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Why does my Persian cat smell so bad?

If your Persian cat doesn’t smell great then fear not – there are a couple of things you can do about it! Firstly, you can simply ignore it and just hope the smell goes away all by itself or secondly, you can investigate why your Persian cat might be smelling. Please take the second option!

It’s most likely that the smell is only going to be temporary and there’s probably nothing to worry about but sometimes, it can be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs sorting – either by the owner (which is most likely you) or from a professional (i.e. a vet). Whichever path you choose, the process will start with an investigation into the root cause – and this is carried out by you.

So, why does my Persian cat smell? Your Persian cat is smelling bad as it most likely has a problem related to its skin or bacterial infection. It may also have dental issues that can cause the nasty smell or other reasons, listed here. Find what’s causing the smell by inspecting your Persian cat and then decide how you should proceed.

Is the Persian cat different from other cats?

If you’re an owner of a Persian cat then I think you might already know this. Yes, the Persian cat is very different from other cats – especially in their personality. However, domestic cats across breeds are largely much the same.

Why does my Persian cat smell?

Is there anything about the Persian cat that might explain why it smells more than other cats? Well, as you may have now realized – the answer is most definitely, no. You could perhaps argue that its large coat could create some issues, and to an extent, you might be right – more on this later.

So, with this in mind – we know we don’t particularly have to worry about anything specifically related to the Persian cat and we can just focus on problems that any cat might have in this department, so let’s dig a bit deeper…

What are the main reasons a Persian cat will smell?

Initially, as you begin your investigation you will need to establish, as best as you can, what kind of smell it is and where it is coming from. Both of these things may be simple to establish – or, they might not be! Helpful, right? So, let me give you an example, does it smell like urine or excrement? Where is the smell actually coming from? Do you only notice it when they open their mouths (perhaps yawning) or is the problem coming from their rear end?

Below, I’ve listed some of the more common issues to help you try and work out what the issue is and also (and more importantly) – what you can do about it!

Dental problems causing your Persian cat to smell bad

Dental hygiene is often overlooked in cats and being honest this is something we didn’t look at when our two were kittens many years ago. We regret this and should have done a better job. There can be a few reasons why your Persian cat might have bad breath. However, if you think about it – if you were to eat some of the things they ate then your breath might stink too!

Therefore, if your cat’s breath stinks of cat food – then it’s because they’ve eaten cat food! Incidentally, why can’t these manufacturers make cat food that doesn’t smell so terrible?

Another name for stinky breath is Halitosis and it is probably more common in cats than you might think. According to this article at the Cornell Feline Health Center, over 50% of all cats up to the age of around 4 years old may suffer to some degree of dental problem. These problems could be:

  • Gingivitis is noticeable by the gums of your Persian cat becoming rather swollen around their teeth and this can be caused by the build-up of plaque. This can be treated (as it can be for us) by brushing their teeth. Let me tell you this though, it’s a lot easier to start brushing their teeth from when they were a kitten rather than when they are older!
  • Periodontitis is what can happen to your Persian cat’s teeth if gingivitis is left for some time. This can be more problematic and will be noticeable by your cat eating their food from one side of their mouth (their head will tip to one side during chewing). A visit to the vet is necessary for this as the plaque will need to be scraped away but also, teeth may also need to be extracted.
  • Tooth resorption – this is the most common cause of tooth loss in all cats and occurs when the main body of the tooth starts to break down. It is identified by a pink tint in the tooth where it meets with the gums. This can be painful for your Persian cat so if you discover it you should take them to the vets.

Other problems that can cause smelly breath may actually stem from other issues, such as kidney or liver problems but this is much rarer. Note that these problems don’t always manifest in a similar way but if your Persian is experiencing other symptoms, like vomiting then you should get them along to your vet asap.

There are many problems that may cause a bad odor from your cat’s mouth and in the above, I’ve listed a few. I would suggest that the thing to take out of this is that if the issue is not easily recognizable and the foul smell continues, then you need to get help – don’t wait, especially if they are acting differently!

A Bladder Infection

A bladder infection can be identified by an odor that is similar to your smelly feet! It may also smell like urine and you should look out for whether they’ve managed to get urine on their skin or fur. I’ve noticed this with ours, particularly when it’s really windy outside!

These bladder-related problems can occur for no ‘obvious’ reason but they are more common in older cats. With bladder problems, you may notice your Persian cat is urinating more frequently and also, take a look at the color of this urine. If it has a pinkish color to it then it might be due to blood being present.

If you see any of these problems then you need to take your Persian cat to a vet. In the meantime, try to get them to drink. Not as easy as that though – right?

Could it be Litter Box related?

Maybe this one should be simpler to diagnose! It’s important to keep their litter tray clean if they use one. If it’s not then it’s feasible that when they use it they can sit in some of the previous excrement/urine and it can stick to their skin and/or fur. Or, when your Persian is burying their excrement they can brush some of what is still there from earlier onto themselves.

I would suggest that one of the best ideas is to get the kind of cat litter that clumps up after each use. This will make it so much easier to clean up and also the best cat litter will not smell as bad as many of the others. If you want to know what I would recommend, it would be this over at Amazon.

Is your Persian cat spraying?

Your Persian cat should be neutered but if they are not you may notice that they are spraying. You will notice this behavior by them reversing up to an object, lifting their tail up and spraying a small amount of urine onto it. Their tail will quiver whilst they are doing this.

