Bad Breath and Weight Loss in Cats

OK, who's the joker who left the mouthwash near my food dish?
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Kitty's losing weight and his breath stinks. You know something's wrong with him, but what is it? Take him to the vet as soon as possible for an examination, testing and diagnosis. The sooner you know the disease behind the symptoms, the faster proper treatment starts for your cat.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs fairly often in older cats. Besides weight loss and halitosis, the scientific name for bad breath, symptoms include increased thirst and urination. If Kitty's constantly at the water bowl and flooding his litter box, it's a good bet something's up with his kidneys. Check his mouth and look for sores or ulcers. If Kitty's breath smells like pee, that's another clue that kidney disease is the culprit. Chronic kidney disease develops and progresses over time. Acute kidney disease comes on suddenly, often due to toxin exposure or trauma to the organs.

Dental Disease

If Kitty's gums or teeth are infected, his breath stinks and he doesn't want to eat because of pain. If he's drooling or his gums are swollen and red, that's another sign something's amiss in his mouth. He might paw at his mouth or otherwise act as if something's hurting him there. If you can, look inside his mouth for swelling, pus or a broken tooth. He could also suffer from stomatitis, an inflammation of his mouth's mucous lining. The vet can extract problem teeth and give Kitty antibiotics for mouth infections.


Does Kitty's bad breath have a sweet odor? That's a sign of feline diabetes mellitus, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. As with kidney disease, constant drinking and urination are also symptoms of this condition. He might also throw up a lot. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas can't produce enough insulin for his body or stops producing it altogether. Depending on the type of diabetes Kitty has, he might require once or twice-daily insulin shots or his diabetes might be controlled with oral medication.

Liver Disease

If the whites of Kitty's eyes or his mucous membranes appear yellow, his weight loss and halitosis could be due to liver disease. He'll have some other significant symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting and depression. Kitty might even experience seizures. Liver disease stems from various causes, many of which respond to treatment. Get Kitty to the vet and on the road to treatment and possible recovery as soon as possible.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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