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3 Explanations For Black Spots On Cats Gums

3 Explanations For Black Spots On Cats Gums

By observing the behavior and appearance of our cats, we can learn a lot about their health. 

Cats are animals that often won’t readily show when something is bothering or hurting them. As a result, cat owners may frequently find themselves in situations where they have to draw conclusions on their own.

It is important to understand that not every strange behavior or change in a cat’s body will indicate that she has a health problem. However, it is always good to check with the vet what it could be, especially if you notice something like spots on your cat’s gums.

The truth is that this can indeed indicate health problems in the cat, so you should definitely not ignore this phenomenon.

Let’s take a look at the 3 common reasons for black spots on cats gums, and what you can do to help.

1. Lentigo

black spots on the gums of a gray cat

One of the most common reasons for a black spot on cats gums is lentigo, which is, according to Spruce Pets, a genetic condition characterized by an increase in the number of epidermal melanocytes. 

Essentially, lentigo is a form of hyperpigmentation in a cat’s skin cells that may become more frequent as the cat ages.

Lentigo most commonly appears in orange cat breeds, and might also occur in calico and tortoiseshell cats. 

Besides the cat’s gums, these black spots can also appear on her lips, eyelids, nose, and even all over her body.

You can see how lentigo looks on a cat in the video below.

@crispy.pancake Meet aspen #fyp #cat #orangecat #lentigo #foryou #cutecat #kitten ♬ Nuestra Canción (feat. Vicente García) – Monsieur Periné

This condition isn’t painful and doesn’t cause any harm to a cat – it’s purely a cosmetic thing.

Still, you might want to take your cat to the veterinarian, just to have him confirm that she has lentigo, and not some other health issue.

Lentigo is benign and doesn’t require any form of treatment.

2. Gingivitis

Black spots might also indicate a dental or gum disease in your cat, most often gingivitis, to be precise.

The Cornell Feline Health Center explains how gingivitis presents a condition where the gums around the cat’s teeth become inflamed.

Gingivitis usually appears as a result of plaque buildup in the cat’s mouth. If not removed regularly, the plaque may migrate deeper, reaching where the gums meet the base of the cat’s tooth.

Irregular teeth brushing and cleaning can also contribute to a cat developing gingivitis.

Besides black spots on the gums, a cat might also show other clinical symptoms, such as refusing to eat, having bad breath, drooling, and even bleeding from gums and teeth.

Regular tooth brushing, and taking your cat for professional teeth cleaning at least once a year can significantly prevent gingivitis.

If your cat has developed gingivitis, this condition can be very painful for her, but, it’s possible to help her with antibiotics, and cleaning her teeth at home, as recommended by the veterinarian.

3. Oral Tumors

black spots on the gums in a cat

Unfortunately, black spots on a cat’s gums could also signify she’s dealing with an oral tumor.

Patnaik and Mooney [1] point out how oral melanomas in felines aren’t as common as ocular melanomas, but they are malignant and have a high rate of mortality and metastasis.

VCA Animal Hospitals points out how oral tumors in cats present an abnormal growth of cells. The exact reasons why a cat might develop these tumors are not entirely known, but it’s believed that a combination of environmental and genetic factors may play a role.

Except for black spots on gums, a cat with an oral tumor might also show excess drooling, panting, difficulty eating, and facial swelling.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you need to take her to a vet clinic as soon as possible.

The standard treatment for these tumors includes surgical removal. If the surgery isn’t possible, the veterinarian will probably suggest radiation therapy.


Are black spots on cats gums a reason to be worried?

In most cases, your cat will have these black spots due to the genetic condition called lentigo. If you have an orange cat, lentigo is most likely the answer to why your cat is having this change of color on her gums.

In addition, calico and tortoiseshell cats are also likely to develop this condition.

Still, lentigo doesn’t always have to be the cause of your cat’s gums pigmentation. This might also happen due to a dental problem, or even an oral tumor.

Therefore, if you notice black spots on your cat’s gums, you should check this with your vet.

Lentigo is a completely benign condition, and nothing to be concerned about, so, if your vet confirms this has caused your cat’s black gums, you will feel revealed!

On the other hand, if your cat does have a certain health problem, you can take comfort in knowing that you acted quickly upon noticing the changes and did the best possible thing for your cat’s well-being.

[1] Patnaik AK, Mooney S. Feline melanoma: a comparative study of ocular, oral, and dermal neoplasms. Vet Pathol. 1988 Mar;25(2):105-12. DOI, Retrieved July 24, 2023.