There are several causes that contribute to a cat having a bad odor, the first being poor genetics, nothing can be done about this, but it is also the least likely source of the problem. A cat who has a genetic predisposition to bad odor will smell bad no matter what.
The most common factor to a cat with an odor issue is food. A cat on lower quality food will have a harder time digesting the food, thus they will have flatulance (gas) or smelly stools (poops), and more of both. Cats are true carnivores, they need meat. They do not need corn, but most dry cat foods contain cheap fillers like corn. The first ingredient in a quality dry cat food should be a meat source, such as Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, or Turkey Meal. It should not contain any “By-Products” which are usually things like beaks, feet, and feathers, basically more filler. Corn should never be in the top three ingredients on the ingredient list.
Cheap foods also cheat by using “FAT” as an ingredient to give the cat a shiney coat. Most owners feel a shiney coat indicates a healthy cat, but the fat is hard on the digestive system, thus causing smells. This problem gets worse because if the food is low quality the cat has to eat more to get any nutrition, thus eating more fat, and digesting more stuff it should not, thus making more gas. Poor Kitty.
Eating more food also means pooping more. Poor you, because the poop smells worse, and there is more of it to scoop!
While most of the problems come from dry food, canned food can also be a problem too. Some canned foods have a nice gravy. To be fair though, gravy is only nice if you are a person, because for a cat, it is carbohydrates, which are hard on their little tummies, plus they are fattening. Too much canned food can also contribute to the odor problem.
An unhealthy cat will have more odor issues, as well one with worms, or a bacterial infection will have smelly, or runny, poops. If your cat is abnormally smelly, you should have the veterinarian check a stool sample for worms or bacteria.
Smelly urine is a problem in cats who have not been spayed or neutered, or can indicate a bladder infection.
Odor can best be controlled with Silicone litter, or a litter containing baking soda, but a healthy cat on a good diet, should not be excessively stinky. Do not use sprays to cover up odor, instead find the cause of the problem and fix it!
Don’t be afraid to let the cat out of the bag, feed it a good food, and maintian its’ health, and you should not have a smelly cat.