It should be said though that it’s not just un-neutered cats that show this behavior so if you notice your Persian cat is smelling of urine it may be because of this behavior. When they are spraying, some of the urine can bounce off the surface they are aiming at and land back on their fur.

If your Persian is spraying inside, they are doing it for a reason. They are possibly feeling anxious and stressed about something so telling them off won’t help. The best solution for this is to clean up the area that they have sprayed and make your cat as relaxed as possible. Do try and spend more time with them and try to understand why they are feeling so anxious.

Cat food Disagreement that causes your Persian to smell

Persian cats, like us, may have stomachs that won’t agree with everything that’s just been put inside it. If you notice that your cat is having stomach problems (which in-turn is causing rather nasty smells) then do consider changing their food.

Why does my Persian cat smell?

Try taking a look at the food you’re giving them and think about changing to a higher quality product. Perhaps try something like this high protein product (opens in a new tab). Switch their food over to something like this and you may see positive results within a couple of days. If you don’t, get them looked at by your vet, especially if you notice other behavioral problems.

Skin problems

Skin problems are typically a symptom of something else rather than the cause – it could be a wound or a parasite. This wound may not be noticeable to you initially. Your Persian cat may have been involved in a fight and might have developed an abscess. These can rupture which can cause an unpleasant smell due to the pus that is being released.

Ear problems

This one is easier to find than some of the others we’ve mentioned. Although not all ear-related problems have a nasty smell, many do. These can come about if your Persian cat has an allergy which can cause yeast to form. This is a very distinctive smell – as you may discover.

Other situations where ear infections might come about is when they have been in a fight with another cat, perhaps then been bitten on the ear and then an infection has developed.

Alternatively, they might get ear mites and you could first see that something isn’t quite right when they start scratching one (or both) their ears slightly more than usual. Although this can usually be treatable at home, it would be an idea to talk to your vet about it. The ear will need to be cleaned thoroughly and monitored for around a week or so

Infected Anal glands making your Persian cat smell

Persian cats (as with all cats) may have many issues relating to their anal glands. They can get an infection or develop an abscess. If you believe this is the case then there’s not much you can do about it from home so get them over to your vet as soon as possible. They will most likely be in some discomfort and your vet will be able to fix the problem hopefully just by using some antibiotics.

If you believe they are required, try these green-friendly Pogi hypoallergenic Pet Wipes to clean the affected area. You will find that not only can it clean the affected area but it will remove the nasty smell!

Summary of these reasons

These are just some of the problems that can cause your Persian cat to smell bad. They don’t have the same sense of smell as us humans but they will be aware of something not being quite right.

Common sense must be your friend here. The first thing is to find the smell (not too difficult) but the important part is to find the underlying issue which can be tricky. If you can’t find it and definitely if they are acting differently, just get them in to see the vet, they are the professionals after all.

Do Persian cats fart?

A bad smell might mean your Persian cat has farted. Like all cats and most other living beings, Persian cats can suffer from flatulence and sometimes the smell is quite unpleasant! It makes you wonder what some cat food contains to cause such a pong!

When Persian cats fart they don’t typically make a sound. Apparently cats don’t make a noise when they pass wind because they don’t gulp as much air down when they eat, unlike us! Did you know that?

Can a Persian cat sweat?

You may have considered whether the smell comes from the Persian cat perspiring. But then you might think, hang on, do these cats even sweat?

Yes, cats (including the Persian cat) can sweat but it’s more difficult for them.

The location where a cat has most of their sweat glands is actually in their paws! Generally, though, the way a Persian cat will cool down is by relaxing and doing as little as possible in the shade.

In my many years of experience though, cat perspiration is not a cause for a nasty smell!

What’s the best way to get rid of cat smells?

The best way for you to rid your home of the smell is to find the underlying reason and ‘fix it’. This is also the best way for your Persian cat as the smell might be indicative of something not quite right.

Why does my Persian cat smell?

If you’re serious about the air in your home being fresh and clean though and want to get rid of any cat-like (or generally ‘bad’) smells, then there’s only one thing I can recommend to you. You have to take a look at the Hathaspace Air Defuser on Amazon. It was a little more than I wanted to spend initially but with this thing, you certainly get what you pay for and with this – you’re only paying once. Do consider checking it out as it really does remove some of the worst smells known to man!

Could you be imagining the smell?

It’s most unlikely but there is a small chance that you’re not smelling what you think you’re smelling. If you can’t see any obvious issue with your Persian cat and they are eating, drinking and acting normally then maybe you should consider something else…

Get a friend or someone whose opinion you trust and ask them to tell you what they can smell in your home. People have been known to smell things that aren’t there and the smell is 100% in their head! Then, as if by magic – when told by someone that they trace that there’s no such smell, it disappears! I’ve certainly never experienced it but do consider getting a second opinion if you can’t see anything wrong.


It’s probably nothing to lose sleep over. More often than not when a Persian smells bad it is because it has some excrement or urine stuck to its skin or fur after going to the toilet. Other than this, dental problems may be a concern but these are usually easily fixed with a visit to your vet.

The main thing is to not ignore the smell. Find out what’s causing it and then fix it.

Finally, you obviously care about your cat otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. Let me recommend this great article to you – weird things cat owners do in secret, you won’t be disappointed!

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