A Cat’s Teeth: Timetable and Functions………12/09

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    A Cat’s Teeth: Timetable and Functions

    During its lifetime, a cat has two sets of teeth, a

    deciduous set and a permanent set. Kittens have 26

    deciduous teeth (molars are absent); adult cats have

    a total of 30 teeth.

    Deciduous or “milk teeth” begin to appear when the

    kitten is about four weeks of age. At six weeks of

    age all 26 deciduous teeth are present. From 11 to

    30 weeks of age, kittens lose their deciduous teeth.

    During this time they may eat less because of sore


    When the deciduous teeth fall out, they are replaced

    by 30 permanent teeth. The permanent teeth should be

    in place by about six months of age.

    A cat’s teeth are well-suited to rip and cut. Twelve

    tiny teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors): six

    in the upper jaw, six in the lower jaw do some scrap-

    ing. They are flanked by two upper and two lower

    canines, sometimes described as “fangs,” designed to

    hold prey and to tear flesh. Ten sharp premolars and

    four molars act together to cut food.

    A cat occasionally retains a deciduous tooth after

    the permanent tooth appears. This deciduous tooth

    should be removed as soon as possible to avoid dis-

    placing the permanent tooth.

    Extra teeth are occasionally found in cats. They

    should be removed by a veterinarian if they cause

    crowding or injury to soft tissue or other teeth.

    Examining The Skin Coat And Weight

    Unfortunately, when your cat is sick, it can’t tell

    you – so it’s up to you as a pet owner to train your-

    self to be observant. A good way to keep tabs on your

    pet’s health is to make an informal, physical exam

    part of your weekly cat-care routine.

    Coat and Skin

    Your cat’s coat should be unbroken, smooth and soft

    to the touch. Its skin should be clean and free of

    sores, rashes and eczema. A healthy cat grooms itself

    regularly and rarely has matted hair.

    To examine your cat’s skin and coat, part the fur in

    several places all over the body including the legs,

    neck, chin and head. Signs to look for are a dull

    coat or dry skin, excessive shedding (except in

    spring), lumps or masses, swelling, bald patches,

    open sores, excessive parasite infestation and

    intense biting or scratching at the skin.

    “In states like California, Florida and Texas, fleas

    have the warmth to live year-round and the biggest

    skin problems by far is flea allergy dermatitis,”

    says Thomas Elston, a veterinarian in private

    practice in Irvine, California. “It usually starts

    as tiny scabs around the neck and at the base of

    the tail. Patches of hair loss or brittle, broken

    hairs can accompany it. If the condition goes un-

    treated, it can eventually involve the entire body.”

    You should also check the spaces between the digits

    on your cat’s paws. If your cat spends time outdoors,

    briars, stones, foxtail, sand and the salt that is

    used for melting snow can easily irritate the inter-

    digital area.


    Veterinarians estimate that 30 percent or more of pet

    cats in the United States are overweight. Obese cats

    have a greater incidence of liver problems, heart dis-

    ease, diabetes, pancreatitis and arthritis.

    One way to determine if your cat needs to lose weight

    is by doing a “body condition score” on it.

    “If your cat is in good body condition you should be

    able to rub your hands over the rib cage and with

    gentle pressure you should be able to count each of

    the ribs,” says Dottie Laflamme, a veterinary

    nutritionist the Ralston Purina Company in St. Louis,

    Missouri. “If you’re looking down at the cat, behind

    the ribs there should be an indentation at the waist.

    When you look at it from the side, they belly should

    be tucked up somewhat and should not be dragging on

    the ground.”


    Myth: A cat’s sense of balance is in its whiskers.

    Fact: Cats use their whiskers as “feelers” but not

    to maintain their balance.


    Sent to me by email.



    Tks for this scarver!



    Tres interestement, Scarver! Merci beaucoup!



    Very interesting…I think I’d better check though…mine might be getting that chubby thing started..



    More great “scraps” and cat health info Scarver. I would love to hear more about the cats claw and its functions sometime if you should stumble across some info. Cat information is always so interesting to me!

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