Cat Grinding Teeth

icon May 6, 2024

Cat owners are often attuned to their feline companion's behaviors, but one that may cause concern is the sound of teeth grinding. This phenomenon, known as bruxism, is not uncommon in cats and can indicate various underlying issues. In this comprehensive article, we explore the reasons behind cat teeth grinding, its potential implications, and how to address it effectively.

Understanding Cat Teeth Grinding:

Bruxism in cats refers to the involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth, often accompanied by audible sounds. While occasional teeth grinding may not be a cause for concern, persistent or excessive bruxism can signal discomfort or underlying health problems. Cats have complex dental structures adapted for hunting and chewing, and any abnormalities or issues affecting their oral health can lead to bruxism.

why do cats grind their teeth

Why Do Cats Grind Their Teeth?

1. Dental Problems:
Dental issues such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, broken teeth, or misalignment can cause discomfort or pain, prompting cats to grind their teeth as a coping mechanism.

2. Oral Pain:
Cats may experience oral pain due to injuries, oral ulcers, foreign objects lodged in the mouth, or oral tumors, leading to bruxism as a response to discomfort.

3. Stress or Anxiety:
Cats may grind their teeth in response to stress, anxiety, or other emotional factors. Environmental changes, conflicts with other pets, or medical procedures can trigger stress-related bruxism.

4. Neurological Disorders:
Certain neurological conditions, such as seizures, nerve damage, or brain tumors, can manifest as bruxism in cats. These disorders may affect the brain's control over jaw movements, leading to involuntary teeth grinding.

5. Systemic Health Issues:
Underlying systemic conditions like kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or nutritional deficiencies can impact oral health and contribute to bruxism in cats.

6. Medication Side Effects:
Some medications may cause side effects like dry mouth, muscle spasms, or neurological changes, which can lead to teeth grinding in cats as an unintended consequence.

Should I Be Concerned about Cat Teeth Grinding?

Yes, cat teeth grinding, or bruxism, should be a concern if it occurs frequently or is accompanied by other symptoms like drooling, changes in eating habits, or visible discomfort. Consult a veterinarian to identify and address any underlying dental issues or health problems contributing to bruxism.

Symptoms of Cat Teeth Grinding:

1. Audible Grinding Sounds:
Owners may hear their cat grinding its teeth, especially during times of relaxation or sleep.

2. Excessive Drooling:
Cats may drool excessively due to oral discomfort or pain associated with bruxism.

3. Changes in Eating Habits:
Cats experiencing dental pain or discomfort may exhibit changes in appetite, reluctance to eat, or difficulty chewing.

4. Facial Swelling or Discomfort:
Swelling, redness, or sensitivity around the mouth or face may indicate underlying dental issues contributing to teeth grinding.

5. Behavioral Changes:
Cats may show signs of irritability, restlessness, or withdrawal due to discomfort or stress-related bruxism.

6. Oral Lesions or Bleeding:
Visual inspection of the mouth may reveal oral lesions, bleeding gums, or other abnormalities indicative of underlying dental problems.

Treatment of Cat Teeth Grinding:

1. Veterinary Examination:
A thorough physical examination, including oral inspection and diagnostic tests like dental X-rays, can help identify underlying dental issues or health problems contributing to bruxism.

2. Dental Care:
Treatment of dental problems such as periodontal disease, tooth extractions, or dental cleanings may be necessary to alleviate oral discomfort and reduce teeth grinding.

3. Pain Management:
Pain relief medications or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort associated with dental issues or oral pain.

4. Stress Reduction:
Environmental modifications, behavioral therapy, or pheromone diffusers can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats, addressing stress-related bruxism.

5. Nutritional Support:
Feeding a balanced diet tailored to your cat's nutritional needs can support oral health and overall well-being, reducing the risk of dental problems contributing to bruxism.

6. Medication Adjustments:
If bruxism is a side effect of medication, your veterinarian may adjust the dosage or switch to alternative medications with fewer adverse effects.

7. Monitoring and Follow-Up:
Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of your cat's oral health can help detect and address any recurring issues or complications associated with bruxism.

cat teeth grinding


Cat teeth grinding, or bruxism, can be a distressing issue for both cats and their owners, but it often indicates underlying dental problems or health issues that require attention. By understanding the potential causes, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking timely veterinary care, cat owners can help alleviate their feline companions' discomfort and maintain their oral health and overall well-being. Early detection and intervention are key to effectively managing bruxism and ensuring a happy, healthy life for your cat.

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