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Symptoms of disease in your cats mouth

Blood or discoloured urine is a common reason cat owners go to the vet. You may find blood in the litter box, on bedding, or on the floor. Often, it is accompanied by your cat trying to pee often, but with only a little coming out.

Symptoms of disease in your cat's mouth:

  • Drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen and red gums
  • Decreased appetite and difficulty eating
  • Hard to gape (this is when a cat may look like it's grimacing or sneering - it is actually your cat drawing in odours into the mouth rather than the nose, also called the flehmen response)
  • Chews and swallows without having anything in the mouth
  • Your cat doesn't take care of their coat
  • Teeth that have come off (fractured)

How do you know if your cat has a sore mouth?

Cats do not always clearly show that they have pain in their mouths or teeth. Scratching in and around the mouth can be a sign of pain. External skin disease can also be a sign of dental disease. Cat's don't usually stop eating because of a toothache, but can, for example, chew on one side of the mouth, where it hurts less. Cats don't always show any signs of pain or illness at all.

It's important to regularly check your cat's mouth and brush their teeth daily. Also try running, for example, an ear bud tip along the tooth row to see if your cat reacts. By doing this regularly, you can detect changes early and thus prevent dental diseases.

Is your cat drooling? 

Cats can drool (saliva) for various reasons and one is disease in the oral cavity. Among other things, inflammation of the oral mucosa, bad teeth or something stuck in their mouth can cause increased salivation. But nausea or problems with the stomach and intestines can also cause similar symptoms.

Cat with bad breath

A common problem in cats is bad breath. The most common causes of bad breath are plaque, tartar, bad teeth or an inflammation of the gums. Inflamed gums are called gingivitis and are not uncommon in cats.

Swollen and red gums

Inflamed gums are called gingivitis and are common in cats. Gingivitis is caused by bacterial deposits adjacent to the gum line. In case of gingivitis, the gums become irritated and reddened or very red. An untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.

Keep an eye on saliva mixed with blood

The cat's saliva should normally be clear and almost water-like in consistency. Saliva mixed with blood indicates damage to the oral mucosa and can occur in the event of tooth damage, severe inflammation, tumors, or coagulation defects.

Is your cat unable to close their mouth?

If a cat is unable to close its mouth, it may be due to a foreign object stuck in the mouth or jaw joint injuries, such as a fracture or dislocation of the jaw.

Cat chewing and swallowing

In case of pain or discomfort from the mouth, your cat may rub its jaws against the floor or furniture. Sometimes they may chew "empty" or perform swallowing movements. This may be associated with discomfort from the oral cavity. Your cat could also chatter their teeth, which is considered to indicate pain from the teeth or the mouth caused by dental disease.

Teeth that have fallen out

Teeth can be fractured due to trauma, usually the canines. The dental diseases TR and periodontitis can make teeth more fragile to the point that they fall out.

Read more about the dental disease TR

Common diseases in cat's mouths

Two of the most common diseases in the oral cavity of a cat are inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and the periodontal disease periodontitis, as well as complications of these diseases.

Cat's teeth

Just like humans, cats have two sets of teeth. The kitten is born toothless and later gets 26 milk teeth. These are finally replaced by 30 permanent teeth.

What your cat eats can matter

It can be difficult to know how to best feed your cat. Dry food can be better for the teeth than wet food, theoretically it cleans the teeth when cats chew. There are also special feeds with a composition that is said to prevent tartar. However, the best way to avoid bad mouth and teeth problems is to brush their teeth.

Prevent dental disease with tooth brushing

Many dental diseases can be prevented by regular tooth brushing. Even so, too many people neglect to brush their cats' teeth. If you brush your cat's teeth regularly, you ensure that bacteria does not get attached to their teeth or gums. You as a pet owner can thus notice disease in the oral cavity early, partly visually, partly if your cat indicates that it hurts.

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