Mouth problems in cats

On many occasions, the pathologies that affect the oral cavity go unnoticed, which implies a delay in their diagnosis and treatment that can have negative consequences for the quality of life of our cat.

Therefore, you know the symptoms of possible oral problems that a pussycat may suffer, it will help us to detect possible problems early.

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Recognize mouth problems in a cat

There are a series of symptoms that we can observe in our cat and that will indicate that something is wrong with its mouth and / or teeth. The most common are the following:

  • Hypersalivation, that is, the cat drools. Sometimes it emits a thick and even purulent saliva.
  • Bad smell from the mouth and breath.
  • Gums red and sometimes bleeding.
  • Much pain , the cat will not allow itself to be touched and, sometimes, it rubs itself with its front paws. – Fall of teeth.
  • Tartar formation.
  • Retraction of the gums, making the teeth appear larger.
  • Wounds
  • Thinning because, although the cat approaches the food bowl hungry, it is not able to eat.
  • Bad appearance of the coat due to the impossibility of carrying out the grooming.
  • Mass presence.
  • Enlarged mandibular lymph nodes.
  • Fever .
  • Difficulty swallowing, sometimes food falls out of mouth.
  • Cough .


Periodontal disease

When eating, food remains stick to the teeth and are used by bacteria that will form bacterial plaque . This plaque can be removed by brushing your teeth.

Otherwise, the minerals contained in saliva are deposited on it, leading to the formation of tartar, which would be calcified bacterial plaque. Tartar is the first step of periodontal disease and it can progress to gingivitis and periodontitis.


The accumulation of tartar manages, in small areas, to separate the gum from the teeth. Bacteria and food debris will concentrate at these points and end up infecting the gums . We can see them reddened, inflamed, they will bleed easily when touched and pus could even come out.

Bad breath is another characteristic sign of this problem. This situation can be reversed by performing dental cleanings and maintaining proper hygiene habits.


When gingivitis attacks the tooth’s holding structures, it begins to move and eventually falls, a process that is very painful and prevents the cat from eating normally , even if it is hungry. We will also observe hypersalivation.

It is an irreversible process. Without treatment, the cat will lose weight due to not being able to feed itself and, in addition, there is a risk of infections arising in other parts of the body such as the heart or kidneys. Treatment usually involves the removal of teeth.


Feline chronic gingivostomatitis

It is an ulcerative process that affects the entire oral cavity, although the lesions will be more or less extensive depending on the severity of the condition. The difference with periodontal disease is that, in this case, inflammation occurs around the entire tooth .

The cause is believed to be an alteration of the immune system at the local level due to an exaggerated reaction to chronically present antigens, such as bacterial plaque, tartar or calicivirus .

Your treatment will depend on the cause. Analgesia, plaque control or, finally, extractions are usually required, if no improvement is observed with the chosen treatment.

FORL or feline odontoclastic resorption

In this disease, the tooth progressively disappears, starting in the central area and spreading up and down, at which point it affects the root of the tooth and, as a consequence, it falls off . It is a very painful process and without cure, so there is only the option of removing all the affected parts.

Oral cancer

Masses of different sizes can also appear in the oral cavity, squamous cell carcinoma being common, a malignant tumor that grows on the lip and, in advanced stages, has no possibility of cure.

Tumors in the mouth are more common in older cats and can be found in any location . The larger ones will ulcerate. They are diagnosed by biopsy. Although they do not usually cause metastases except for squamous cell carcinoma, they do tend to reappear when they are removed


How to avoid mouth problems in kittens


To control some of the disorders that affect the cat’s oral cavity, it is possible to implement some measures such as the following:

  • Brush the teeth frequently, using a brush and paste specially formulated for cats. It is difficult for them to accept this manipulation but if we adopt a kitten we can get used to it from the first moment.
  • Basing the diet on the feed since its hardness and shape contribute to the cleaning of the teeth. This diet involves ensuring that the cat has enough water at its disposal to prevent urinary diseases.
  • Antiseptics can be used periodically directly on the gums and mouthwashes to add to the water.
  • There are some substances that promote oral health such as zinc, vitamins C and A or polyphenols.
  • The vet should check the mouth at each visit to detect problems early.
  • Ultrasonic dental cleanings can remove plaque that builds up and cannot be removed by brushing. These cleanings, in which the cat has to be anesthetized, are recommended annually.

Toothless cats

We have seen that in a good part of dental problems, parts fall out. In other cases, the treatment involves its extraction. Although it may seem like a drastic measure, we have to know that cats adapt to living without teeth and manage to feed without any problem. In addition, when they stop feeling pain they regain their quality of life.

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