Why Does My Cat Smell Like Garlic?

When you notice an unusual smell on your cat’s breath, pee, or fur it typically needs further investigation. This is particularly true of garlic like smells, so just how concerned should you be if your cat’s pee or breath starts to have a strong garlic smell?

Why does my cat smell like garlic? The most common reason for a cat’s breath or urine smelling like garlic is kidney disease or an infection. The cat’s kidneys are not functioning properly and are unable to filter toxic wastes in the blood efficiently. A build up of urea in your cat’s body is often the reason for the garlic smell.

This means that if your cat smells like garlic, then it could indicate a health problem. Although some people associate garlic smelling with some positive, in fact, garlic smelling breath and urine is often a sign something is not right.

Please read on to find out what could be causing your cat to smell like garlic, what other signs to look out for and what you can do to get rid of garlic smells caused by your cat… but above all, if your cat smells like garlic, please consult with a vet.

Why does my cat smell of garlic?

There are a number of reasons why your cat could be smelling like garlic. You may notice this smell coming from their pee, their breath or even their poop. I’m sure you’re also familiar with the occasional foul garlic smell when your cat farts?

Let’s take a look at why your cat is smelling like garlic.

1. My cat’s pee smells like garlic

If you start to notice a change in smell when your cat urinates, this could be an indication all is not well with your kitten. A strong garlic smell in your cat’s pee could be caused by a kidney infection or disease.

The role of the kidneys is to break down toxins or waste in the blood and eliminate them from the body. If your cat’s kidneys are not functioning efficiently, they may be battling to break down and get rid of toxins. This results in increased levels of urea which causes that garlic stink.

Dehydration could be another reason why your cat’s urine smells like garlic. A change of diet could also be the reason your cat’s pee is smelling like garlic.


2. Why does my cat’s breath smell like garlic?

Smelling garlic on your cat’s breath is another indication your cat could have a kidney disease or a kidney infection. Instead of picking up the garlic smell in his urine, you’re noticing it strongly on his breath.

Cat owners sometimes complain that their cat’s breath smells like urine. If you’re getting whiffs of garlic every time your fur-baby breathes into your face, then get him checked out by your vet.

3. My cat’s poop smells like garlic

While we accept our kitty’s poop does reek, most times we can tell if it’s a normal kind of stink. But, if you start to notice it’s smelling more like garlic, there may be a cause for concern.

When your cat’s feces starts emitting an garlic smell it could be an indication she’s having gastrointestinal problems. It can also be an indication they’re not digesting their food efficiently and garlic is one of the signs this is happening.

4. Why does my cat’s farts smell like garlic?

We’re all familiar with that rotten egg smell whenever someone lets off a seriously bad fart. The same applies to our cats. The garlic smell could be the result of all the digestive activity going on inside your cat’s stomach.

The process of digesting is quite intricate and involves bacteria and gut flora. While digestion takes place, different gases are released such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. Mix this with hydrogen sulphide and the resulting smell can make you pinch your nose close.

5. My female cat smells like garlic

Sometimes you may notice your female cat has a strong smell of garlic. Cat owners have asked if this is linked to their heat cycle, but the answer is generally no. Your female cat could be smelling of garlic because she has a urinary tract infection. By the way, male cats also get this infection.

A urinary tract infection or UTI, is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. It can be painful and cause great discomfort to your cat. Signs of UIT include your cat licking her urinal area often, crying or hissing while peeing and the strong smell of garlic.

UTI is very common among cats and your vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics for treatment.

What Are the Signs of Kidney Disease?

Dehydration, a change in diet, UTI and gastrointestinal upsets can all be reasons for your cat smelling like garlic. However, when it comes to a persistent garlic smell that doesn’t go away, you can suspect kidney disease. This is a serious condition, and your cat needs to be seen by your vet.

Here are some signs that may tell you cat has kidney disease:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or low energy levels
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Bad breath
  • Strong garlic smell from the mouth or urine

Aging cats can present with chronic kidney disease simply because their kidney tissues are wearing out. Smaller cat breeds may start to show signs of kidney disease when they reach 10 to 14 years old. Larger cat breeds may develop kidney disease when they get to 7 or 8 years old.

Getting the right diagnosis is essential so your vet can advise a treatment plan for your cat.

How do I get rid of garlic smells in the house?

Your cat’s pee could be smelling of garlic for a simple reason.  It could be because they’re not drinking enough clean, fresh water, or you’ve changed their diet. They also may have eaten something dodgy on the sly and both their urine and poop reeks of garlic.

Once you’ve ruled out any medical condition, you can have peace of mind that your cat’s garlic smell is not caused by an illness or infection. However, what do you do when your cat has an accident on your Persian carpet in the lounge and it now reeks of garlic?

Here are some tips for getting rid of garlic smells caused by your cat’s pee:

  • Baking soda: Wipe up the pee with paper towels, newspaper or a towel. Once you’ve soaked up most of the urine, sprinkle baking soda on the wet area. A ¼ cup is normally sufficient. Leave overnight and then vacuum up the next day. Baking soda is one of the most effective ways of removing most unpleasant odors.
  • Vinegar: This is good for those dried out urine stains. Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a spray bottle. Spray a mist on the stain and blot with paper towels. Repeat a few times until the smell disappears.
  • Wet vacuum cleaner: These vacuum cleaners are great for those areas where the urine smell is persistent. You may need to go over the carpet a few times but the smell will eventually go away.
  • Enzymatic cleaners: When all else fails, look for an enzymatic cleaner formulated to get rid of cat and cat urine stains. These commercial products work efficiently on all surfaces including hardwood floors.


Cats are always smelling of something. It could be the bird poop they rolled in or the trash they scavenged while you weren’t looking. Your cat even has his own natural smell that doesn’t smell off.

Most times, we don’t mind our cat’s smells. Well, sometimes.

There are days though when you may pick up a whiff that doesn’t smell too good on your cat. Their breath could be a bit off or you’ve noticed their pee’s odor is stronger than normal. If you know your cat is smelling ripe because of something she’s eaten, then all is well.

But a cat that smells like garlic is something you should not ignore, as it could be the sign of a serious health condition – please do consult with your vet for expert advice.