Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My cat is 4 or 5 years old and has lost all her teeth, and I don’t know why. Should I have her put down? Is what she has contagious to my other cats?
Siouxsie: The first thing you need to do, James, is take your cat to the vet — sooner rather than later. It’s not an emergency, but you don’t want to put off that visit. There are a number of reasons why your cat could lose all her teeth, and only your vet can give you a diagnosis.
Thomas: Your vet will be able to tell you if your toothless cat has a condition that’s contagious to your other cats, too.
Dahlia: If your cat hasn’t been tested for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV), you should have your vet do that. If your cat has tested negative before but she’s been exposed to or bitten by another cat, you should have her re-tested.
Siouxsie: Once your vet tells you what’s wrong, you can discuss your cat’s present and future quality of life and come to an informed decision as to whether euthanasia is a humane option.
Thomas: If your cat lost all her teeth due to dental disease or an allergic-type condition, rest assured that cats can enjoy a good quality of life even without teeth.
Dahlia: Feed your toothless cat canned food because it’s easier for her to eat. Many cat experts say it’s healthier for cats to live on an all canned food diet than on kibble because wet food provides the right amount of moisture, protein, and other vitamins and minerals that they need. Toothless cats should not be let outdoors because they lack one of their basic defenses against hostile animals.
Siouxsie: Toothless cats can eventually adapt to eating kibble. It will take a while for her gums to be able to tolerate hard food, especially if she lost her teeth due to gum disease or infection. These conditions leave the gum tissue very inflamed and sensitive and she’ll need time to heal from that before she eats dry food again.
Thomas: If it turns out that your cat has a chronic illness and her health is reasonably good right now, but you can’t financially or emotionally afford any ongoing treatment she needs, ask your vet if he or she can help you find a home with someone who can. There are people who make a point of adopting cats with special needs, including cats infected with FIV or FeLV, because they have the desire and the means to give these cats a good home for as long as they live.
Dahlia: Don’t bring a cat with a chronic disease to an animal shelter. Shelters can’t take in cats with FIV, leukemia, or any other highly contagious diseases. Even if you know and don’t tell them, they’ll immediately suspect something since she’s so young and has no teeth. All cats brought to shelters are tested for FIV and FeLV, and if they’re found to be positive they’ll be put down — even in a “no-kill” shelter — because the risk of disease transmission is too high to allow them to live with other cats.
Siouxsie: In the US, there are animal sanctuaries that will take in sick cats, but they can be hard to find. The internet can be a good resource for information about these sanctuaries, though.
Thomas: So, James, don’t rush to the conclusion that euthanasia is the only solution for your cat’s condition. Take her to your vet and get a diagnosis. Once you know what’s going on, you can decide how you want to deal with the situation.
Dahlia: Cats can and do enjoy a good quality of life even without teeth, and there are re-homing options available if it turns out your cat has a contagious illness and you’re concerned about your other cats’ health.
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my cat has lost all his teeth he had them removed over a week ago he has been in the hospital twice to rehydrate my cat is very stubborn its breaking my heart he wont eat how long can he go without food and how long will it take for him to get used to eating with no teeth i am trying everything all his favourite food etc i am at my wits end i love him so much and want him to live can anyone advise me what i can feed him please thank you so much
Have you tried mice?
My cat had to have all his teeth removed. It took 3 weeks for him to feel better. I got all his favorite foods, but he didn’t eat much. I even tried baby food. Eventually I bought deli turkey and cut it into tiny pieces and he started eating again. It has been 5 months and he eats dry food and loves his catnip treats. Good luck. Patience is key to happiness with our babies.
my cat was a stray my neighbor(who knows alot about cats) said that his is 8-9 years old. we give him organic dry food and reagualar wet food every day but he dosen’t gain weight. he is also an out door cat because my brother is allergic. some times i find him limping a little and wonder if he has been in a fight but i never see any blood or anything. he threw up today and refuses to eat his food. my parents also do not have money to take him to the vet and his teeth are almost gone and the ones that he has have cracks in them and are all brown and gross. I don’t know what to do to help him.
