Pets Are Important Too

Is Your Cat's Irritability Due To Dental Disease?

by Aurore Fontai

Cats can lash out for a wide variety of reasons, but most pet owners know how to ease most of the stresses that cause cats to be irritable. If you've already taken steps to make your home more comfortable and secure for your cat and they're still lashing out, it could be due to dental disease. Read on to learn how this can make your cat have violent mood swings and what you can do about it.

Cats Hide Pain

Dental disease can be hard to detect if you don't know what you're looking for, and cats often hide the fact that they're hurting. The reason behind this is that cats have evolved as predators in the wild. In order to appear strong and to protect themselves from other predators, they do their best to avoid appearing weak and infirm. As a result, your cat is more likely to lash out and act violent if it's in pain than to seem depressed or to physically indicate where its pain is. As a result, cats may come off as generically irritable when they're undergoing pain from dental disease. Your cat may be suddenly less friendly with other pets, or even lash out when they were initially being affectionate with you.

If you don't know why your cat is acting out, keep reading to learn how to detect dental disease.

Detecting Dental Disease

Dental disease can be discovered at home in a variety of ways. Cats who are in enough discomfort to lash out will typically show additional symptoms, like these:

  • Bad Breath - If your cat has chronically bad breath, especially if it doesn't just smell like the food they're eating, that could be a sign of dental disease.

  • Bleeding Gums - If your cat doesn't respond violently to having its mouth handled, try gently pulling up your cat's lip. Take a look at their gums and look for signs of swelling and bleeding.

  • Yellowing Teeth - Lastly, cats' teeth can decay just like humans' do. If your cat's teeth are overly yellow or brown, it's a sure sign that tooth decay has begun and that it could be hurting your cat.

If you uncover any of these symptoms, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible for dental care.

Treatment and Prevention

Dental care with a veterinarian typically includes two things: a thorough cleaning, and if necessary, tooth extractions. Your veterinarian will perform an in-depth examination in order to determine if your cat has dental disease, and if so, how bad it is. Your vet will then work with you to choose a treatment plan that will effectively reverse the symptoms and get your kitty back to normal.

Once your cat's dental disease has been reversed, it's up to you to help prevent it from coming back. You will need to start brushing your cat's teeth at home. You should also plan on making regular stops at your veterinarian's office for dental cleanings to prevent dental disease from progressing to the point where extractions are necessary or pain occurs.

Dental disease can cause serious problems for your cat, including inexplicable irritability. Even the nicest cat can lash out if they're in constant, chronic pain. Talk to a veterinarian, such as at Apple Valley Animal Hospital, to curb and prevent dental disease.