Carnivorous and Deciduous

Concerning Cat mouths

Cat, with its mouth open

Cat, with its mouth open (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now we will look at a carnivore’s mouth, the cat mouth.  Cats are “diphyodont”, which means they have two sets of teeth, the deciduous teeth shed and are replaced by the second, permanent set. Kittens are born with no teeth. At about 3 to 4 weeks of age, the deciduous teeth begin to erupt. By 6 weeks of age, all 26 deciduous teeth are present. At 4 to 5 months of age, the deciduous teeth are lost and the permanent teeth erupt. By six months, all of the adult teeth will have erupted.  Adult cats have four types of teeth. The incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. In the upper jaw (the maxilla), there are 6 little incisors, two canines, three premolars, and one molar. The incisors are used mainly for picking up objects and for grooming. The canines are used for holding prey, and for slashing and tearing when fighting. Premolars function mainly for breaking food into small pieces, as well as for carrying and holding. The molars have flat surfaces and are used to grind food into small pieces. In the lower jaw (the mandible) you’ll find the same number of incisors, canines and molars, however, there are only two premolars instead of three. The total number of permanent teeth in a cat is 30. Ultimately, cat’s mouths are perfect for the carnivorous little felines.

To see more cat anatomy, click here to watch my video.

5 thoughts on “Carnivorous and Deciduous

  1. catskilled says:

    The ingredients of the food our cats have are 100% biological. I remember the sound of one of the Sisters chewing on a mouse. “Toothbrush!”, as the vet said.

  2. Lavinia Ross says:

    Have they covered anything in your classes yet about feline odontoclastic resporptive lesions and their causes?

    • vetintrainin says:

      That is actually a very common disease in cats, usually targeting siamese and persian cats. Treatment is limited to tooth extraction as the lesion is progressive. “Type 1” lesions are focal defects often caused by local inflammation. “Type 2” lesions are characterized by a generalized loss of root radiopacity on a dental radiograph. The definitive cause of type 2 is unknown, but histologically destruction of the cementum and other mineralized tissue of the tooth root by odontoclasts is seen. I hope this helps 🙂

      • Lavinia Ross says:

        Yes – thank you for distinguishing between type 1 and type 2 for me. I was curious as to whether FORL type 2 might be caused due to insufficient “weight bearing activity” on teeth and jaw. Do they see more of this type in cats on a wet food diet?

      • vetintrainin says:

        Not that I know, I am pretty sure that the type of food doesn’t matter as long as the ingredients are good.

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