Naomi, you are so wonderful to help this kitty! Does he have a place to sleep outside? Maybe you can make him a bed in a box – your neighbor can help you. Does he purr? Does he let you pet him? Try using soft canned food, or tuna – they really like Kentucky Fried Chicken too! If he still refuses to eat, it means he’s pretty sick. If no one can take him to a vet, see if you have a low cost vet in your town. What town do you live in, and I will see what I can find…
my cat is 13yrs she lost her teeth 8 yrs ago she eats meat in the jelly because its softer and she can manage kibble as well. if i give her some ham or chicken i have to break it up into small peices for her so she can eat it. she had a infection in her gums and her teeth fell out very quickly, i took her to the vet he gave her an injection and tablets and iv never had to take her back to the vet since she adapted very well on her own, she doesnt have trouble with other cats as i only have her and she doesnt go out the garden. i hope this info helps.
My cat is just under 4 years old and went in today for dental work, anticipating losing 2 canines. As it turned out she had to lose 8 teeth. I am so nervous and can’t imagine how she can have a “normal” life after this, but your posts have me hopeful she can. I’m still very nervous as she’s the most finicky eater. She was a shelter/rescue cat so the vet said it could be a genetic issue in not having proper nutrition as a kitten.
Cats without teeth can and will live a normal healthy life. My cat (13) only has one canine tooth, one small tooth next to the canine and one tooth directly below. He eats wet and small regular dried food without any problem whatsoever.
Just have the vet keep an eye on the cats gums and mouth area as part of the cats checkups for assurance.
Naomi – Please call a vet and tell them you do not have much money and ask if they would / could do a discount on any vet charges or ask if they know of any vets in your area that can help you out with the fianncial bills where your cat is concerned. There must some sort of animal society around that can help with these types of things.
If you get lucky here, ask the vet / society too if it’s ok if you tell people about them because with the economy as it is, many people will put their animals second in every aspect and that is just not fair on the animal.
Personally, I think most vets should be open to helping people who are finding it hard and have animals, so not to burden them with financial bills etc. Would be nice if the vets did a free clinic type deal several times a year during a weekend or something – but then, I am not a vet and I don’t run a vet clinic, but if I did, this is what I would do.
my cat is 4 mnths old .. she lost a teeth .. while bitin my hand softli .. is it fine?? or do i have to take her to d vet ?? pls advice asap .. m worried !!
I just noticed today that one of my cats lost most of his teeth. he’s been eating fine but he meowed at me and I saw he was missing one of his canine bottom teeth so I picked him up and looked, omg he’s got like 6 teeth left. he’s due for his shots this month so i was going to take him in a week or so but now i’m scared, i can’t afford a sick cat but i love him, he’s a very nice cat, he has a lot of dog qualities for a cat, when i get home he runs to the edge of the sidewalk and waits for me, he follows me around the house. he’s my most affectionate cat, the other 2 only like me they don’t like my fiance much. i dont want to loose him. hes about 5 or 6, i got him when he was 3 or 4. so I haven’t had him long. :(
Cats can do okay without teeth if you feed them soft food. Take him to the vet though just to make sure it’s not something more serious.
I gave him soft food until his vet appt. he had several teeth removed. poor kitty! he healed quickly though, for a few days after he ate wet food then refused and went back to dry food. the vet said even though he had some removed he healed well and only 1 tooth was not so great but since its the larger bottom tooth she wanted to leave it in or his bottom lip would fold in. she said on his follow up that he’s very healthy and should be ok now. i just felt so bad that he lost so many teeth without me noticing. maybe i could have saved a few of the larger ones. but once in a while when i give him a piece of meat at dinner he’ll manage to bite me, so he’s still able to defend himself if he has to.