Cat mouth and teeth anatomy

The teeth are the highly specialized hard tissue in the cat mouth anatomy. In the structure of a cat tooth, you will find the three distinguished parts – crown, neck, and roots.

The anatomical features of the cat tooth are similar to those of dogs. So, you may read the below-mentioned article to know all the anatomical facts of a general tooth with the diagram –

  • Dog teeth anatomy with the labeled diagram
  • Let’s see some of the important features of the cat tooth structure –
  • Crown, neck, and root of the cat’s tooth,
  • Dentine and enamel of cats tooth,
  • Cementum and cementoenamel junction,
  • Pulp cavity and root canal of the feline tooth,
  • Enamel buldge,
  • Periodontal ligament of the feline tooth, and
  • Gums and gingiva,

All of these features from the cat tooth structure are identified in the labeled diagram. Let’s known little about these features from the cat tooth structure.

Cat tooth structure

First, let’s see the enamel of the cat tooth structure. This is the pearly white outer layer of the cat tooth’s crow part. This is the hardest tissue in the cats body that consists of crystals of hydroxyapatite.

You know this hardest structure of the cat mouth cavity can not regenerate if they damage. The enamel of the cat tooth shows extends part at the lower and form the enamel buldge.

The dentin of the cat tooth is similar to the bone that encloses the pulp cavity. It form the bulk of the cat tooth.

You will find a flow of fluid through the dentinal tubules from the pulp cavity to the surface of the tooth. The dentin of the cat tooth is remain disorganized and stain faster.

Let’s know what is the cementum of a cat tooth. This is a thin covering find at the root of the cat tooth.

It is very hard to differentiate the cementum of the cat tooth from the dentin. You will see the periodontal ligament on the root that attaches with the cementum.

The middle of the cat tooth structure shows soft connective tissue, which is known as the pulp of the cat tooth. Here, you will find the sensory nerves, arteries, veins, lymphatic capillaries, and connective tissue. All these structures in the middle pulp cavity hold them together.

You will find the pulp with the cavity throughout the length of a cats tooth. Again, there is a root canal within the pulp cavity of the cat tooth.

The distal extremity of the root canal shows different small channels and form the apical delta. These small channels allow free passages of vessels and nerves.

Cat mouth dental chart and formula

The denatal formula of any mammals often indicates specialization for dietary habits. You will find the following dental formula in the cat mouth cavity –

Table 2 shows type of teeth with their number (both in upper and lower jaws) of a cat. The upper number of the teeth (of this formula) indicates the teeth rooted in the half of maxilla.

Again, the lower part of the cat dental formula represent the teeth rooted in one half of the mandible. Now, let’s calculate the total number of teeth from the cat’s dental formula.

To calculate the total number of teeth, let’s multiply the teeth in each half of the jaw by 2. So, you will find total 30 teeth in the cats mouth cavity.

These teeth of the cat are highly adapted for a carnivorous diet. The cat’s dental formula shows there are incisior, canine, premolar, and molar types of teeth present in the upper and lower jaws of a cat.

The small and wedge shaped incisor teeth of the cat mouth cavity are responsible for sharp bite. Again, the elongated conical canine teeth of the cat are for holding prey. Finally, the blade like molariform teeth are responsible for cutting and shearing.

Tooth surface and groups

If you study the structure of a cat tooth, you may find the following surfaces –

  • Vestibular surface of a cat tooth,
  • Lingual surface of the tooth,
  • Contact surface of the tooth,
  • Mesial surface of the feline tooth,
  • Distal surface of the feline tooth, and
  • Occlusal surface of the tooth,

The vestibular surface is that portion of teeth that faces the lip or cheek. You may also called this vestibular surface as the buccal surface. Again, the part of the teeth that faces the tongue is lingual surface.

The portion adjacent to the nect tooth in the dental arch is contact surface. You will see the mesial and distal surface in the contact surface of all teeth.

Here, the mesial surface is the contact surface adjacent to the next rostral or medial tooth. Again, the distal surface is the contact surface adjacent to the next caudal or lateral tooth.

Finally, the surface that faces opposite superior or inferior dental arch is the occlusal surface.

You already got the idea on the teeth grouping of a cat. The teeth of a cat are grouped into four main groups – incisor, canine, premolar, and molar.

You will find a great variton in the number of teeth in the dog dental formula compare to the cats. The dental formula of the dog are shown in the table 3 –

Cat mouth anatomy and salivary gland

While studying the cat mouth anatomy, you might also have a good piece of knowledge on the salivary gland. There are three main salivary gland present in the cat – parotid, mandibular, and sublingual. But, you will find another two extra salivary glands in the cat anatomy.

These another two extra salivary glands of cat are – molar and zygomatic. But, you will not find these molar and zygomatic salivary glands in ruminant or horse.

