As humans, we lose our baby teeth when we are young, and then keep our adult teeth (as long as we look after them well!) But what about cats, do their teeth fall out? And is it normal?
Why do cats lose their teeth?
Cat teeth may fall out for a number of reasons. Kittens will naturally lose their baby teeth as they grow, but adults can also lose their teeth due to trauma or illnesses such as periodontal disease.
1. Kittens lose their baby teeth
Kittens lose their baby teeth at around 6 months of age, after which their new, shiny adult teeth come through. This is often a blessing because tiny kitten teeth can feel like small needles, especially during playtime!
The full set of adult teeth that come through at 6 months will need to last your cat the rest of their life, so it’s important to make sure the teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.
2. They have dental disease
Just like us humans, cats can also develop plaque and tartar on the surface of their teeth. These attract bacteria, eventually leading to infection and gum disease (gingivitis). When gingivitis is left untreated, it will eventually cause the gums to recede, leaving the root of the tooth exposed and painful (periodontitis). If oral hygiene is not maintained and the process left unchecked, the tooth will eventually become unstable and fall out.
3. The tooth has become damaged
Teeth can also fall out because they are damaged. This can either be through an external trauma like a run-in with a motor vehicle or a fall from a height. It could also be due to disruption of the tooth socket from a nearby tumor, abscess, or another process. Sometimes teeth become fractured or broken due to trauma, but don’t fall out. If this is the case, you still need to see your veterinarian because a broken tooth may have an exposed pulp cavity, leading to pain and infection.
How do I stop my cat from losing their teeth?
If you want to make sure that your feline friend keeps hold of their pearly whites for as long as possible, there are a few things that you can do. Firstly, feeding a dry, biscuit-type, cat food can create friction on the teeth, removing some of the bacteria and helping to reduce plaque formation – especially if your diet is designed. Secondly, if you have a particularly cooperative and tolerant kitty, you could try brushing their teeth regularly, with pet-safe products of course!
My cat has hardly any teeth left, what do I do?
Surprisingly, cats with very few teeth (or even none at all) are often still able to eat dry food. Especially if that’s the diet they are used to! However, if your toothless wonder is struggling to eat their normal food, you may try adding water to it or mashing it up in a blender.
But the single most important thing to do when your cat companion has a few teeth left is to maintain those remaining teeth as best you can. This means regular brushing with a pet brush and a dry food ‘dental’ diet if they will eat it. You may also look into adding a dental water additive to your cat’s water cup in order to combat bacterial growth.
So, do I need to worry if my cat’s teeth fall out?
If your adult cat had one or multiple teeth fall out, you should take them to the veterinarian. He or she will have a good look at the rest of their teeth, prescribe any necessary treatment, and give you advice on how to keep the remaining teeth healthy. Remember: dental diseases can be really painful, and even if your purr-fect pal isn’t showing signs of pain, they could still be sore. So, see a veterinarian without delay!