If you've noticed that your cat's gums have black spots on them, you may understandably be concerned. Any kind of blemishes, marks, or lesions on the skin of any animal are something that deserve attention. This guide will explain what the black spots on your cat's gums might be, and what you can do about them.


One of the most common causes of black spots on cat's gums is a skin condition called lentigo. Lentigo is a non-harmful skin disorder in which the body produces abnormal amounts of melanin over portions of a cat's skin and gums. Melanin is what turns skin dark and protects against sun damage, but sometimes a cat's body may distribute melanin abnormally, resulting in isolated black spots.

Lentigo is not a dangerous disorder and shouldn't cause any harm to your cat. However, you can expect your cat to develop more black spots as they age.

Periodontal Disease

You might be surprised to learn that 85% of cats may develop dental disease once they're past the age of three. Unfortunately, unlike lentigo, black spots on the gums that signify periodontal disease are a serious sign that your cat's health is at risk.

Black spots on the gums in association with periodontal disease generally indicate that the teeth, roots of the teeth, or even the gums themselves are decaying. Once a cat has developed periodontitis, it cannot be reversed through tooth brushing at home.

Determining Cause

There are a few easy ways to tell the difference between periodontitis and lentigo. Lentigo has no additional symptoms, since it's just a build-up of melanin. However, periodontitis may have many other symptoms, including:

  • Sensitivity - Cats with poor oral health may avoid being petted on the face, or lash out if you touch them near their mouth.
  • Smell - Oral disease is often accompanied by a very bad smell. If your cat's breath smells particularly bad, they may have periodontitis.
  • Bleeding - If the gums are sick enough to be changing colors, chances are your cat's mouth is bleeding. If you don't see blood in their water after they drink, try gently poking their gumline and see if it bleeds.

If your cat has none of these additional symptoms, it's probably lentigo. However, if your cat does have any of these signs, you should get them to a veterinarian for a checkup and dental cleaning immediately.

Prevention of Periodontal Disease

Whether your cat has periodontal disease or not, it's important to protect them from it. Make sure to brush your cat's teeth regularly, and take them to see a vet for professional cleanings.

Through the information in this guide, you can determine whether your cat has lentigo or periodontal disease. If you have further concerns, don't hesitate to see a veterinarian to get a professional assessment. To find out more, speak with a business like Gwynedd Veterinary Hospital.