The cat salivary glands are paired organs and located along the lateral surface of the head beneath the connective tissue and skin. But, the duct of these salivary glands open into the mouth cavity. So, I will discuss the unique features of these cat’s salivary gland here.

You may get more information on the salivary glands structure from the below-mentioned article –

Animal salivary glands anatomy with the labeled diagram

Here, I will focus only the location of the five different salivary glands in a cat with their ducts opening to the mouth cavity. Okay, let’s see where the cats salivary glands are located and where they open?

Cat parotid salivary gland

The parotid is the largest salivary gland in the cat that locates ventral to the base of the ear. You will see the larger, diffused, and lobulated structure when you will explore the anatomical facts of this cats salivary gland.

The main ducts of the cats parotid salivary gland emerges from the midpoint of the cranial surface. This parotid duct of a cat crosses masseter muscle and enter to the vestibule of the mouth cavity.

The cat’s parotid duct opens opposite the third upper premolar tooth. Here, you will find the cranial and caudal branches of the facial nerve near the parotid duct.

Anatomically, the cats parotid glands divides into deep and superficial portions. You will find three angles (dorsorostral, dorsocaudal, and third ventral), and three border (dorsal, rostral, and caudal) in the cats parotid salivary glands.

The accessory parotid glands may occur occasionally in the cat. But, it is commonly seen in the dog parotid glands structure. The cat parotid glands are supplied by the parotid arteries.

Cat mandibular gland anatomy

The another name of the cat mandibular salivary gland is submaxillary glands. This submaxillary or mandibular salivary gland is located just ventral to the parotid gland and posterior to the angular process of the cats mandible.

The mandibular salivary glands of a cat are also lobulated but the lobes are less diffuses. Thus, you may see the mandibular glands surface as smooth and more well defined.

The cat’s mandibular duct exists from beneath the anterior edge of the gland. It continue laterally and beneath the digastricus and myohyoid muscles.

Finally, this cat mandibular duct enter into the floor of the oral cavity and open at the base of the small papillae just cranial to the frenulum linguae. This cat mandibular glands sometimes may be confuse with the lymph nodes.

The facial and caudal auricular arteries supply to the cat mandibular gland. Again, you will find the facial and lingual veins that supply to the mandibular gland.

Cat sublingual salivary glands

The cat sublingual salivary glands are the smallest of these three main glands. It adheres to the cranial surface of the cats mandibular glands.

The shape of the cat sublingual gland is conical shape and posses a smooth surface. This sublingual gland of the cat wraps around the proximal extremity of the mandibular duct.

The cats sublingual duct is inconspicuous and run parallel to the mandibular gland. This duct also open on the floor of cat oral cavity along with the mandibular duct. The specific location for the sublingual duct opening is the sublingual caruncle.

Cat Zygomatic and Molar Salivary Glands

The zygomatic and molar glands are also the part of cat salivary system. You will see the brownish gray, and granular molar glands in the cat.

Cat mouth and teeth anatomy

These molar glands of a cat locates at the angle of the jaw immediately beneath the skin. There are different molar salivary gland ducts that open on the inner surface of the cheek.

On the other hand, zygomatic salivary glands are present in the cat salivary system. They are also known as the infraorbital glands that locates in the floor of the orbital cavity.

But, the opening of these zygomatic ducts find in the posterolateral part of the roof of the cat mouth cavity.

Oropharynx of a cat

You know the oropharynx is also the part of cat mouth cavity. So, let’s know the unique anatomical features of the pharynx of a cat.

The cat pharynx is the space shared by the both digestive and respiratory systems. This space extends from the oral cavity of the cat to the larynx.

Like other animals, the cat pharynx is also divided into three segments –

  • Nasopharynx of the cat,
  • Oropharynx of the cat, and
  • Laryngopharynx of a cat,

The nasopharynx is dorsal and extends from the lateral nares to the free edge of the cat soft palate. You will the paired opening of the auditory tube on the lateral wall of the nasopharynx.

You know these paired auditory tubes connect the air filled middle ear with the nasopharynx.

Again, the cat oropharynx is the space bounded laterally by the palatoglossal arches. This structure of the cat pharynx extends from approxiatemely the base of the tongue to the free edge of the soft palate.

Between the oral cavity and pharynx of the cat, you will find the fauces. You know, air, fodd, and liqud passes through the oropharynx on their way to the trachea and esophagus. There are also palatine tonsils present on the laterodorsal wall of the cats oropharynx.

Finally, the cat laryngopharynx is the part of pharynx that have a connection with the epiglottis and glottis of the larynx.

Cat mouth vs human mouth anatomy

Sometimes you may get interested to know the anatomical features of the cat mouth vs human mouth. Though I will not describe all the anatomical features of the human mouth. Here, I will point out some of the features that might help you to know the basic difference of cat mouth vs human mouth.

