As cat owners, we take pride in knowing that our cats are in good health. It is also good to examine your cat from head to toe for any signs of abnormalities.
When examing your cat’s mouth, you might find black spots on your cat’s gums.
Is this something that you need to be concerned about?
Finding black spots on your cat’s gums is much more common than many cat owners realize. This can be due to just a case of pigmented skin or lentigo simplex. It can also be due to dental disease which will require medical attention.
This article aims to put your mind at ease, providing you with comprehensive information about the potential causes and implications of these peculiar spots.
Why Does My Cat Have Black Spots On Its Gums?
Finding black spots on your cat’s gum can be an alarming sight for many cat owners. We tend to associate anything black as being a grave medical condition.
However, some of the causes of the black spots are benign while others need to be checked by the vet.
1. Pigmented Skin And Fur
Pigmented skin can be found in both humans and animals. This is what gives us our skin, hair and eye colors.
And in our cats, the difference in pigmentation gives rise to a large variety of fur colors in the feline world.
Pigmentation is largely due to a chemical called melanin which are pigment-producing cells in the skin.
Melanin comes in two forms, eumelanin and phaeomelanin.
Eumelanin will produce brown and black patches while phaeomelanin will result in red and yellow patches on cats.
Piebaldism is another pigmentation process that shows up in cats with white patches on their fur, usually bicolored.
This is what causes a black cat to have a white spot on its chest and can be seen in other animals as well like horses and goats.
The color of your cat will largely be determined by the amount of eumelanin and phaeomelanin that it has in its body.
Think of it as just a cosmetic condition in your cat.
The dark or black spots in your cat’s gums are likely due to the presence of more eumelanin in that area.
My cat’s gums have been pretty much black or dark brown in color ever since he was a kitten.
He also has a few dark patches on the roof of his mouth.
Your cat might even start to develop more pigmented spots as the cat ages. Just like humans having more freckles or sun spots in our older years.
I’ve asked a couple of cat owners to take a closer look at their cat’s mouths and the majority reported seeing the same dark spots as well.
2. Lentigo Simplex
For those of you with an orange cat, finding black spots on your cat’s gum is common.
These black or dark brown spots are caused by a benign condition called lentigo simplex.
These lentigo spots are caused by an increase in epidermal melanocytes which are pigment-producing cells in your cat’s skin.
When these pigment-producing cells multiply, it leads to hyperpigmentation which explains the black spots.
The black spots can be found not only on the cat’s gums but also on the anus of some orange-colored cats.
You can notice lentigo spots in orange cats as young as a year old but it tends to appear more frequently in older cats.
Don’t be surprised to find black spots on your cat’s paws too.
Orange fur seems to be the main denominator for cats with lentigo simplex.
Orange tabbies are also known to love cuddles. There’s no such thing as too much attention for these cuddle bugs.
Is Lentigo In Cats Dangerous?
Lentigo is a benign skin condition in cats and is not considered dangerous in cats.
These black spots are also commonly found in calico and tortoiseshell cats.
Think of it as a cosmetic issue that can start to get more noticeable as your cat gets older.
3. Gum Disease
Do you know that up to 90% of cats that are four years of age or older suffer from dental disease?
Not many cat owners tend to pay attention to their cat’s oral hygiene.
It is one of those health problems that you will only notice once it gets bad.
The most common form of dental disease in cats is called gingivitis.
This happens when the gum linings in your cat’s mouth start to become red and inflamed.
This is due to the build-up of plague on the cat’s teeth which starts to attack the gums causing pain and discomfort.
Gingivitis can be taken care of by taking your cat to the vet and having its teeth and gums cleaned.
Otherwise, it can lead to periodontitis which attacks the tissues that connect the tooth to the gums.
Periodontitis cannot be reversed and the affected tooth will most probably have to be extracted.
Although most gum diseases are identified by redness around the gum area, it is also possible to see black spots and bleeding in serious cases.
How To Prevent Dental Diseases In Cats?
The best way to prevent dental issues in your cat is with regular bushing.
I know most cat owners would rather pull their own teeth than brush their cat’s teeth but it is a necessary evil.
When brushing your cat’s teeth, please do not ever use toothpaste meant for humans as it contains a chemical compound called Xylitol which is found in artificial sweeteners.
Xylitol is highly toxic to cats and can be life-threatening.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is caused by prolonged sun exposure.
The damaging sun rays will cause the cells in the skin to mutate and form cancerous cells.
Fortunately, this condition is very rare in cats as they don’t get a lot of sun exposure but it can still happen.
Melanoma spots appear as black spots or lumps on your cat’s gums, skin and facial areas.
When You Should Bring Your Cat To The Vet?
In most cases, the causes of black spots on your cat’s gums don’t require medical treatment especially if it’s due to your cat’s natural pigmentation.
However, you should be on the lookout for spots that are raised, bleeding, inflamed or oozing pus.
This could mean an underlying medical issue that needs to be seen and treated by the vet.
It would be best to take your cat to the vet immediately as conditions like melanoma can be very aggressive and invasive in cats which can spread quickly without medical intervention.