Mouth pain in cats

black cat on white background


  • Does your cat have a painful mouth? Are they eating less or shying away from their food? Have they lost weight?
  • There are many different conditions that can cause mouth pain in cats.
  • Contact your vet as soon as you notice a problem with your cat’s mouth.

General information

Mouth pain is fairly common because it can be caused by a few different conditions but unfortunately, it can be tricky to spot, because apart from glancing quickly during a yawn, checking your cat’s mouth can be extremely tricky!

Signs of mouth pain in cats

If your cat has a painful mouth, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Preferring soft food over biscuits
  • Difficulty eating (shying away from food/hissing at food)
  • Chewing on one side only
  • Halitosis (Bad breath)
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth/face
  • Not wanting to be touched around the face
  • Matted coat (too painful to groom)
  • Hiding away

Causes of mouth pain in cats

Common causes of mouth pain in cats include:

  • Dental disease
  • Cat flu
  • Gingivostomatitis
  • Something stuck in the mouth
  • Wounds and burns – after being bitten by something (often prey they have caught), heat and chemical burns
  • Lumps in the mouth
  • Mouth ulcers – can be caused by many different conditions such as kidney disease.
  • A broken jaw.

When to contact your vet

Contact your vet as soon as you notice your cat is in pain, your vet will examine them fully to find out the cause.

Published: June 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst