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Discover All About the Body Odor of Cats

3 minutes
If your cat smells, you need to take it to a veterinarian for a checkup to discover what’s wrong with it. This is because cats groom themselves and they shouldn’t smell. In this article, learn all about the body odor of cats.
Discover All About the Body Odor of Cats
Last update: 21 December, 2022

Cats spend a lot of time licking their fur, which is why they don’t usually smell bad. However, on certain occasions, the body odor of cats can be really bad. Why does this happen?

Why can cats have a bad body odor?

As you can see, the body odor of cats is usually imperceptible to humans. Sometimes, cats give off a pleasant scent of hay. This is because they have salivary glands that give off a certain smell.

Feline hygiene fulfills a cleaning and survival function. By licking itself after eating, a cat eliminates any trace of its odor that could attract predators to it.

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For these reasons, a bad body odor in cats should alert the owner to a possible health problem in the feline. In all cases, you should take your cat to the vet. After a thorough checkup, the veterinarian will determine the specific cause and treatment they should follow.

The causes of a bad body odor in cats


Ear infections, in addition to causing pain, have a foul odor. This condition makes a cat uncomfortable, leading it to constantly scratch its ears, which will be full of earwax.

If a cat’s body odor is coming from its mouth, it may be due to a tooth or palate infection, an oral abscess, or a more serious digestive problem. When a cat licks itself, it spreads the bad odor to the rest of its body.


An improper diet can make a cat smell bad. This happens when they’re fed milk and cat food rich in grains.

A cat’s stomach can’t digest some foods properly, leading to bloating and flatulence. Certain food intolerances or intestinal parasites can also cause indigestion and body odor in cats.

Sexual maturity

Cats that reach sexual maturity give off a strong smell of urine. The only effective solution to avoid this is neutering. This will also prevent your cat from marking its territory with urine throughout the house.


Cats have glands under their tails that secrete a substance with a characteristic odor. When these glands are healthy, they don’t give off an unpleasant odor. However, when they become clogged and filled, they do give off an unpleasant odor that spreads throughout their coat.

Bacteria and fungi

Fleas, ticks, and mites cause bacterial infections that affect the skin of cats. Yeast infection not only causes bad odors. In fact, it also causes patches of bare skin, peeling, itching, and pain.

How to eliminate body odor from cats

After ruling out the previous causes, you can follow the recommendations we’ll share below at home to help your cat maintain a soft and shiny coat, free of bad odors.


Although cats don’t like being brushed, this is a good way to get rid of dirt and loose hair in their coat. Veterinarians advise doing so at least twice a week.

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Cats also hate bath time. However, bathing your cat regularly with special products will help keep it healthy and clean. Dry shampoos for cats are another option you should consider if you want to avoid an unpleasant bath time.

When you apply this type of product, it’s important to make sure that your cat doesn’t lick itself. Some shampoos prevent the appearance of fleas and ticks.

To keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, it’s a good idea to brush them from time to time, with a special toothpaste and toothbrush for cats. You can find these products at pet stores. Also, you must always keep the litter tray clean, because accumulated feces make the cat’s paws dirty.


Feeding your cat a balanced, quality diet and giving them enough water prevents indigestion and the bad smell that they cause. Dry cat food is better than wet food, as it helps remove plaque from the cat’s teeth. In fact, plaque buildup can cause bad breath.


If your cat has the habit of going outside, it’s likely to injure itself. When wounds become infected, they give off a foul odor. For this reason, it’s a good idea to periodically check your cat for scratches or wounds and apply a timely treatment.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.