As your cat gets older, many of them lose teeth due to dental diseases and tooth decay. In severe cases, missing multiple teeth is possible. Your furry friend during this time can eat dry food even after losing their teeth. The owners must be patient in taking time to adjust.
Cats don’t usually show any signs of dental issues, unlike dogs that can easily distinguish the problem. Dental problems in cats usually seen when they make yawns. If you notice any missing teeth, you need to assess it right away. Try to open their mouth wide and see how many teeth are missing and how it affects your cat’s everyday life.
The average number of teeth during their younger period is 26. They are known as deciduous teeth or milk teeth that appears from gums during 3-4 weeks. These small teeth are very sharp just like pins making them feel uncomfortable by about 6 weeks old. During 3-4 months, the 1st teeth start to lose which replaced by permanent teeth as they reach 8-9 months. The number of teeth during this period is 30 which consists of 12 incisors, 10 premolars and 4 molar teeth.
Losing Adult Cat Teeth
During the adult stage, your cat has still the possibility to lose their teeth just like any human does. Most cases are due to oral problems. The common reason for this is called the periodontal or gum disease. The Cornell Feline Health Center stated that 80% of cats ages 6 years and above are prone to this type of disease. When a plaque is built, a type of bacteria that can get from food mix with saliva that stuck from the cat’s teeth cannot be removed which later can develop into tartar, a brownish to a yellowish crust. Untreated tartar that appears under the gum line can cause irritation and produce toxins from bacteria. In this case, the teeth can separate and loose due to infection and inflammation that affects the gums, ligaments and bones which supports the teeth.
Signs of Cat’s Oral Problem
A cat suffering from inflammation of the gums or other terms as gingivitis can experience painful teeth or any other types of oral problems. Foul or sour breath, excessive licking, drooling or unable to close the mouth, loss of appetite can be observed. If any bleeding in the gums and discolored teeth or lesions are present, the owners must take their cat to the vet right away to assess the problem. The vet may suggest a thorough cleaning or tooth scraping to completely remove the tartar. If there is a present of a broken tooth, it may need to be removed as soon as possible.
What to feed them?
A Dry Food
Dry food is can be given even after losing the teeth which are also suggested by most vets and experts. The Feral cats along with their wild siblings need their teeth to hunt and fight but domestics cats can get used to it. Some cats that have dental issues avoid food due to pain. This behavior can be solved after removing the teeth. Help your friend live their normal life by giving them tuna or DIY prepared meal to get their interest back in food once again.
Wet Their Food
Other cats with no teeth can easily eat dry food although it’s not as fast as before. If it swallows the whole food without breaking it into pieces, it may eventually result in gastrointestinal problems and one of this is vomiting. You may be able to resolve the issue by watching them carefully and making sure the food is crushed before giving it to them. You may also try to mix the dry food with liquid or broth to soften it. If the issue is not resolved, mix the dry and wet food or transition it completely to wet food.
Dental Care for Cat’s Teeth
- Almost 70% of cats experience oral disease as they reach 3 years old stated by the American Veterinary Dental Society. The plaque can build up and you can work this out. If there are any teeth left, it’s better to have them brush regularly or on a daily basis. It is better to introduce this routine slowly and offer rewards after. Use only cat toothpaste and don’t worry about swallowing it. These substances are made for them and it’s safe. Also, it has a foaming chemical that makes the ingestion worry free. Always ask your vet for proper dental care.
- Caring for cats with no teeth may be difficult depending on their condition. In most cases, they lose their teeth due to poor dental hygiene. Those that have teeth or gum disease can pass the infection from sinus, nasal passages and go to lungs. If this happens, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
- If the cat has recently removed their teeth but has healthy gums, they can eat dry cat food or canned food. You may also give then cooked meat like chicken and hamburger.
- For cats with infected gums, it may be painful for them to eat dry food. It’s best to smash the food or soften. You can also give meat-based baby food. Any food that touches the sore can be painful which may cause your friend not to eat.
- Also, cats with infected gums will need to get several shots from the vet 1-3 times per month. These include cortisone injections, pain relief and antibiotic treatment. Sometimes, combination shot may be suggested by the vet. The cats should be able to gain relief after the shots were given for them to be able to eat.
- Cats without teeth or little may experience difficulty grooming and protect themselves. They need special attention from the owners to be able to maintain good health all the time. As we all know, they use their teeth to clean their body and remove anything from the hair that cannot be removed from bathing. If they have no teeth, they can’t do all these things anymore. Assess their coats to make sure there is nothing left in the hair.
- The worst thing that can happen to a cat with gum infection is getting dehydrated due to not taking any fluid intake because of pain. Always pay attention to gum infection and make sure they’re drinking enough amount of water and food even in a small portion daily.
What to Remember
- To avoid cat teeth problems, always follow a regular healthy routine for a proper dental care. The vet may recommend a special dental formula for dry food designed to easily remove the plaque. A once a year tooth cleaning and herbal mouth spray can also help to avoid dental issues. If you have kittens, start introducing them to tooth brushing. For adult cats, it’s not too late to teach them with this process though it will take time and effort to do this. Use only a soft toothbrush and cat formula toothpaste for them. They can be purchased from the pet shop.
- Do not use any human toothpaste since it’s very toxic for them. It contains ingredients called sodium lauryl sulfate that can be harmful to them. It is a foaming chemical that cannot spit out by cats. Before starting to brush the teeth, get your friend established by putting anything in their mouth. Giving a tuna or chicken broth by your finger can help in this process. When your friend is adjusted to this habit, let him take the food in a toothbrush then start brushing. It is important that you play with them first. Try to open their mouth, place your thumb and middle finger on the jaws while gently opening the mouth without forcing it. Tilt the back slowly and rub each tooth in a circular motion focusing on a section next to the gum. Do this twice a day to keep their teeth healthy.