There is a great difference in the dental formula of the cat and human oral cavity. The respective dental formula of human are shown in the table 4 –

Again, human described as the ominivorous whereas the cats are carnivorous. You will see the shorter and blunter canine teeth in human compare to the cats. Again, the molarifom teeth of human are flattened to adapt grinding.

You will see the diastema in the cat oral cavity (this is the space between lower canine and premolar). But, there is no diastema in the human oral cavity.

The structure of the human tongue is very close to the cats. But, the filiform papillae are less numerous compare to the cats tongue. You will find numerous vallate papillae but no foliate papillae are present.

You will also find similar anatomical features in the human palate like the cat except of insisive duct and ruge. Again, you will find the same salivary glands (parotid, mandibular, and sublingual) in the human as like the cat. But, there are no molar and zygomatic salivary glands present in the human oral cavity.

Cat mouth anatomy labeled diagram

Now, let’s see again the cat mouth anatomy labeled diagram to reembrace all the important features. Here, I will provide the diagrams of different parts or segments of the cat mouth cavity.

That means you will find the separate labeled diagram on the cats lip, cheek, teeth, tongue, pharynx, and different salivary glands. First, lets see the first cat mouth labeled diagram where I tried to show the upper and lower lip with the cheeks.

This cat mouth labeled diagram also shows the vestibular space and the mouth cavity proper. Now, let’s see the different features of the cat tongue anatomy. Here, in the cat tongue labeled diagram, I tried to show you the borders, surfaces, and papillae.

Again, the cat mouth floor labeled diagram shows the frenulum linguae and sublingual carencle. The cat mouth roof labeled diagram shows the different ruge on the hard palate, and smooth soft palate.

Here, on the floor of cats mouth cavity, you will find the opening site for the insisive ducts. Now, let’s see the cat teeth labeled diagram; all the important features from the cat tooth are identified.

Finally, the cat oropharynx is identified from the pharynx. And the three major salivary glands of cat are identified in the labeled diagram. You may find more cat mouth labeled diagram on the social media of anatomy learner.

More inquires on feline mouth anatomy

Here, I will enlist the common questions on the feline mouth anatomy with the possible answers. If you are interested to know the anatomical features of the specific organs of cat mouth anatomy, you may read article from here.

What is the inside of a cat’s mouth supposed to look like?

The healthy cat mouth shows the pink (may be pale or bright) inside it. Again, you will see the reddish gums.

But, if your find any changes in the color of the cat mouth cavity or in the gums; that might be a things of concern. You should immediately contact your pet veterinarian to get valuable suggestion.

What is wrong with my cats mouth?

There are different problems found in the cats mouth cavity proper. You may find the gingivitis, periodontics, and the teeth resorption in your cat mouth.

These dental problems may cause serious discomfort to your cat. In this case, you should cheek the dental status regularly by the professional veterinarian.

What is the tip of a cat’s mouth called?

The top of the cat mouth cavity is known as the palate. You may also called this area as the floor of the cat mouth cavity. The cat palate divides into hard and soft portions. In the hard palate of the cat, you will see some of the transverse mucosal folds which are known as the Rugae (palatine ridges in other animals).

But, this palatine ridge on the cats hard palate are less numerous than the dogs or ruminant. Again, there is a longitudinal sulcus present in the hard palate of a cat. At the front aspect of the cat’s hard palate, you will find the opening of the incisive ducts.

What is the mouth part of a cat called?

The cat mouth cavity is practically divides into two major parts – vestibule (vestibular space) and mouth cavity proper. Again, the cat mouth cavity proper consists of different organs, structures or parts like the teeth, tongue, gums, and oropharynx.

I have already described the vestibular space and the cat mouth cavity proper in this article. Please find the specific information from that segment of the article (cat mouth cavity proper).

What are the special features of cat mouth cavity proper?

The cat mouth cavity proper contains 30 teeth, well structured tongue, floor and roof. In the tongue, you will find four different types of papillae that extends from the apex to the root.

The hard and soft palate locates on the roof of the cat mouth cavity anatomy where you will find some special feature (ruge) that differ from dogs or ruminant. The number of the palatine ridges on the cat hard palate are less compare to the dogs.

Again, the other most important anatomical features of the cat mouth cavity are – frenulum linguae, sublingual caruncle, and other opening site of salivary ducts.


So in the cat mouth anatomy you will find two basis division – vestibule and mouth cavity proper. I hope you can identify the different structures from the cat mouth cavity with the help of labeled diagram.

From the cat mouth cavity anatomy, you might learn the basic features of the teeth, tongue, gums, and salivary glands. Now let’s practices and identify all these structure with the peculiar features from the actual sample of cat mouth cavity.

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