As cats get older, many of them lose their teeth. For some cats, it is part of the natural ageing process. For others, this may mean there is a health problem, such as periodontal disease. No matter the reason for your cat losing his teeth, he can still eat a nutritionally sound diet by switching foods or modifying some of his favourites to make them easier to eat and digest.
Make the switch to wet food if your cat has trouble eating his regular food. Avoid changing your cat's diet too frequently because this can upset his digestive tract. Many cats cope well with changing from dry food to wet food. You may find your cat only licking up the gravy from the wet food, though, and leaving the meat behind. If your cat does this and you have concerns about his nutrition, consider chopping or mashing the wet food into even smaller pieces.
Feed your cat dry food if that is his favourite. Many cats without teeth develop hardened gums and are still able to eat their favourite foods without incident. Some cats, however, may resort to swallowing their kibble whole, which can lead to indigestion or regurgitation. Make dry foods easier for your cat to eat by adding broth or water to moisten it. If your cat still has trouble, place the food in a blender or food processor with a small amount of liquid to moisten and pulse until the food is a manageable, smoother consistency. Avoid using milk as the moistener, which can upset your cat's digestive system due to feline lactose intolerance.
According to Dr. David Leader at the Tuft's School of Dental Medicine, cat owners shouldn't be too concerned if their pets have lost their teeth. Feline teeth, he says, were intended for tearing into meat and not for biting into dry kibble. Whether your cat eats wet food, dry food or a combination of both, rest assured that your toothless feline will not starve. If your cat loses his appetite, however, you should have him examined to see if there is an underlying problem.