Occlusion and malocclusion in the cat: what's normal, what's not and when's the best time to intervene?

J Feline Med Surg. 2015 Jan;17(1):5-20. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14560095.


Practical relevance: Malocclusion affecting cats, and treatment thereof, has not been widely described in the veterinary literature, yet is a condition seen in a growing number of breeds, often causing pain and discomfort to the patient. Recognising the problem, and certainly whether it is a hereditary problem (eg, a skeletal malocclusion), is important for the longer term health of pedigree breeds.

Clinical challenges: If there is a malocclusion, the mouth may be painful and a thorough occlusal assessment of the conscious patient may be difficult. Occlusal assessment should always be accompanied by a thorough oral examination and, where necessary, further investigation under general anaesthesia, including dental radiography. Recognising what is normal, and what is not, can be challenging; so, too, can be determining the correct time to intervene.

Audience: This article is intended to help fill the gap in dental education regarding the range of developmental and acquired malocclusions seen in cats. Treatment options are also briefly reviewed.

Evidence base: The guidance contained in this article is based on a combination of the published literature, the author's personal experience and that of colleagues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cat Diseases / therapy*
  • Cats
  • Dental Occlusion
  • Malocclusion / therapy
  • Malocclusion / veterinary*
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / methods
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / veterinary*