The most common cause of swollen gums in cats is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is commonly called, is caused by a buildup of food and bacteria on the teeth. This buildup is called plaque or tartar.
Early stages of gum disease can be easily missed. You may notice that your cat has bad breath, is not eating as well and may be pawing at his face and drooling.
With advanced stages of gum disease, you may notice that your cats gums are bleeding. You may notice pus around the gums and teeth, and you may even notice that teeth are loose or missing.
Treatment for periodontal disease will consist of a thorough cleaning by a veterinarian, which is performed under general anesthesia. Most cats are placed on antibiotics after teeth cleaning to prevent any secondary problems caused by the release of bacteria during the cleaning.
To prevent the buildup of tartar, you should "brush" your cat's teeth with a specially formulated toothbrush and toothpaste. Feeding dry kibble can aid in cleaning the surface of the teeth as well.
Although periodontal disease is the most common cause of swollen gums, they could also be a symptom of other serious illnesses, such as feline leukemia, feline AIDS and hypothyroidism. It is important to see your veterinarian for regular check-ups to keep your cat happy and healthy.