Showing posts with label cat gums. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat gums. Show all posts

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Is it true that a tomcat with bad teeth can never become a father?

You might think that it is strange to link a tomcat's bad teeth with a failure to becoming a father but it isn't. This will be a very short post and therefore it might not be interesting but the question needs to be answered.

Is it true that a tomcat with bad teeth can never become a father? Yes!
Domestic cats mating showing how the male grips the female's neck in his teeth to stop her swiping him. Picture: MikeB under license.
When a male domestic, stray or feral cat mates with a female in heat he clings onto the female's neck with his teeth. This subdues her and prevents her swiping him when he removes his penis because it hurts. It hurts because of the backward facing barbs on his penis which rake her vagina. It sounds a bit gruesome but these are the anatomical facts of the matter.

To answer the question, bad teeth which are painful to use, may curb his instincts to mate with a female in heat. They have to grip the back of the neck of the female quite hard and if the teeth hurt because of gum disease and general poor oral health, he may decline the offer of sex. That is the theory. I can't say that such a tomcat would NEVER become a father.

I'm not sure that it is entirely followed in practice because the male's instinct to mate is unshakeable. Tomcats cats have a few unshakeable instincts, one is the one mentioned in the other is to sustain their lives through successful predation. The other, for a domestic cat, is to seek security and warmth and lastly companionship with a human caregiver.

It seems likely that a young cat would not have rotten teeth and therefore they'd be no obstacle to mating. Only when they get older would there be gum disease at which time the tomcat may show a disinterest in mating.

Here is some more from Bing's Co-pilot:

  1. Health and Reproductive Function: A cat’s overall health significantly impacts its reproductive abilities. Bad teeth can lead to paininfection, and difficulty eating, which may affect the cat’s overall well-being. If a tomcat is in poor health due to dental issues, it might struggle with other aspects of reproduction as well.

  2. Nutrition and Fertility: Proper nutrition is crucial for reproductive success. Cats with dental problems may have difficulty eating and maintaining optimal body condition. Malnutrition can directly impact fertility and sperm quality.

  3. Behavioral Factors: A tomcat’s ability to mate successfully involves more than just physical health. Behavioral factors play a role too. If a cat is in pain due to dental issues, it might be less interested in mating or less effective in courtship behaviors.

  4. Age: Older tomcats may experience dental problems due to age-related issues. As cats age, their teeth can deteriorate, affecting their overall health and reproductive abilities.

  5. Dealing with Dental Issues: If a tomcat has bad teeth, it’s essential to address the dental problems. Regular veterinary check-ups, dental cleanings, and appropriate treatment can improve overall health and increase the chances of successful reproduction.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Health tip: checking your cat for gum disease

A lot of cat owners are understandably unaware of the state of health of their cat's gums and teeth. You might get a glimpse of your cat's gums when they yawn but it might not be enough. And the upper outside area of the gums, at the back, is where gum disease can often start. The same, by the way, applies to people. 

If you want to reduce bleeding gums when you brush your teeth you should always focus strongly on the outside upper at the back of the mouth and eventually the bleeding will go away. In addition, you should use a good mouthwash occasionally. 

I'm digressing but the same problem exists with domestic cats and it is perhaps the single biggest reason why domestic cats are put under a general anaesthetic. In fact, Dr. Bruce Fogle in his book Complete Cat Care states that "I anaesthetize more cats to treat the tooth and gum disease than for any other single reason".

Use cotton buds to check for blood on cat gums
Use cotton buds to check for blood on cat gums. Photo: Words added.

Certainly, gum disease and dental health is in the top 10 or perhaps top five of all domestic cat health problems. It is, therefore, important to check gum health from time to time. Bruce Fogle states that an easy way to check your cat's teeth and gums regularly "is by running a cotton bud around the gum line". This means gently placing a cotton bud under the cheek against the gums around the upper teeth at the rear of the mouth, as mentioned. A cat should accept this especially as it can be done quickly. If you encounter blood or signs of pain you should take your cat to your veterinarian.

Sometimes veterinarians say that you can check oral health by bad breath but this is rather vague. Also, bad breath can be caused by kidney, liver disease, feline leukaemia or by a bowel infection. Indeed a foreign body such as a bone stuck in the mouth or on oral tumour and older cats can cause bad breath. So the cotton bud check is a good one. I would recommend it.

Sunday 1 August 2021

The link between gum and kidney disease in cats

There is a link between periodontal disease and kidney disease in cats but, as I type this, I'm not sure what that link is. What I mean is I'm not sure if periodontal disease can cause kidney disease or vice versa. I know that kidney disease can cause bad breath in cats which is ammonia smelling. 

