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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

This seems pretty urgent to me! I got a wee kitten about 4 months ago. He’s about 6 and a half months old now, but I noticed yesterday his gums were bleeding right at the line of where his teeth come out. I thought perhaps he’d bitten a stick and it had just left a little cut, but now he’s barely eating anything and it’s clear it’s painful for him when he does. He tries to wipe his mouth and meows in a strange way that sounds as if he is very sore. When I look in his mouth (which he doesn’t let me do for long) it seems like his bottom teeth are jutting into his top gum, as if maybe they’re chipped or something. It’s very worrying because normally he is so greedy with food, but now he won’t eat anything.

I also took the time to blend his food up thinking he could just lick it, but he won’t even touch that. My parents are away for a short break and obviously I don’t have the money to take him just to be checked up (since its out of hours) if it’s something silly that would waste the vet’s time. Does it sound like he needs to go? I’m not even really sure what his mouth should look like to know if something is wrong–but there is still bleeding and he has barely eaten in two days.

Please help, I’m very very worried.

~Cathy

Siouxsie: Cats do go through a normal teething process between four and six months of age. Their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth start coming in. Teething can cause pain and discomfort, which can lead to not eating. But this sounds like it’s more serious than ordinary teething issues.

Thomas: If a cat’s baby tooth doesn’t come out when an adult tooth comes out, this can cause problems like broken teeth and pain, which may keep a cat from eating.

Dahlia: Teething kittens do tend to chew anything they can get their mouths on in order to relieve the discomfort caused by erupting teeth. If your kitten chewed a twig or a piece of wood, he may have a splinter in his gum or somewhere else in his mouth or throat. This foreign body may be causing an infection that’s making him even more uncomfortable.

Siouxsie: If there’s any chance your kitten may have had an accident, he may have injured his mouth in the process. Cats can break their jaws if they get hit by a car or if they fall a long distance and hit their chin on the ground as a result.

Thomas: Pawing at the mouth and not being able to eat are clear symptoms that something is wrong and that your cat needs veterinary attention right away.

Dahlia: A kitten that young can’t afford not to eat. Kittens need all the nutrition they can get in order to keep growing and stay healthy.

Siouxsie: Trust me, you’re not going to waste the vet’s time by taking your kitten in for a checkup.

Thomas: It must be pretty frightening that this is happening while your parents are away. If you have a way of contacting them, please call them and let them know your cat is sick and he needs to go to the vet. If you can get him there, that’s good, but they may need to provide credit card information so that they can pay for his treatment.

Dahlia: If you have another relative that lives nearby and who can help you out, that’s another option.

Siouxsie: Call your vet clinic today and tell them what’s going on. They’ll ask you about his symptoms and how long he’s been having those symptoms. They’ll probably tell you to bring him in right away.

Thomas: The chances are good that although this is serious, it’s a problem that will be easily fixed. If he’s got a splinter or other foreign body in his mouth, they’ll remove it (they’ll probably have to sedate him to do that) and give you antibiotics to help get rid of any infection that’s present.

Dahlia: Likewise, if it’s a teething problem, they’ll be able to fix that, probably with pretty much the same treatment.

Siouxsie: If your kitty has hurt or broken his jaw, it may take him a bit longer to heal, but he will be OK in the long run.

Thomas: Kittens are very resilient, and they can heal from almost anything as long as they get proper treatment.

Dahlia: Good luck, Cathy. Please let us know how things turn out.

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