Cat Dentistry

Cat Dentistry

I just dropped Kat off at the Animal Hospital for what I thought was just a dental cleaning, but apparently he has very bad gingivitis and needs to have 4 teeth extracted. FOUR TEETH! I feel awful. Then I’ll have to give him anti-bacterial pills afterwards, which neither of us are looking forward to. The doctor’s assistant just called and said that they want to run a test for feline leukemia to see if his immune system has been compromised, as he’s a young cat and shouldn’t have such bad teeth at his age. And that’s all I know. It is going to be a long day. Kate, on the other hand, is just fine.

On a side note, this is the first time that someone directly under my care is underdoing a serious diagnostic and surgical procedure, and I can’t help but notice that the feeling is a little different than when it’s for someone else who can take care of themselves. So this is quite probably one of those empathy-building moments that marks the continued transition from happy-go-lucky kid to responsible adult. In these cases, there really isn’t any question about what to do when it comes to the well-being of the people and pets that are close to you. Up to now, I’d had the implicit assumption that everyone was pretty much taking care of themselves, cats included. That really isn’t necessarily the case, I’m now realizing…a very strange sensation, and new. It is also somehow very clarifying.


  1. Larry Myers 18 years ago

    I can sympathize, David.  I remember when I had to to take the long-time family cat to be put to sleep after she wasn’t getting better from serious kidney problems due to old age.  I’d like to think that holding on to your long-time pet / friend while the vet does the injection is about as bad as it gets.


  2. Bruce 18 years ago

    Dave, this sounds familiar. Pill-giving can be hazardous to cat owners; I’ve received a puncture wound to a finger tip trying to ram the pill home… they infect readily. My advice is not force it; I found burying the pill inside a small block of soft cheese the most effective solution, but I suggest a “taste test” first as the cat might actually like it. This advice is based on experience with laxative administration. We were told to put the paste onto her paw, and she’d lick it off. What happened is that she flicked it off, so we ended up with laxative spread around the kitchen walls to knee height. Not good. But then I discovered she’d happily eat the paste straight off of my finger, which was much kinder on the walls (and cat). Moral of the story: the vet doesn’t always know best… your cat is an individual.

  3. Dave Seah 18 years ago

    Larry: Thanks dude…that scenario is something I had to consider when I got pets for the first time. Didn’t get a pet for the longest time, but I came to believe I was being very self-limiting… however, this is the first real test of that for me with the cats. But I am now thinking this is something I should keep to myself for a while…no sense in dwelling over it.

    Bruce: That is very interesting and useful advice…thanks! Kat actually likes licking things, so we’ll have to see if that’s a viable option.

  4. Wade Winningham 18 years ago

    Last year, my cat had to have 2 teeth extracted for the same reason. I’m sure your cat will get over it and be back to normal in no time. I always laugh at the saying on the wall in my vet’s office: “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”

  5. Joan 18 years ago

    My guy cat also has/had bad teeth. No good reason, but he was happier when they were removed. I mix smashed pills into some babyfood (chicken or turkey) when he’s being stuborn about taking pills. Babyfood also works on cats with no appetites.

  6. beth 18 years ago

    I hope everything turns out okay for the little guy.

  7. Bridget 18 years ago

    Thinking of you and Kat (and Kate!)… PetSmart had these little salmon pill-pocket treats that you could tuck a pill in, and there’s a compouding pharmacy near you that can make little flavored cat treats with medicine in them, though that’s kinda expensive. We can show you the ones we had made. Let us know how the test goes :) Gotta love those furry buddies!

  8. Dave Seah 18 years ago

    Thanks all! Kat had a VERY BAD mouth…it deteriorated very rapidly from the last visit he had, and he had five teeth extracted :( But he tested negative for FLEV so that is a relief. He’ll be on painkillers for the next 4 days and anti-bacterial pills for the next 3 weeks. Right now he’s confined to a room, because he’s kind of wobbly.

  9. Alvin 18 years ago

    Awww, I love cats! Hope Kat’s doing better soon.

  10. keith 18 years ago

    Here’s wishing him and you the best.