How to check your cat’s mouth at home

  • Mochi
  • September 17, 2023

Checking your cat's mouth is essential for monitoring dental health and detecting potential oral issues. However, many cats can be resistant to having their mouths examined, so it's crucial to approach this task with patience and care. Here's a guide on how to check your cat's mouth at home:


  • Good Lighting: Ensure you're in a well-lit area to get a clear view of the mouth.
  • Calm Environment: Choose a quiet place to reduce distractions and stress for your cat.
  • Handling: Approach your cat calmly, using a soothing tone. You might need someone's help to gently hold the cat while you examine the mouth.

Opening the Mouth

  • Positioning: Hold your cat's head from behind, using one hand to support the chin and the other on top of the head.
  • Gently Open: Using your thumb and forefinger, gently press on the lips and corners of the mouth to encourage it to open.

Examine the Teeth

  • Color: Healthy teeth should be white or slightly yellow. Brown or dark stains can indicate tartar buildup.
  • Condition: Check for broken, missing, or loose teeth.
  • Gums: They should be pink and firm. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums can indicate gum disease or other oral issues.

Check the Tongue and Roof of the Mouth

  • Color and Texture: The tongue should be pink without any lumps, bumps, or discolorations. The roof of the mouth should also be smooth and uniform in color.
  • Ulcers or Sores: Look for any signs of ulcers, sores, or growths.

Check the Throat and Tonsils

  • Visibility: While it might be challenging to get a clear view, try to check the back of the mouth for any swelling, redness, or foreign objects.
  • Tonsils: In a healthy state, tonsils should not be overly visible or swollen.


  • Odor: While cat's breath isn't typically fresh, an excessively foul odor can indicate dental issues, infections, or other health problems.


  • Regular Checks: Make it a routine to check your cat's mouth every few weeks, especially if they're older or have a history of dental issues.
  • Dental Chews and Toys: These can help reduce tartar buildup and promote gum health.
  • Diet: Feeding dry cat food or specially formulated dental diets can help in reducing plaque.
  • Safety: Never force your cat's mouth open, as this can lead to injury for both you and your cat. If your cat is resistant, try again later or consult with a veterinarian.
  • Consultation: If you notice any abnormalities, changes, or signs of discomfort, consult with a veterinarian. Dental issues can progress rapidly, so timely intervention is crucial.

Remember, while home checks are valuable for early detection of potential issues, they don't replace professional examinations. Regular veterinary check-ups, including dental exams, will ensure a comprehensive assessment of your cat's oral health.