Why do cats need dental care?

For animals that are so independent, it can come as a surprise to cat owners that they need to take their cats for regular dental check-ups. While cats in the wild may not need plaque removal, there are good reasons for domestic cats to get their teeth attended to.

Overall longer life expectancy

Domestic cats are protected from many of the causes of reduced life in wild cats, including diseases and attacks from predator animals. As domestic cats do not often die young from these sorts of causes, this puts pressure on their single set of teeth to last longer in a domestic setting than in the wild. For this reason it is sensible to get the cat's teeth seen to and excessive build-up removed.

Changed diet

Cats in the wild eat small prey including many herbivores. They have a combination of soft flesh, small bones and the grains inside their prey's stomach. Cats in a domestic setting are often subject to a less varied diet and in many cases a stickier and less healthy diet. This can cause food scraps to build in the gaps between teeth and accelerate decay. Excessive decay can lead to cats losing teeth and require progressively softer foods that they can 'gum' rather than chew.

Equally curious cats that chew on tougher items such as metal chains can sometimes find that they fracture eyeteeth, which can also lead to infection. If your cat has a tendency to chew on some non-food options but suddenly seems to be reluctant to chew, it can be well-worth exploring if they have dental damage.

Side effects of infections

Infected teeth can lead to abscesses for cats, in a similar way that dental infections in humans can lead to abscesses. Abscesses can become inflamed and throw infection into the bloodstream leading to infection in the greater organs including the heart. This can act to lower the life expectancy of your cat by causing other chronic and life-reducing infections. It can be sensible to remove infected teeth in this case, and give the cats antibiotics to control infections in the interim.

As you can see, while cats in the wild do not need regular dental check-ups, it's extremely important for caring pet owners to bring in their domestic cats for regular dental check-ups. Talk with a veterinarian at a place like Kingston Animal Hospital to learn more about pet dentistry.