It doesn’t need to be Halloween season for some of our feline friends to rock their vampire fangs. And just as polydactyl cats are adored for their extra toes, there are many cat lovers (myself included!) who are crazy about cats with vampire like fangs. For those cats who have long fangs, it gives them a wildcat look without having any wild cat DNA coursing through their veins. Have you ever wondered why some cats have long fangs? Keep reading to find out the answer!
First, a break down on cat teeth…
Your average feline friend has 30 permanent teeth, and when they were just wee little kittens, they had 26 deciduous teeth—AKA milk teeth. As they mature, those pearly permanent whites come into play. Usually their canine teeth—those fang teeth—will measure around 1 cm in length. Your cat has four pronounced canines, and those are actually their most important teeth as they’re used for hunting. (You know, that food bowl that’s always filled is the modern day cat’s preferred style.)
Interesting little factoid for you? Your feline friend actually doesn’t have the ability to chew their food. This is because they don’t have flat molars like we humans do. So, essentially, your cat is tearing up their food as they eat it. Want to know what else makes your cat the fierce hunter that they are? Their canines even have a “bleeding groove” which is meant to allow the blood of their prey to bleed around the tooth and not choke the cat. So, yeah, your cat is basically a tiny badass even though you supply them with all their meals! While cats are meat eaters, just make sure that you are feeding them plain meat and it should contain minimal fat and bones. So if you are wondering, “can cats eat salami?”, well a few bites won’t hurt, but excessive intake of it can be fatal to cats.
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And those itty bitty tiny rows of teeth in between their fangs are what are referred to as their grooming teeth. I’ll just let you guess what those are used for!
Think about it like this. If your cat was living in the wild, and they had no meals provided to them on a daily basis, they’d find a way to survive, no questions asked. Size doesn’t always matter when it comes to cats and their teeth, either—even with big cats. For example, the black-footed cat, which is certainly the smallest of all the big cats, is arguably the fiercest hunter in the wild and they only reach 4 lbs. at maturity.
So, why is it that some cats have long fangs?
It seems that black cats are more prone to having these vampire like fangs that we admire. And, since they already have dark coats, it makes them look even cooler! In regards to the fangs in general, it seems that for some cats they are retaining physical characteristics of their less domesticated ancestors. Yes, of course they know you’re going to feed them and they won’t be forced to eat you in your sleep. And just because they have those vampire teeth doesn’t mean they’ve got a taste for sucking blood either.
In addition to black cats often having long fangs, many cats with Asian heritage seem to have this trait, too. For example, the Siamese and the Oriental Shorthair often have longer fangs than the average house cat. Obviously some of these long fangs are more presentable than others, and there are times when they are just slightly noticeable. The longest I’ve seen would be Monk the Vampire Kitty, whose vampire fangs are an impressive 3/4″ long! Oh, Monk, how I love you…🖤
The good news is, if your cat has long fangs, this doesn’t mean that there’s anything “wrong” with them. They just happen to have longer fangs and are holding on closely to their fierce cat DNA of the past. Just admire them for their beauty—but keep in mind they are a feline assassin ready to slay! If you feel as if your cat’s canines are an issue, however, it’s always good to take them in to be seen by their veterinarian. Should a cat lose a tooth, it won’t regrow. It’s so important for us to ensure that their teeth are nice and healthy—even if they are a tad long! (More on dental care here!)