9 December, 2008 at 3:59 pm #22837
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-
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
FROM THE “CAT SCRAPS” FILE:
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.9 December, 2008 at 4:07 pm #339531
Tks for this scarver!9 December, 2008 at 4:23 pm #339532
Tres interestement, Scarver! Merci beaucoup!9 December, 2008 at 4:31 pm #339533
Very interesting…I think I’d better check though…mine might be getting that chubby thing started..9 December, 2008 at 5:16 pm #339534
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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