Periodontal disease in cats. Left: Gingivitis. Middle: Teeth cleaning kit. Right: Commercial feline dental food.
Periodontal disease in cats. Left: Gingivitis. Middle: Teeth cleaning kit. Right: Commercial feline dental food. Image: MikeB

I am researching as I am typing this. It seems that periodontal disease can increase the risk of kidney disease and liver and heart disease. Further, a study in humans, specifically 699 African Americans, showed that periodontal disease can make people more prone to kidney disease. The study found that African-Americans with severe gum disease were over four times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.

The study also appears to have concluded that if periodontal disease is properly treated and eliminated that has a positive effect on the onset of chronic kidney disease i.e. the onset can be prevented.

Another study discusses an "imbalance of the body's oxygen producing free radicals and its antioxidant cells could be the reason why gum disease and chronic kidney disease affect each other..."

In this study over 700 patients with chronic kidney disease were examined both orally and using full body examinations including blood samples. The aim was to test the hypothesis that periodontal disease and kidney function affect each other. The results show that a 10% increase in gum inflammation reduces kidney function by 3%. And a 3% worsening in kidney function translates to an increase in the risk of kidney failure over a five-year period from 32%-34%. Interestingly, the study found that a 10% reduction in kidney function increases periodontal inflammation by 25%.

The researchers found that the link between gum disease and kidney disease was caused by "oxidative stress" which is a biological process. It is an 'an imbalance between reactive oxygen species and the body's antioxidant capacity which damages tissues on a cellular level'. I have quoted that verbatim by the way because I don't understand it :) !

The study is the first to try and 'quantify the causal effect of periodontitis on kidney function' and vice versa as well as the first to elucidate the pathways involved. They suggest that further studies are carried out. The study was carried out by Dr. Praveen Sharma and team at the Periodontal Research Group, University of Birmingham's School of Dentistry.

An important point I forgot to mention is that 85% of cats have gum disease at 2 years old or later and sometimes at aged one. This shocking stat from my reference book tells me that gum disease may be why kidney disease is too prevalent in domestic cats. Elderly cats often die of it. Perhaps owners should be cleaning their cat's teeth as a default. No exceptions. At the moment it is rare.

Friday 25 September 2020

Most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America

The most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America in 2018 were reported as: undiagnosed diarrhoea and vomiting, urinary tract diseases, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal conditions, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, periodontitis and general oral health problems. This information comes from five different pet insurance companies: Trupanion, ASPCA, Pets Best, Nationwide and Embrace. 

You can see a trend there or at least I can. Urinary tract problems including kidney disease are a major issue in domestic cats and also it seems are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. These would appear to be related to diet because what goes in has to be digested and waste is expelled. Both ends of the food processing channel are affected.

Photo: Pixabay.

I have this feeling that there is something hidden is going on in homes in the West which is affecting the health of domestic cats. The high incidents of kidney disease is unacceptable. And I don't think anything is being done about it. I'm referring to food and the chemicals in the home such as fire retardants and carpet chemicals. These are volatile chemicals which give off fumes and these fumes linger in the atmosphere inside the home. I wonder whether the air quality inside homes is sufficiently good for domestic gas. If it isn't it can't be good for people either but cats are nearer the surfaces.

Cats lie on sofas. If that sofa has a fire retardant inside it then the cat is more likely to absorb these chemicals. The same goes for carpet chemicals. These are examples. And as for cat food, I think we know now that the cheap dry cat food is simply not good enough. A lot of people rely on it because it is cheap and convenient. They allow their cat to graze at any time day or night. Arguably this is overly convenient.

You add to poor quality dry cat food the extended daytime absence of solme human caregivers and you create a slightly toxic world for the domestic cat which can result in urinary tract health problems such as cystitis, a bacterial infection of the bladder, exacerbated by stress.

If there is a high predominance of gastrointestinal diseases causing vomiting and diarrhoea then surely this points to food. Doesn't it? Shouldn't veterinarians be looking at the quality of food provided to domestic cats? Perhaps they don't want to look at it because they want a huge number of cats coming through their doors vomiting and shitting diarrhoea. I am too cynical. One pet insurance company said that they paid out US$9,650 to treat a cat with a gastrointestinal condition.

