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My Cat is Clawing at Her Mouth

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I'm wondering if anybody could help. My kitten who is 6 weeks old has recently started clawing at her mouth causing it to bleed. This happens usually after taking a bite of food but yesterday she was doing it even when not eating, she would claw at her mouth with both paws every 20 seconds or so. I took her to the vet who seemed to be at a loss as the cause of this, stating "she's never seen anything like it before". She was kept at the vets overnight for observation, and now although not all the time she is still clawing at her mouth when eating. The vet has prescribed Antepsin but I can't see how this will help as this is for stomach and intestinal ulcers.

Jason from UK



Recent Answers

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By mbisme10/26/2014

My cat had this problem and it was an abscessed tooth. If it's a kitten, maybe he/she is teething? The behavior stems from mouth/tooth pain.

By kkkaaayyyy03/10/2012

I am having this same issue. My cat lily had 2 teeth pulled this past Tuesday due to having oral lesions and everything has been fine until today (Sat). She is pulling at her mouth after she eats and gagging and sticking her tongue out really far. I can't call the doctor till tomorrow morning, so I'm going to try to not feed her tonight and find out what is going on. =(

RE: My Cat is Clawing at Her Mouth

By Duncan Gilmour06/14/2010

Hi There,

Our little cat Beau who is a Blue Bermese has recently started doing the same thing and after many visits to the vet and many hours on the internet he has been diagnosed with "Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome" - here is a link to a web site that has been really helpful hope it helps.

By carl stevens10/02/2009

Hi All, I found this site last week I was really concerned about my cat Barney. He is a Burmese and was off his food and water, gagging and clawing at his mouth. The first vets did tests etc and couldn't come up with a thing. So we took Barney to an older vet, I described his actions and he had seen it before.

He said that just below the gum line cats can get bad decay and it is not so visible.The gagging and clawing were results of the sharp nerve pain we all have had from our teeth. Any way Barney had four teeth out and is much happier now. I hope this helps anyone who is searching for a similar reason..what would we do without Google?

By Lane06/22/2009

My 13 year old cat, Ashley, started pawing at her mouth after eating 2 weeks ago. Last week it got so bad I rushed her to emergency midnight Tuesday. They kept her for 2 days. The xray showed an abnormal mass near her larnyx & adams apple.. Blood & urine tests were fine.. Then did a scope down her throat and found nothing. Re-ran xrays and nothing showed up this time. They can't explain it.. unless the tech who rubbed her down with alcohol knotted the hair under her neck. She didn't eat that day, so the slight coughs and gagging ceased. I retrieved her Thursday morning and all was fine until an hour ago just after she ate, she started pawing again. First with one paw, then 2. Kept losing her balance. It's so sad. She extended her tongue out so far and made a choke noise. I read your posts. Will take her in to have her teeth checked & see if allergies might be the cause. Thank you very much. My vets are stumped.

RE: My Cat is Clawing at Her Mouth

By Eric V. T. (Guest Post)01/11/2009

It could be a whole host of things but the #1 thing is usually a infected tooth or some kind of tooth or gum problem or infection. You should take the cat to the vet asap to have her mouth checked out.

By jhol3368 (Guest Post)05/17/2008

Well, it's been a year and a half or so since my initial post about Abbie. After a year or so, the vet found the problem was being caused by a tooth problem, she had corrective surgery and has since piled on the pounds!

She still pounces on everything in site and still likes to chew my fingers. She is a a mother now too.

Heres a picture of Abbie just before she became a mother with her boyfriend (and father of her kittens) Josh.

RE: My Cat is Clawing at Her Mouth

By SunshineRose (Guest Post)05/16/2008

I would get a vet to check for dental problems. I would say a vet should have a pretty good idea, since this one doesn't I would change vets. My cat had this problem when he needed dental work but he was older.
Good Luck. I love your cat. Glad to hear it is better.

By cheap cindy (Guest Post)07/07/2006

Perhaps your kitten is allergic to something in its food. Some have dyes and preservatives. i would try a natural cat food or cook it some chicken and see if the same behavior continues, and then perhaps you could determine if something the cat is eating is irritating its mouth.

By Katy from St. Louis (Guest Post)07/04/2006

I googled this and it came up with a site that talks about a cat mouth disorder. Just google "Cat clawing at mouth"

By Mary [12]07/02/2006

She is absolutely precious!

By Jason [1]07/01/2006

Hi thanks for all the suggestions, since my initial post she has at last stopped the scratching, still not exactly sure what caused it but thank goodness she's stopped, it was quite distressing for both me and the kitten (her name is Abbie). My guess is that is was caused by some kind of mite around her mouth because the scratching stopped after being treated with Stronghold. Now she's back to her old self, pouncing and biting on everything in sight (my fingers included).

RE: My Cat is Clawing at Her Mouth

By Maggie Arsenault (Guest Post)07/01/2006

Wow thats sad as a lot of people have said it sounds like a food allergy maybe the food is hurting her mouth and that is her way of telling you did she do this when she was at the vets office over night? Try changing her food and see what happens I have never heard of it either let us know how she is doing thanks

By darcey (Guest Post)07/01/2006

i am in no way a vet but the vet might think that her stomach is upset or bowels and that is why she has perscribed that med. it make me think that maybe she has something lodged in her mouth like between her teeth or in her gums. i saw a cat that had a similar problem and it was a sewing needle that got lodged in her gum line and they could not see it at the vets. hoped this helps

By susan [5]07/01/2006

What an adorable kitten! I really have no idea of what is causing her to do this. Do you think that at 6 weeks, she might just be too young/immature and the sensation of it bothers her? Usually at this age, their mothers still lick them to help clean them up.

By BigMaya [3]07/01/2006

Hi Jason, I too would guess it might be some kind of allergy to her food, i feed my cats Hills Science Plan and have Thank G-D - so far never encountered a problem. You should either change the vet or try the vets at your nearest animal shelter as they should have a lot more experience in treating all kinds of feline problems and last but not least, they should be a lot cheaper too - Good Luck!

By SusannL [28]06/30/2006

Yes, she could be allergic to her food. Food allergies in cats are common and show up around the mouth. Check her underlip and see if it is swollen. That's what happens with our cat. Try changing to another food. It would be a good idea to get a vet to check her out as well.

By Catherine (Guest Post)06/30/2006

It sounds like she has a tooth problem. Did the vet check her teeth and gums?

By Donna (Guest Post)06/30/2006

this is purely a guess but since it happens mostly after eating, could she be alergic to her food? If so it could cause itching, hence the scratching/clawing at her mouth. Again, this is just a guess.

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