Can Cats With No Teeth Live Full Lives?

a small striped cat eating kibble

Can Cats With No Teeth Live Full Lives?

Dr. Briggs and I see a lot of cats that have generalized gingivitis, gingivostomatitis, and/or tooth resorption.  In each of these cases, the treatment plan is to remove the affected teeth. With the first two disease processes, surgical extraction of all teeth (or sometimes behind the canine teeth) will allow the pet to heal. So the question is how is this possible?  I hear all the time, “Can cats with no teeth live full lives?”  Or even better, “How is my cat going to eat going forward with no teeth?”   These two questions are really not that bad to ask, as the layperson would assume that a cat needs most if not all teeth to eat soft food, no less dry food.

Photo of Cat’s Teeth with a Dental Disease


Can Cats Without Teeth Eat Well?


The answer to both questions is simply that they will eat like champs!  I have been a veterinary dentist for a very long time, and I have never seen a cat not return to what type of food they were accustomed to prior to oral surgery, either dry or wet. Immediately post-operatively, cats are encouraged to eat canned food, ideally shaved food that they can like easily.  For those cats that have never eaten canned food before, I recommend they start this new diet BEFORE oral surgery so they can get acclimated to their new diet.  There is even a medication I can prescribe that you can place on your cat’s ear once daily or every three days to induce appetite.  It’s like getting a marijuana brownie or gummy to give your cat the munchies.

Therefore, cats will be on canned for for 10-14 days postoperatively.  However, for those cats that love hard food over dry, the revolt at home starts roughly at day 10 when they feel much better and then want to go back to their dry food.  It happens all the time and I hear story after story of cats with absolutely no teeth in their mouth wanting to go back to hard food.  And guess what, they love it and eat it!


Our Team is Here to Answer Your Questions!


When you come in for a consult with us, talk to us about this.  We’ll walk you off the ledge and you’ll feel a lot better about proceeding with oral surgery.  The final thing is this…you will have a new cat and they will have a new lease on life!   They will feel much better after surgery and be able to live the life they were intended to live, but now without pain! So yes, cats with no teeth can live full lives!


Barden Greenfield, DVM, DAVDC    Your Pet of Nashville


Photo by Itsmesher from Pexels