November 9, 2005

The Fuzzball and the Missing Pre-Molars

It looks like a cat exploded in our apartment.

A few weeks back the vet said one of the cat’s teeth had to go. We immediately confiscated her PSP and told her that if she wanted it back she would simply have to teach herself how to floss. She (as usual) played the “no opposable thumbs” card, rolled on to her side and started pulling herself along the carpet sideways (which is what she does when she’s trying to be cute).

Cute or not, she went into her cage last Saturday and was whisked off to the vet to be shaved, drugged, and relieved of her rotten tooth. Or so we thought. Upon return, she was missing not one, but both of her upper pre-molars (aren’t they supposed to clear additional extractions with you in advance?) and was wearing a rather dazed and dopey expression.

Along with the stoned, somewhat-more-toothless cat we got two forms of medicine and a series of instructions for how to administer it. In a nutshell, it’s a matter of squirting liquid into the cat’s mouth at just the right moment to make her involuntarily swallow most of it before drooling it out onto the linoleum. Only a precise hit will set off a chain reaction.

(Still with us? I’m impressed … and concerned. There are some really excellent weblogs which have nothing to do with feline dentistry or post-extraction pet care and yet you want to see this story through to the end? I will do my best to bring us around to the cat-explosion summary quickly.)

So I give her the pain medicine and the antibacterial stuff twice a day, shortly after her food. This requires me to crawl under the dinner table (her top-secret lair), act as though I’m only there to say hello, scoop her up and carry her to the kitchen, give her the medicine and then set her free so she can go feel sorry for herself.

For a little while in the evenings all is forgiven. She’ll come by for a pat and show me how far she’s gotten in SOCOM (at which point I usually grumble that if she can command a team of SEALs, she can floss her remaining handful of teeth). But each day the cycle of medicine giving repeats, and each day she’s getting a little more uncomfortable.

Her discomfort is manifesting itself in the form of significant fur loss. The first sign was abnormal amounts of fur on the carpet, then there was the appearance on the back of her neck a small area with no fur at all, and then tonight as she scratched her head you could actually see the fur flying off into the air.

It may be that she’s allergic to the pain medication and if that’s so then we’re in good shape because we’re out of it and she probably isn’t hurting anymore anyway. It may be that she’s stressed out by the trip to the vet and the tooth pulling and all the medicine giving and if that’s so then it will fade in time.

Hopefully, it’s not that delightful third category where you have no idea what’s going on so you have to bring the cat back to the vet and wind up being sent home with cream for her skin and rubber gloves. (Shudder.) We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t have to go down that road. Keeping up with her demand for fresh Memory Sticks is expensive enough. :)

The end.

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Stephen Collins

I too had a few of my cats teeth pulled and when I asked if she would have any trouble eating, the vet told me that cats have close to 50 teeth. We just don’t see them.

Certainly sounds like an allergic reaction to me. I would probably got get a waterless foam shampoo with aloe or something good for the skin and see if that helps at all.

Thanks Stephen. If the problem persists or gets worse we’ll definitely look into something that will make her skin feel better. She already seemed a bit better today so we’re hoping it was the pain medication that was bothering her.


One of my two cats has been losing her fur for the last year and a half. And by losing her fur, I mean she licks her side until it’s raw. We think she’s allergic to something in her food. Regardless, we had to give her some liquid medication at some point, and it was just a huge mess. So I feel your pain with liquid medication.


To collins, cats have 30 teeth, counting the 8 in front. time to change your vet . Other remarks, did you take you cat back to the same vet that gave the wrong meds ? i have had many problems withmy cats teeth , from yg. to 16 yrs. old. a god heath store has the answers, not the greedy vets. All they car about is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.


Did your caat’s fur loss clear up. My cat is losing fur and she has just recently had two teeth extracted and I was thinking perhaps there was a link. Perhaps cats can get stressed and this has caused it.

Yup, as soon as we stopped giving her the pain medication she started feeling better and as time went on she stopped scratching and her fur grew back in. I don’t think most cats get allergic to their pain medication but we let our vet know about the symptoms for future reference. Hope your cat feels better soon.

Chia-cat o' mine

I enjoyed reading your story and comments, as my cat Chia, who’s 12, is having one of her teeth pulled (back top tooth turning brown / grey) on tuesday, two days from now. I feel so bad, as the vet can’t take her before then and I have to watch and hear her flick her head around in pain with licking sounds. Poor kitty. I hope they get it all, as it’s costing me enough money! ($400) - Ouch.