Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Don't Want My Cat Because...... Dental Disease in Cats

This is Simba.

He is an eight year old sweetheart. He is timid, gentle, and loving.

He has spent his whole life in the home he grew up in. But the last few weeks he was not eating well, and sometimes not at all. Rather than take him to the vet for an examination, diagnosis and treatment plan, his family just decided that they didn't want him anymore.

Unfortunately, stories like this really happen, and this is Simba's real story.

When the rescue organization that we work with brought Simba in I immediately noticed that his face and mouth were swollen. When I approached him I also noticed a foul rotten smell.

The first thing that I did was look in his mouth. This is what I saw.

Simba's teeth were so diseased that he could no longer eat.

The black is plaque, bacteria, and as it accumulates on the teeth the gums recede and the teeth become shallow and unstable. The gums are red due to inflammation and chronic infection. This is a very sore, very painful, very diseased mouth.

Simba got his much needed and very overdue dental within a day. Almost all of the teeth on the left side of his mouth had to be removed. They were too compromised and infected to salvage. But without those sick teeth his gums can now heal and his mouth won't hurt anymore.

People always ask me "How will they eat after you take out their teeth?"

"Well, those teeth weren't healthy, they weren't anchored in the mouth, they can't chew, or function, so your pet will be happy without them. I have removed all of the teeth from many cats, and many, many teeth from many, many dogs, and those pets and their parents always come back to me to tell me that their pets never have any food issues." Certainly for the first few days after oral surgery I recommend softening the dry food with water and letting it sit for a few minutes, or feeding wet food.

The day after his dental he was eating like he had never seen food before.

Simba is now looking for a new home, and hopefully a home that will forgive him if he needs healthcare help in the future.

If your cat is reluctant to eat, spilling food out of their mouth, seems painful when they are eating, or has a foul odor coming please bring them to your veterinarian for a dental examination and/or dental cleaning.

It is widely publicized that dental disease is the most common and most overlooked disease of pets.

Dogs and cats benefit greatly from daily brushing. This isn't difficult or hard to do. I have lots of tricks that I share with my clients at every examination. Ask your vet for pointers on keeping your pets mouth healthy for a lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about dental disease in cats please ask me at

Or call me at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville, MD. I can also be reached on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Related posts;

How Much Does the Average Cat Dental Cost?


  1. Replies
    1. Hello Bryan,

      Simba is still looking for a forever home. He is currently still with a foster family. Information on him can be found through

      He is a truly amazing cat.


  2. I hope he gets the family he deserves. My ten year old orange guy just had all of his teeth removed except for six of then. I didn't have any clue that they get periodontal disease (to be honest I only recently learned about it in humans lol bc I have start of recession of gums.). I felt like a terrible kitty parent for not recognizing something was wrong until it got to him being sore enough to run away from any kind of food. Horrible disease in both animals and humans.

  3. This just broke my could anyone do that to this poor baby?
    I have had 3 cats with Stomatitis and each of them had full mouth extractions. They were way better eaters once those awful teeth came out. Bless you for taking care of him.

    1. Hello Jennifer,
      Many thanks for reading and adding your experience. I hope it helps others make this same decision. My best to you and your kitties!