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cat teeth grinding

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by kittybea, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. kittybea

    kittybea PetForums Newbie

    Mar 17, 2019
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    Good morning everyone, I have an 8 month-old kitten named Spaghetti and she has been grinding her teeth quite commonly. After some online research i've realized this can be caused by a number of illnesses and generally physical pain.

    However, she has been grinding her teeth ever since she was a baby, and she shows no other sign of pain or illness, besides being very young and most of the illnesses only affecting older cats.

    She is a happy cat, although nervous - my older cat can be a little mean to her.

    Could the teeth grinding be caused by anxiety or teeth misalignment ?

    Thank you
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Hello @kittybea and welcome :)

    Teeth grinding in cats has a physical cause and I haven't heard of it being caused by anxiety. However, a cat who is living in a chronically stressful situation might develop a stress-related illness, which in turn, might possibly cause teeth grinding.

    As you say, teeth grinding can be due to misalignment of the teeth:

    "Abnormal tooth alignment, also known as malocclusion, creates friction or grinding between the upper and lower teeth, especially in Persian cats,” says Dr. Reiter. “They ....have short faces which leads to teeth that are out of alignment. The problem also occurs in some Siamese cats. Their long pointy faces may lead to upper canine teeth that point forward too much. We see this in young Siamese cats between five and eight months. 'In other cats, we sometimes see fangs that appear longer than normal, also known as extrusion', says Dr. Reiter. 'As a result, the cat’s mouth has difficulty closing and this may cause grinding' "


    If Spaghetti has been grinding her teeth since she was a baby perhaps tooth misalignment is the cause. Have you asked your vet to examine her mouth and teeth?

    There are other causes of tooth grinding, not all of them affecting just older cats. e.g. food intolerances or allergies, nausea, gingivitis (which can affect kittens).

    Have you noticed if Spaghetti grinds her teeth at times when she is due a meal? If so perhaps she is going too long without food and getting excess gastric acid in her tummy making her feel nauseous.

    Or is she grinding her teeth when she eats? Or after a meal?

    What do you feed your kitten, and how much does she eat a day, (how many meals a day).?

    You mention your older cat can be "mean" to the kitten - does she keep bullying Spaghetti? If she is chasing her, attacking her, growling at her etc then that is serious and could cause a lot of stress for Spaghetti. But if it is just an occasional waving of her paw at Spaghetti, that is a different matter.

    If it is actual bullying how do you deal with it ?

    If there is real discord between the two cats, it will be due to competition for resources.

    Cats as a species are very protective of their resources. In a household with more than one cat it is important to ensure there is always a multiplicity of feline resources so as to reduce competition between the cats.

    This means: each cat should have their own separate feeding spot, out of sight of the other cat (s). Either fed in different rooms, or one fed on the floor, and one fed on a shelf, table or worktop.

    Allow no sharing of bowls, or food stealing. Best way to prevent this is by providing a microchip feeder for each cat so they know their food resources are safe. (Cheapest price at present is from Fetch I believe).


    In addition, for 2 cats there should be at least 3 litter trays, but if they are indoor-only cats then 4 trays are better. Spread the trays around the home, not grouped together.

    Several water bowls spread around the house.

    Plenty of scratch posts and scratch pads, several to every room including one placed just inside the door of each room.

    A choice of high-up places to sit, e.g. tall cat trees, shelves or tops of cupboards with fleece on top (and a safe route up and down from the cupboard).

    A choice of cat beds, (if they like cat beds) so the cats can swap around where they sleep.

    If your older cat was always allowed to sleep on your bed (day or night) this should be respected (and protected) as one of her resources. She should not be expected to give up her place (or share it) with the kitten. if she chooses to share it, that's fine.
    lorilu likes this.
  3. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    chillminx likes this.
  4. Ragtime

    Ragtime PetForums Newbie

    Mar 20, 2019
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    Hi Kittybea,

    My little Milo did this ... turned out to be a retained molar!

    Most cats have replaced all their baby teeth by 6 months of age. Sadly for Milo, it wasn't until he was 4 that his retained molar was discovered during his annual routine tooth check at the Vets, which was rather shocking considering he'd been dental checked every year since I had him at 16 weeks old! Because it had taken so many years to discover, the new tooth and the retained tooth had moved to accommodate each other. It had not misaligned his jaw, stopped him eating or caused him obvious pain, and in fact the advice was to just leave well alone until there were signs of a problem as both teeth were very firm and removing one may have damaged his jaw. So it wasn't until I noticed him putting his head on one side and grinding his teeth, I knew it was time for a closer examination. By the time he had the tooth extracted, the retained molar was very easy to remove as it had become loose, but he is left with an out of line molar, which so far (touch wood) doesn't appear to cause any trouble and I haven't noticed him grinding again. Whilst it does seem odd that Spaghetti has done this since being very young, it is definitely worth getting her teeth very thoroughly checked ;o)
    lorilu likes this.
  5. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    I always meant to come back to this thread and add that a friend has a cat who occasionally grinds. A vet told her she might be doing it from nausea and prescribed pepcid. (famotidine). Used as needed (when the grinding would start) 1/4 10 mg tablet.

    I don't think she's had to use it in a long time (I suggested she put her kitty on probiotics instead) but she did say the pepcid helped.
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