They also said that they paid out US$40,000 to treat a cat with kidney disease. Do the insurance companies investigate the cause of these diseases? Do they dig around and try and prevent the diseases happening? Do they have a vested interest in doing nothing about these diseases? Do they work together with veterinarians and pet food manufacturers to try and eliminate them? I know there are lots of questions but can you find the answers? I don't think you can. I know that the pet food manufacturers work with veterinarians and this to my mind creates a conflict of interest.

Two pet insurance companies rated diabetes as their third most common cat illness claim. Arguably, feline diabetes, which I presume refers to type II diabetes or sugar diabetes, might be caused by the high carbohydrate content in dry cat food. Dry cat food has to have a high carbohydrate content in order to make it. It is there simply as a manufacturing necessity. Domestic cats don't need this sort of carbohydrate level in their food. It is unnatural to them and it is causing, it is argued, hypoglycaemic cats and overburdening the pancreas which produces insulin. This upsets the insulin/sugar balance in domestic cats which can lead to type II diabetes. This is the argument of a well-known veterinarian in America called Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM.

I am harping on about cat food. And I do give my cat dry cat food although it is the highest quality I can find. And I also feed him lots of high quality wet cat food. But I am dissatisfied in general with the quality of cat food. It does not reflect accurately enough the perfect domestic cat diet which is the mouse which is 40% protein, 50% fat and only 3% carbohydrates. The average dry cat food for cats contains 35-50% carbohydrate calories according to the website. Do you see the massive difference and how that could impact a cat's metabolism and ability to cope with it?

Sunday 29 April 2012

Does dry cat food clean cats' teeth?

No, not really. The idea behind the belief that dry cat food can clean a cat's teeth is that being dry it has an abrasive quality that cleans the teeth like a toothbrush. The mechanical abrasion theory is based on the shape, texture and fiber alignment of the dry kibble.

Apparently dry cat food does reduce the build up of plaque and calculus but in a limited way.

The action is limited because the kibble is normally broken by the tip of the tooth and so does not have any abrasive action at the place where periodontal disease takes place: the line where the gums surround the teeth (gingival margin). Periodontal disease (gum disease in layperson's terms) in cats and dogs is one the most common health problems for these companion animals.

Also dry cat food is high in carbohydrates. That surely is not good for teeth health.

Plaque: soft and colorless. A mixture of food particles, organic and inorganic material and bacteria.
Calculus: also called tartar. Hardened plaque. Mixture of calcium phosphate and carbonate with organic material1.

Note: 1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook

Associated: Picture of cat with gingivitis.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Cat Toothpaste and Cat Teeth Cleaning

Hands up the cat guardians who clean their cat's teeth.....

I don't, never have. But it concerns me. Most of us don't think about it. We don't see is as something we can do. Cats won't let us do it. But the domestic cat diet is not kind to teeth. Cat gum disease (periodontal disease) is "one of the most common problems seen in the veterinary practice"(Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook). Teeth are a concern. For many cat guardians teeth are out of sight out of mind until the cat their is bad breath or your cat is losing teeth or drooling. We should check our cat's teeth and gums regularly. Teeth cleaning at a veterinary clinic involves anesthesia and that has a risk. Apparently one in 100 cats die under anesthetic (source: my vet talking to another client).

cat's teeth
Go on, check my teeth - Photo by polandeze (Flickr)

I don't think that it is practical to start trying to brush you cat's teeth if your cat is an adult and has never enjoyed that process!

However, if you are or have acquired a kitten this is what you might consider doing to get your cat to accept having his or her teeth cleaned:
  1. Gently rub the cat's muzzle over his teeth. Your cat should accept this as it is like a cat face rubbing for scent exchange greetings, so say the authors of theCat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook.
  2. Next raise your cat's lip and massage his gums with your finger. Do this routinely until fully accepted then;
  3. Wrap a piece of cloth around your finger and gently rub his teeth and gums. Once accepted the toothbrush can be introduced;
  4. Try a child's toothbrush. It should be soft. You might try a finger tip tooth brush. There are also cat toothbrushes available.
  5. If your cat won't accept a toothbrush of any kind you can go back to putting gauze around your finger and using that as a brush.
  6. Before using actual cat toothpaste the authors of the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook recommend that you use the water from a can of tuna.
  7. The toothpaste can first be used by offering it to your cat on the tip of your finger.
  8. You can now start to brush his teeth. The same principles apply to our teeth regarding technique. The most important part is where the gum meets the tooth. The brush should move over this area.
  9. You should brush the surfaces that you see (the outside surfaces). The cat's tongue, it is said, will distribute the toothpaste over the inside areas.
Good luck.

Michael signature

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