Cats are usually fastidiously clean pets who should not smell unpleasant, although young kittens can sometimes get into somewhat stinky situations. While dirty kittens can smell a little unpleasant, if your little one smells particularly bad, it could mean she's suffering from a medical issue that needs veterinary care.
Kittens can become soiled with food, especially during the time when they are being weaned from formula onto solid foods. These little guys literally get into their food when first given canned or dry kitten food mixed with formula. You'll find your kitten walking through her dish as she discovers the food is edible. If you don't wash your little one off after her eating escapades, she'll certainly develop an unpleasant odor from the caked on food. Young kitties aren't as adept at cleaning themselves as their adult counterparts, so you'll find they need a bit of help in keeping themselves clean. A quick wipe with a damp paper towel can eliminate any odors from developing on your furbaby.
Little kittens have sensitive tummies and may develop diarrhea while adjusting to solid foods. Your little kitten may also be suffering from intestinal parasites, like worms, giardia or coccidia, all of which cause diarrhea, according to Cat Channel. If you don't clean her little bottom often during her bout with loose stools, she will develop an unpleasant odor, especially because she may also walk in her stool when she uses the litter box. To treat any diarrhea in your kitten, see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment -- loose stools can quickly cause dehydration in your little one without veterinary care.
Infections and Parasites
Ear mites are a common parasite in kittens, which infest your little one's ears, causing itching and odors. If you notice a foul smell coming from her ears, mites may be to blame. Bacterial and fungal infections, like ringworm, can also affect your furry buddy's skin and ears, sometimes occurring as a secondary condition to an infestation with external parasites like fleas or mites. These infections cause your little one's skin to smell unpleasant. See your veterinarian with your kitten to treat any possible infections or to rid your little kitty of any parasites. He'll prescribe medications to treat any skin problems, resolving your kitten's odorous issues.
Anal Glands and Spraying
A kitty's anal glands are filled with a stinky fluid that your little one usually expresses when she uses the litter box, but also when she's startled, according to the Manhattan Cat Specialists. This smelly discharge can sometimes wind up on her fur, making her smell a bit foul. Having her glands emptied regularly by your vet can help curb such odors.
A sexually mature kitten, usually around 6 months old or more, may begin spraying odorous urine around your home if she isn't spayed or neutered. This can cause quite a stinky problem to deal with in your home. Fortunately, having her fixed usually solves this issue in most cases.
Sometimes a kitten can develop stinky breath when she's teething due to the bacteria in her mouth, according to Vetstreet. This is usually normal, but your vet can take a look to make sure that everything looks OK and there are no infections present.
Until she's weaned, around 3 months old, your kitten may need some help with her hygiene. Bathe her using a gentle cat shampoo weekly to keep her fur clean of formula, food, urine or feces. Make bath time fun and give her some yummy treats afterward to positively reinforce the experience. Pet wipes, available in pet stores also work well to avoid getting your little one wet.
- Manhattan Cat Specialists: Foul-Smelling Felines
- PetPlace: Why Does My Cat Have Really Strong Urine Odor?
- PetPlace: Anal Glands in Cats
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Bathing Your Cat
- WebMD: Ear Mites in Cats
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Tackling Ringworm in Cats
- WebMD: Coccidiosis in Kittens and Cats
- Cat Channel: What Causes Kitten Diarrhea?
- Vetstreet: My Pet Has Bad Breath. What's Happening to Cause It?
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.