Why Does My Cat Grind Her Teeth? (When Sleeping or Awake)

Have you ever heard a cat grinding her teeth? The grating sound is similar to chalk rubbing on a board (I can already feel the goosebumps on my back). Sometimes your cat can’t help grinding her teeth. It’s the same as us humans who grind our teeth while sleeping.

It’s important to find out why your cat is grinding her teeth. It can lead to some serious problems down the line if nothing is done about it. So, besides being annoying when you’re trying to sleep or watch TV, it’s not good for your cat.

Why does my cat grind her teeth? Cats will grind their teeth for reasons including jaw or mouth pain, misalignment, an underlying health problem, or even stress. cats can grind their teeth at night, when sleeping, yawning, or even when relaxed.

When a cat grinds her teeth, it’s known as bruxism.

If your cat is constantly grinding her teeth or has just started, let me help you. Below I explain about the common causes for her condition as well as give you some tips on how to stop it. Plus, I’ll share what will happen if you let her condition continue without getting the proper treatment.

What makes my cat grind her teeth?

Your cat could be grinding her teeth for a number of reasons. Perhaps your cat is battling with one of the following?

  • She has an underlying medical condition causing her pain. 
  • Her jaw is not aligning properly and as a result, causing your cat pain.
  • She’s suffering from stress or anxiety. That could be caused by moving to new home, a stressful home environment or even a new baby or pet coming into the household.

A cat suffering with bruxism needs to be taken to the vet for a full checkup.

What are the risks of grinding teeth?

If your cat is constantly grinding her teeth, he’s eventually going to run the risk of destroying the enamel on her teeth. Ther will lead to further issues for your fur-baby such as mouth and gum infections, dental fractures, exposed gums, rotting teeth and painful gums.

When your cat gets a tooth infection or has damaged teeth, he’s going to start having problems eating her food. She’ll also run the risk of exposing her body to further infections if a bad tooth is not sorted out.

Handy Hint: here’s how you can tell if your cat has toothache with some simple checks.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

You’ll need to give your vet a full medical history to help them get to the bottom of your cat’s teeth grinding habit. If the home environment has changed recently, it’s also a good idea to tell your vet.

A full physical examination will be performed, and your vet may request blood tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

If your cat has been vomiting, shaking or had diarrhea recently make sure you let your vet know. These could be an indication your cat is battling with a gastrointestinal issue. That, in turn, could be painful and the reason your cat has started to grind her teeth.

Being observant of any behavioral changes in your cat will also help you and your vet determine if your cat is suffering from stress or anxiety. That includes noticing major lifestyle changes that have happened recently in your cat’s home environment.

Your vet will do a full dental examination to see if your cat has any infection or obvious reasons for pain in her mouth. If he can’t find anything, he may take some x-rays. These can often highlight problems in the gums or elsewhere in the mouth not seen by the naked eye.

What treatment is used for cats grinding their teeth?

Your cat suffering from bruxism can only be treated once the underlying cause is known. Depending on that, only then can your vet come up with a treatment plan.

  • Abdominal or mouth pain: If that is the reason for your cat grinding her teeth, your vet will take the necessary steps to heal the initial problem. That could include medications and sometimes, surgery.
  • Jaw misalignment: A veterinary orthodontist will be able to help by correcting the problem here.
  • Stress and anxiety: Your vet will prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help ease your cat but it’s important to try and determine what is making your fur-baby anxious or stressed. That is the most effective way of managing your cat’s teeth grinding habit long-term.

If your vet’s full examination rules out any medical underlying conditions, then an animal behaviorist may be able to assist in giving behavioral therapy. They can discuss ways of managing your cat’s anxiety levels while changing the teeth grinding habit.

Do certain cat breeds grind their teeth more than others?

While some cat breeds may be more prone to grinding their teeth because of their jaw alignments, bruxism can happen to any cat breed. It’s can also occur in cats, if you were wondering.

My research has shown that Boxers may be prone to bruxism because of the way their jaw is aligned. Check out a Boxer cat the next time you see one. You’ll notice her lower jaw sticks out further than the upper part of her mouth.

Her jaw structure leads to misalignment of the lower and upper mouth parts and could result in your cat feeling sore. As a result, she resorts to grinding her teeth to alleviate or manage the pain.

Jaw misalignment is often common in cats with an overbite as well. If your four-legged friend has a noticeable jaw misalignment and he starts to grind her teeth, assume he’s in pain. Take her to your vet to have her checked out.

How to stop a cat grinding her teeth

The most common causes of cats grinding their teeth are jaw misalignment, pain and stress or anxiety. There are certain steps you can take to prevent your cat from battling with any of these issues. These could include:

  • Diet: Ensure your cat has a healthy diet. Eating food that is full of the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals means your cat is less prone to GI issues and other medical conditions caused by a poor diet.
  • Exercise: Maintain your cat’s health by making sure he gets regular exercise every day. Not only is exercise good for physical and mental development but it will also help to alleviate or even prevent any stress or anxiety conditions.
  • Provide enough stimulation: While exercise can come in the form of walking or playing games, you can also give your cat other forms of stimulation. There could include socializing with other cats and people. You could also enroll her into an agility class or let her take part in obstacle field events.
  • Take her for regular checkups: Annual health checkups with the vet will pick up any underlying medical conditions before they become a problem for your cat. If your cat is prone to jaw misalignment because of her particular jaw structure, then regular dental checkups will highlight any dental issues before they turn into painful conditions.

By following these tips, you can prevent your cat grinding her teeth, whether it’s from pain, stress, boredom or jaw misalignment.