One rather common question that I can about my cat is “How does your cat eat with no teeth?”
My cat has lost the majority of his teeth except for one canine and a few molars. I will share what happened a little later.
Having a cat with little to no teeth is a lot more common than you think. If your poor cat has recently had most or all of its chompers removed, I can feel your concern.
How do you feed and care for a cat with no teeth?
Caring for a cat with no teeth isn’t very much different than a cat with teeth. Most cats can adapt quickly to their current condition. However, you can consider changing up your cat’s diet to make it easier for it to eat.
In this article, I will be sharing some dietary tips that can help your cat and what can cause a cat to lose its teeth.
How Many Teeth Does A Cat Have?
You will rather surprised to know that your cat has almost the same number of teeth as you.
30 for cats and 32 for a human.
Your feline friend starts with 26 baby teeth which will start to fall out around 4 months of age.
These baby cat teeth will then be replaced by your cat’s permanent adult teeth.
Your cat will eventually have:
- 12 incisors
- 4 canines
- 10 pre-molars
- 4 molars
Can A Cat Survive With No Teeth?
Yes, most definitely.
Your cat won’t just stop eating and starve itself to death just because it has no teeth.
It can be hard to imagine your cat with no teeth as cats are amazing hunters and rely on their sharp teeth and claws for food.
Your cat is a lot more adaptable than you can ever imagine.
There’s no need for you to panic as your cat can still be happy and lead a good life.
It is normal for many cats to lose one or more teeth as they get older or due to health issues.
My cat lost the majority of his teeth when he was about 5 years old.
He is a FeLV cat when I adopted him from the shelter and it’s a virus that weakens his immune system.
His gums started getting so bad that he had problems eating.
The vet had no choice but to remove the majority of his teeth. Most of his canine teeth were removed and molars.
He only has one canine left which makes him look like an angry pirate as the tooth will poke into my cat’s lip at times.
What Do You Feed A Cat With No Teeth?
I’m going to break down the three most common cat diets and how you can make them easier on your cat’s mouth.
Dry Food Or Kibbles
Dry food or kibbles has always been a popular diet for many cat owners due to its convenience and affordability.
A survey conducted on several cat owners showed that close to 76% of them fed their cats kibbles.
I’m not a fan of such a diet which I will explain a little later.
But if your cat only has the appetite for kibbles and has recently lost its teeth, here are some ways to help your cat.
Add Some Broth
One downside about kibbles for a cat with no teeth is the texture. Dry food feels like little pebbles due to the lack of moisture in them.
This can make it hard on your cat’s gums or mouth if it’s still in the process of healing.
You can soften it up by adding some homemade broth.
My cat loves either chicken or tuna broth which is simple to make at home.
Please don’t use human grades ones as those contain a lot of salt and flavoring.
The broth will soften up the kibbles into softer pellets which makes it easier for your cat to eat.
It would be good to soak the dry food for about 30 minutes before meal time as it takes a while for them to soften up.
Grind It Down
If you have a real fussy puss that doesn’t even like broth, you can grind down the kibbles to make it easier to eat.
A word of caution here.
Don’t grind down your cat’s kibbles until it resembles flour. I know that’s easier for your cat to eat but it can mess up your cat’s nose if it inhales the fine particles.
Even if your cat is a careful eater, it might not like the powdery texture.
If you want to add some water to turn the kibble power into a paste-like mixture, that is fine. But don’t feed your cat in pure powder form.
When grinding down the kibbles, just do it to a breadcrumb consistency which is safer for your cat.
Cats don’t chew their food like we do even though they have molars. Their teeth are meant for pulling and shearing meat rather than grinding.
They tend to swallow their food pieces whole.
They say that the proof is in the pudding for in your cat’s case, it is in the regurgitated food.
Use Freeze Dried Food
I do find freeze-dried food a much healthier alternative to dry food. It is basically uncooked raw food that has been made into dry pellets or cubes.
It goes through a process to extract all the moisture from the food before freezing it.
You will need to rehydrate the freeze-dried food before feeding it to your cat.
The texture when moist is very similar to adding water or broth to your cat’s kibbles. So this makes the transition to freeze-dried much easier for many cats.
Why Dry Food Is Bad For Your Cat?
If you care for your cat’s health, please stop feeding it kibbles.
It is something that I echo in my of my articles and for good reason.
The lack of moisture and sub-par ingredients used in the making of dry food can take a toll on your cat’s health over the long-term.
Cats need more water daily for healthy kidneys and dry food contains a lot of carbohydrates that your cat doesn’t need and can’t digest.
Dry food is bad for your cat. Period.
If your cat is already on wet food before having its teeth removed, it should adapt rather quickly back to its wet or canned food.
The good thing about wet food is that it is a lot softer and moist in texture which makes it easier for your cat to eat or swallow.
Some types of wet food are rather chunky so you might wanna use a spoon or fork and mash it down a little.
A lumpier meal might be better than a pate texture as the latter tends to stick to your cat’s upper palate.
This can make your cat retch or gag as it tries to dislodge the food that is stuck there.
Last but not least, we come to the raw food diet which is the diet that my cat is on and one that I highly recommend to all cat and dog owners to try at least once.
It is the most natural diet for your cat.
The good thing about the raw food diet for cats with no teeth is that it can be easily adjusted for each cat.
If your cat used to eat big chunks of raw meat, your can cut up the meat into smaller pieces.
My cat has been eating minced eat ever since he lost most of his teeth and he’s fine with it. It doesn’t stick to his upper palate as mushy dry or wet food would.
Do Not Feed Cooked Bones
I know of many raw food feeders that give their cats raw bones as part of the meal. It can be hard for your cat to crush the bones now without teeth.
The next best method is to add some grinder-down pasteurized eggshells to your cat’s food for calcium.
Never feed your cat cooked bones as that can cause more danger to your cat’s internal organs.
Why Would A Cat Have No Teeth?
Many cats lose their teeth due to having some form of dental disease.
Up to 90% of cats have some form of dental disease once they are older than 4 years old.
It is a staggering number and one that is overlooked by many cat owners.
The common oral diseases in cats are:
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth resorption
These issues can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to your cat’s gums and oral cavity.
- Red and inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loss of appetite
- Constant pawing at the mouth
- Bad breath
If your cat is showing the above symptoms, please take it to the vet for a check-up before it leads to other health complications.
How To Keep My Cat’s Teeth Healthy?
They say prevention is better than cure and it is definitely true when it comes to your cat’s oral hygiene.
There are a few ways to keep your cat’s teeth and gums in great shape.
Feed A High-Quality Diet
The first and most important thing to do is to feed your cat a good diet.
Dry food or kibbles contain a lot of carbs and sugar that are bad for your cat’s teeth. This leads to the formation of plaque and tartar which causes dental disease.
Your cat should at the very least be on wet food.
But do seriously consider feeding your cat a raw meat diet as that is the most natural diet for cats.
Give your bigger chunks of meat and some raw ones to give its teeth and gums and good workout.
Brush Your Cats Teeth
The second way is to brush your cat’s teeth regularly.
I know many of us cat owners would rather stand in front of a moving bus than attempt to clean our cat’s teeth, myself included.
But it has to be done.
Start brushing your cat’s teeth as early as possible. Do it when it is still a kitten so that you will have less of an issue when it gets older.
Use only pet-friendly tooth taste as our toothpaste contains Xylitol which is very toxic to cats.
Regular Dental Checkups
Last but no not least, don’t let up on the regular dental visits for your cat.
If your cat is prone to dental health issues, it is good to have the vet check your cat’s teeth and gums for any signs of trouble.