It can be very annoying even if it is our beloved cat who does it: why a cat grinds its teeth and what to do to avoid it.
What does a conscientious and health-conscious owner do for their pets? It just never loses sight of their health and well-being. So if we notice that our beloved kitty starts doing weird things, it’s normal to worry and want to get to the bottom of it. When the cat grinds its teeth it is possible that there is something wrong: in fact, we must never underestimate the phenomenon of bruxism, because it could have devastating consequences.
Feline bruxism: what it is
Although this is a fairly technical term, it seems that this word is becoming more and more common and not only among animal experts. In fact, it is a very frequent attitude even among human beings who, like cats, grit their teeth, close them and move the upper part over the lower one.
This movement causes a very annoying noise, which we generally make (or hear) when we wake up, immediately after a good sleep or a nap. But if in most cases it may be an almost involuntary attitude, in some cases it may be signs of some disease in progress.
The cat grinds its teeth: how is oral health?
The first thing we have to ask ourselves about when a cat grinds its teeth is the health of its mouth and oral hygiene. We know that there are many ways to clean your cat’s teeth, including catnip which, in addition to being useful as a digestive method, refreshes the breath with a delicate minty scent.
Being fundamental tools for chewing and shredding food, it can easily happen that some residues get stuck between them, causing infections or bad breath in the cat .
Moreover, if there are problems or pains in the teeth, it will also be difficult for the cat to continue eating without problems: this could cause loss of appetite and excessive weight loss. Or there could be some problem related to the enamel: this is why it is important to alternate wet and dry food for the cat, so as to accustom the teeth to the varied consistency of the food.
The cat grinds its teeth: possible causes
Let’s see on what occasions it can happen to observe, or hear, the cat grinding its teeth:
- chewing and absorption of food,
- the mouth is inflamed and there is an infection (so chew on one side only),
- jaw problems (subluxation or malocclusion),
- presence of worms (helminths),
- stomatitis or abscesses,
- intoxication (from ingesting something acidic),
- stress and discomfort.
As always, however, it is necessary to evaluate the state of health of the cat as a whole and also note other factors, such as that of the cat’s hypersalivation.
The cat grinds its teeth: when bruxism should worry us
If the causes listed above are more or less resolvable with some precautions or with a little prevention, there are cases in which bruxism is an effect of much more serious pathologies that can condition (and worsen) the state of health of our beloved domestic feline.
The reasons may include those related to the gastrointestinal system and therefore: pancreatitis, gastritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. It can also be a neurological problem, including some cancers, and diseases such as rabies.
In the case of kidney failure, the cat is likely to grind its teeth, but usually this is just one of the symptoms, along with vomiting, dehydration and weight loss, as well as constipation.
What to do in case of bruxism: remedies and advice
As is often advised, the best thing to do is to rely on the hands of an experienced doctor, who will be able to analyze the x-rays and find out the cause of the pain in the teeth.
Various tests and examinations can be very useful in finding out what forces the cat to move its teeth in this way, but above all it serves to understand how to react and how to eliminate the cause. Medicines and medicines could be needed, or even surgery, but it naturally depends on the specific case.
As a prevention it is useful to always take care of the oral hygiene of the cat, to avoid problems, inflammation of the gums and caries. There are also numerous products on the market for felines that stimulate the teeth and keep it strong and healthy.