Updated April 2019
We take such good care of our cats and as a result that they are living longer, so it is somewhat expected that there will be age related health issues. This includes periodontal or gum disease plus other oral health issues in cats. Your cat may need to have a tooth extracted or all teeth extracted and you worry about how your cat will manage with less teeth or no teeth.
As humans, we think that a cat losing some or all of its teeth will make eating difficult because that is what happens to us. There’s no false teeth for cats. Yet!
In fact, cats don't use their teeth for grinding food in the same way that we do. They use their teeth for tearing and ripping as they would have done when hunting prey in the wild.The good news is is that your senior cat can still eat quite adequately even with teeth challenges.
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The solution is to give your senior cat, reasonably small chunks of food so that no tearing or ripping is required.
Surprisingly to us, cats can get along quite well with no teeth as they do not chew or grind food. As long as the pieces are small enough and tender, your cat with dental problems will be able to eat quite satisfactorily.
Because your senior cat needs moisture and may not drink as much as he did once, canned wet food is a good choice and some fresh protein when possible.
Note: Dry food can still be eaten by old cats with no teeth, however as a main dietary source, dry food for older cats is not recommended. Dry food by nature contains carbohydrates which are difficult for a cat to digest. If you cat has developed feline diabetes, as our elderly cat has, carbohydrates are off the menu or strictly limited to a treat.
We have reviewed four canned cat food varieties that fit the following criteria
Food To Suit Older Cats With Bad Teeth
This cat food is grain free so although we are primarily concerned with cats with no teeth, grain free is also an important consideration for aging cats as carbohydrates are difficult for cats to digest. As cats age excess carbohydrates can lead to other health problems.
Remember that animal protein should be the major source of the cats diet as cats are obligate carnivores so plant protein is not a consideration when feeding cats.
The Hill's Science Diet consists of different products, wet canned food and dry food for cats.
The wet food has the advantage of containing moisture that cats need plus it is suitable for old cats with bad teeth. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives.
Depending on the age of your cat, one product is specifically formulated for cats aged 11 plus and another range of products with far more variety than the 11 plus range is called the aged 7 plus range. Both varieties are canned food and all have gravy.
Cats can get periodontal disease (gum disease) which can cause pain.
If you are unsure about this please take your cat to the vet as there are other oral diseases that can cause pain for cats. Plus your cat won’t show his pain.
Keep an eye out for drooling, red gums or a lack of appetite.
If your cat does have to have a tooth or teeth extracted it will be far better for the cat to be living without pain plus you know that he can still eat without teeth.
Most owners do not really know what the inside of their cat’s mouth looks like.
It is often not until the cat has teeth or gum related issues that we go to the vet for a check up and become acquainted with the teeth, that we find out what they are called and where they are.
Maybe your cat is or has been a rat catcher and you have seen the results of a rat execution.
It almost looks surgical in precision so those teeth are made for specific purposes.
This diagram shows the upper and lower position of cat teeth.
Food To Suit Older Cats With Bad Teeth
Royal Canin is the number one choice because not only is it specifically formulated for aging cats with poor teeth, it also has other nutrients for senior cats. As our cats age it is often not one ailment like poor teeth, it is usually accompanied by joint problems or kidney problems or diabetes so often more than one factor needs to be considered.
You may find that costs associated with caring for your senior cat have risen as more specialized products are needed to keep him healthy, active and content.
It is comforting to know that even without teeth your cat can still eat comfortably and meet dietary requirements.
Tip: When giving your cat canned wet food, try adding a small amount of ground or minced beef or chicken. Even if the meat is not ground it can be sliced into thin slices and added to the canned food or used half and half. This will provide an extra source of protein for your old cat. Their protein needs increase as they age.
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Sometimes elderly cats need to be contained for their own safety (even if they get cross).
Elderly cats lose their agility and often suffer in silence with arthritis. They need a litter box with a low entrance.