Have you ever seen the teeth of a cat? Teeth in cats actually have some similarities to your teeth! According to PetMD cats, like humans, have a set of baby teeth that they lose and are replaced by adult teeth. A kitten will have 26 baby teeth and 30 permanent teeth. By comparison, humans have 20 baby teeth and 32 permanent teeth.
Also, like a human, cats have different kinds of teeth. House cats teeth consist of incisors, canines, pre-molars and molars, just like us!
The most noticeable teeth are the cat fangs, which are actually the cats canine teeth! A cats fangs are very sharp and long because they are designed for hunting. PetsRadar says a cats sharp teeth means they can kill prey more effectively and eat it quickly. Of course, it also means that a cat bite is very painful, and you may need medical attention if those cat fangs puncture your skin!
A cats incisors are their front teeth, and they are much less impressive than their fangs. They are very small, but they are there, and are important to cats when grooming and when picking things up according to PetMD.
Behind the canine teeth are the pre-molars. According to PetsRadar, a cat uses it's pre-molars to chew food down to the right size for swallowing. Then at the back come the cats molars. They are smaller and tougher and a cat uses them in the wild to crunch bones (and in our homes to crunch kibble.)
Cats have similar kinds of teeth to us, but they don't chew in the same way. PetsRadar says that unlike our jaws, which can move up and down and also side to side in order to chew our food, a cat can only move it's jaw up and down, so they have to use more pressure to grind and tear their food into swallowable pieces.
Unlike us, cats don't get cavities. PetMD says this is because cats teeth don't have any "occlusal tables" which means horizontal surfaces. Unlike a lot of us, they also don't eat a lot of sugary treats, so the bacteria that cause cavities in humans don't thrive on cat's teeth. PetMD says the only cavities ever reported in a cat are from a fossil from the 13th century!
It is still important to take care of your cats teeth though because, like us, cats can get gum disease and oral cancers. Cats are also prone to something called resorption, which is a painful breakdown of the structure of the tooth itself. To help keep your cat's chompers in tip-top shape, you can make sure they have crunchy treats that help scrape off tartar, or many people even brush their cats teeth! PetMD says many cats can be trained for teeth brushing with some patience and consistency. If you do decide to brush your cat's teeth, never use human toothpaste! Fluoride can be potentially fatal for cats, so look for a toothpaste made specifically for cats to brush your cats teeth with!
When you bring your cat to the vet for a check up, it's a good idea to ask them to check your cat's teeth while you are there. It's also important to watch out for signs like drooling, pawing at the mouth, or avoiding food, because cats are notorious for hiding their pain. PetMD also says to look for redness in their gums and bad breath as tell tale signs of oral problems with your cat. If you notice any of these, a trip to the vet is in order!
If your vet does find that your cat has dental issues, they may need to extract a tooth or teeth . If that's the case, don't worry, your cat can still eat! PetMD says cats can still eat wet food even without any teeth and many can even still eat dry food. It is more important for your cat to have a pain free mouth than it is for them to have all of their teeth!
Now you know the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth about cat's teeth!