Feline gingivitis is inflammation in a cat’s gums. Gingivitis in cats can lead to more serious gum and mouth problems, such as periodontal disease and the loss of teeth. Thus, it is important for cat owners to recognize the symptoms and causes of gingivitis and know how to treat it as well.
Gingivitis in cats is caused by tartar and bacteria buildup on and between a cat’s teeth, usually near the cat’s gum line. While some individuals believe they can avoid cat gingivitis by feeding their cat a dry food diet, this is not the case, according to Pet Doc.
Many owners do not notice gingivitis in cats until they start showing signs of pain. However, there are several other signs and symptoms of gingivitis an owner can see if he or she examines his or her cat’s teeth regularly. Common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include: redness along the gums at the base of the teeth, poor grooming habits, bleeding gums, swollen gums, avoiding food due to mouth pain, bad breath, dropping food out of the mouth when eating, difficulty chewing food, and a scruffy coat.
The treatment for gingivitis in cats is to have the cat’s teeth professionally cleaned. In addition to cleaning above the gum line, a vet surgeon will do ultrasonic scaling or cleaning below the cat’s gum line. Cats are typically put under anesthetic for this procedure because it can be very painful. Your veterinarian may also choose to put your cat on antibiotics if an infection in the gums is present.
Of course, the best treatment for gingivitis is prevention. It is best to begin a home dental care routine with your cat when he or she is young, if at all possible. Brushing your cat’s teeth will take time and patience. You need to slowly acclimate your cat to having his or her teeth brushed. To do this, make teeth brushing sessions short and positive and praise your feline throughout each session.
First, set aside some time everyday to brush your cat’s teeth. Sit down with your cat on your lap and gently stroke your kitty’s cheek. After a few sessions of that, you can progress to the next step. Get your kitty used to having things placed into his or her mouth by dipping your finger into some tuna water and allow your cat to lick it off your finger. Next, gently rub your finger over your feline’s gums. Repeat these steps for a few sessions before moving on to the next step.
Doctors Foster and Smith recommend wrapping some gauze around your finger, dipping it into some tuna juice or other liquid your cat may enjoy, and massaging your cat’s gums in a circular motion. Again, wait until your cat is comfortable with this procedure before you move on to the next step.
To get your cat used to the texture and consistency of a toothbrush, put something tasty onto the toothbrush and allow your cat to lick it off. You can purchase a toothbrush from the cat section of your local pet store or you can purchase a child’s size toothbrush for your kitty.
Next, get your cat used to pet toothpaste by putting some on your finger and allowing your feline to lick it off. Rub toothpaste gently over your cat’s gums. You may purchase pet toothpaste in beef, poultry, or other flavors your cat may like in the cat section of your local pet store.
Finally, you are ready to begin brushing your cat’s teeth with the toothbrush and toothpaste. Put some pet toothpaste onto the toothbrush and begin to brush your cat’s teeth. Pay special attention to your cat’s gums and his or her gum line. Start by brushing one or two of your cat’s teeth and progress slowly to brushing more teeth in future sessions. Remember to praise your cat for being good throughout the sessions and talk to him or her in a happy and soothing voice.
Gingivitis can be a serious problem for your cat. Taking your cat to regular checkups at the vet as well as using home dental care practices, you will be able to catch and treat feline gingivitis early so that it doesn’t develop into anything more severe.
Pet Doc Gingivitis in Cats:
Pet Palace: Gingivitis in Cats:
Doctors Foster and Smith: Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth in Steps: