Skip to main content
Vet tech inspecting cats mouth

Adult cats and dental disease

Q: Frankie, my 8-year-old cat, is eating less dry food, though he still has a good appetite for canned food. Sometimes when he crunches his kibble, he tilts his head or drops some food. What’s going on?

A: It sounds like Frankie suffers oral pain when he chomps down on his dry food. Most likely, he has a problem with his teeth and gums called periodontal disease. Less likely, he could have an oral mass.

Periodontal disease occurs in 70 percent of cats over age two, but because it’s usually not obvious until it causes pain, it’s often overlooked.

Start by making an appointment with your veterinarian for an oral exam and treatment of whatever problems are found. Periodontal disease will require anesthesia and removal of plaque and tartar on the teeth and below the gums. Extractions may be necessary to preserve Frankie’s oral health.

After his professional dentistry care, gradually transition Frankie to a dental diet approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Their website, vohc.org, lists diets, treats, water additives and other products that control plaque and tartar.         

Poultry-flavored pet toothpaste from your finger or a small toothbrush. Then gradually accustom him to having his teeth brushed. Daily home care and periodic professional dental care will help keep Frankie healthy and free from oral pain.

Editor’s Note: Excessive drooling and avoidance for eating may be signs of dental disease in cats. Dr. Lee discusses various oral issues with a concerned cat parent.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

Man sitting on bench with his dog

We believe that seeking out the best...

Small dog being examined by veterinarian

At Figo, we hear this question often...

What do the Cockapoo, the Puggle, the...

Dog receiving treat from woman

August 8th is #NationalCBD day! At Figo...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Woman with dog looking at tablet

Since 2017 Americans have spent between $17...

Small dog sits in front of steps of house

Moving from a 2 bedroom condo in the city to...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...