Why My Cat Has Swollen Lip? And What Are Treatments?

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Some skin diseases are very complex and difficult to treat. Although they are not as lethal as other types of illness, they leave many health complications, affecting your pet’s normal life.

Cats are susceptible to skin infections, parasites, allergies, and many other conditions that are common in humans. If your cat is anorexic or frequently scratches her mouth, this might be the sign of a lip skin problem which can lead to serious illnesses like swelling or ulcerating. In this post, we’ll show you why a cat has swollen lip and how to treat it!

Why Your Cat Has Swollen Lip?

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex

This is a common and underdiagnosed disease in cats. It is said that the disease is caused by an allergic reaction and has symptoms including ulcers, swollen lip, and red spots on the face, mouth, neck, abdomen, limbs, or other areas. For its allergic origin, there is no cure; however, treatment helps to prevent the allergen exposure, leading to limit the development of clinical signs.

Photo credit: Tanja 

The cat's immune cells sometimes become disorganized, and they react as if the parasites are attacking their body. These typical immune cells are known as eosinophils. According to The University of Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, the condition is due to eosinophilic granuloma complex.

Typically, this complex will have an allergic reaction to parasite bites. As known, fleas and lice are parasites on the pet's fur, which attack them by biting, sucking blood, causing skin injuries or skin infections. If the cat is bitten by one of the parasites, or on the lips, it may swell, appear red, and itch.

Dental Abscesses and Dental Problems

Swollen lips can be caused by tooth abscesses or other dental problems.

Studies show that an abscessed, a broken tooth or other oral infections in their mouth would make the face and lips swollen. The phenomenon of the abscess is a series of painful pustules in bites or wounds around the mouth and lips and usually occurs after the fighting between the cats.

What’s more? Gingivitis or gumboil is the earliest stage of cats' oral diseases. Bacteria and food plaque can accumulate on cat's teeth. It can harden and form tartar, causing gingivitis, making the gums weak and breaking teeth. If untreated, tartar will bring about red gum, ulceration, swollen lip, bad breath.

When oral health is the cause, you may notice other signs. Because a painful mouth is difficult to eat, cats can become anorexic. Uncomfortable reactions and “bad breath” are all indications due to an oral problem.

Other Issues

If the cat's teeth are quite healthy and not the season of parasites, many medical issues can quite make his lips swell.

Acnes are a common reason for swollen lips. When the pores are blocked by the sebaceous glands under the chin, acne appears. The cause may be due to stress, poor brushing, and reaction to the drug.

Photo credit: Chris Brn 

According to WebMD, a cat has swollen lips for an allergic reaction to pollen or inhaled allergens like antibiotics or heart medications. As concerned, cats may be allergic to hair care products, foods, and environmental stimulants. Allergies can cause hair loss or injuries such as swelling and sore in any area of ​​the body, especially, sensitive areas such as the mouth and lips.

In addition, a particular type of cancer can cause the lower jaw and lips to swell. Oral cancer usually spreads very quickly (within weeks or months) and usually does not stop there. They appear and infiltrate surrounding tissues causing ulcerating and bleeding. Usually, a hard mass with the bone can be a cause for concern. This is also true for pigmented tumors or pimples that will be bigger, then spread, and bleed (malignant tumors).

What’re Treatments for Swollen Lips in Cats?

Once you know the causes of the cat's swollen lip, you need to find a way to eliminate both the direct and indirect ones of these harmful agents.

Take Care of the Lips

Put a cat in front of you, then gently pull his lips and look inside. Healthy gums are strong and pink, not red or white, or show symptoms of swelling.

Take Care of and Prevent Dental Problems

Firstly, check their breath. Please smell their breath for just a while. The cat's breath would not be as fragrant as a rose, but it was not an unpleasant odor. However, if you feel its breath is foul-smelling, your friend may have digestive problems and you’d better look for cat food for digestive problems.

Next, check more closely. Consider following signs to identify problems with pet's mouth such as a dark reddish bloodline under the gums, red and swelling gums, sores on the gums or tongue, a loose tooth, drooling, scratching around the mouth.

If you notice any signs of gum disease, take your pet to a vet for a checkup. If untreated, gum disease can develop, leading to tooth fractures that prevent a cat from eating or drinking. Inflammation also shows signs of internal disease such as kidney disease or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Also known as AIDS in cats, the virus causes immunodeficiency, leading to many serious diseases. The virus spreads mainly through bites, from infected cat's saliva to blood.

Prevent the Cause of Gingivitis

Bacteria and food plaque can accumulate on cat's teeth. It can harden and form tartar, causing gingivitis, making the gums weak and breaking teeth. What's solution? Of course, clean your cat's teeth regularly.

All you need to brush is a cotton swab, a small toothbrush and a special toothpaste for your cat. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet about some of the most reliable toothpaste, and remember to never use human toothpaste because it contains ingredients that can be harmful to cats.

Eliminate Parasites

To eliminate them, you will treat the cat and clean the items, bedding, blankets, mattresses. The monthly prevention process is the gold standard to control this problem. This practice will eliminate parasites both on the cat's body and in your home as they will not be able to reproduce. When fleas, ticks disappear, you no longer worry about their bites on the cat anymore.

Treat Allergic Dermatitis

To protect your cat's skin from allergens, you can bathe your cat with shampoo & soap on the advice of your vet. Besides, there are many ways to relieve allergic skin irritation, but the best way to avoid contact with allergens.

If cats get acne dermatitis, your vet may recommend that you purchase a bath oil (check can cats eat olive oil) or gel for acne, or you will have to buy antibiotics if acne is associated with the infection. You can also bathe for pets by cooking green tea leaves or lemon peels with antibacterial purpose.

When to Bring Your Cat to the Vet?

Check with your vet as soon as possible if you notice any odd signs on the mouth, nose and surrounding areas, such as swelling, red spots, or the condition of anorexia or fatigue. Even if the cat's skin looks good, you should notice whether it scratches. Some cats might lick you or even bites themselves when their lips or mouth gets hurt.

The doctor can determine the cause of swelling and prescribe medication and treatment to reduce discomfort.


Cats or any animal species may also have some specific diseases, but each has specific characteristics. Understanding the common symptoms of swollen lips, as well as the causes and solutions will help your cat properly and quickly return to health.

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