionally, sometimes a cat with a urinary tract infection might have foul-smelling urine, but this is rarer.

What to Do If Your Cat Stinks

If you can narrow down the cause of the odor, it might only require a bath in cat shampoo. However, if you can't find the source of the foul smell or it's something that looks like a problem, such as diarrhea, an ear infection, or a skin wound, get to the vet for treatment right away.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatScratching.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.