The first step an owner might take when they have a smelly cat is giving their furry feline a thorough bath. Unless a cat has decided to take a roll in something unpleasant, they should be fairly odorless excluding their typical "cat smell". That is unless the cat has an underlying health issue that has lead to a foul odor emitting from the cat. If you know your cat hasn't been scampering through the unknown and she has a bad smell, than your cat could be facing some type of illness.
Yeast infections can occur in many places on your cat's body, most commonly in the ears. Yeast likes moist areas of the body where it can live and will eventually cause irritation and odor. The infection can cause redness, swelling, itching, and will put off a "sour" smell that is unpleasant. Sometimes giving the cat a bath will intensify the odor. Yeast infections are easily cured when caught early, usually with a topical ointment. To help prevent yeast infections, always keep the ears clean and void of moisture. Following baths, fully dry your cat especially areas that are hidden like the groin and inside of the upper legs.
Just like with dogs, cats can also become afflicted with mange. Mange is usually easy to recognize as the cat will begin to lose hair and will tend to scratch more often. When left untreated, the skin will thicken and will become covered with crusty scabs and of course, this skin irritation will smell. Mange can be treated with veterinarian care but the longer the problem exists, the longer it will take for the cat to heal.
Two types of seborrhea can exist on cats. Seborrhea secca refers to dry scaly skin while seborrhea oleosa is the presence of oily skin. These symptoms are usually related to another underlying health problem. Either condition can cause a cat to smell bad especially if the problem was brought on by a yeast infection. Cats with these conditions are known to lick and scratch excessively which can cause lesions. A cat exhibiting skin problems should be seen by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and thus apply proper treatment.
Diet and Hygiene
When a cat appears to be healthy and doesn't show any outward appearance of health issues, the problem could be inside. A cheap diet can lead to a cat producing stronger odors than others. Choose cat foods that list some type of meat as the first ingredient on the ingredient label. Try to avoid corn fillers and by-products whenever possible.
Some cats (especially long-haired breeds or overweight cats) can have trouble keeping some areas of their bodies clean. The anal area can build up with feces if the hair is long and thick. When this area is not clean, a cat will smell. Cats with long hair or are a bit on the plump side may need the hair under the tail and around the anal opening trimmed regularly.
If the odor is coming from your cat's mouth, then it's time for a good dental cleaning. Specially made toothbrushes and pastes are available just for cats. You can follow this up with some fresh-smelling dental treats to help rid your cat's mouth of the foul aroma. If the smell continues, a professional dental cleaning at the vet's office may be in order.
Overall, your cat should smell like a cat. If your cat has a foul odor then something isn't right with your feline companion. If your pet doesn't appear to have a skin condition and you've tried a high-quality diet, a visit to the vet should be able to uncover the mystery of your foul-smelling feline.