Here is a veterinarian’s guide for gum color in cats.

The color of a cat’s gums can tell a lot about your pet’s health. For this article I consulted with Dr. Jules Benson, BVSc, and VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan pet insurance.

Ideal Cat Gum Color

“When it comes to your cat’s gums, the key is to think pink!” begins Dr. Benson. “A healthy cat’s gums are pink, neither too red nor too dull.”

However, a cat may have been born with black gums. In that case, says Dr. Benson, black gums would be this cat’s normal color.

If you have a kitten or are planning on getting a kitten, take good notice of the gum color. In fact, take a few photos. You should know what the normal color usually is. If you have a cat and not a kitten, take a few photos anyways.

Knowing what the color normally is will assist you in spotting any changes that might mean a medical problem.

Cat Gum Color Guide

Dr. Benson explains: “Bright pink or red gums can be a sign of toxicity or dental disease; yellowish gums could point to problems with the liver.

“If your cat’s gums are looking blue, purple, gray, or whitish, this is an indication that blood is not circulating well in the peripheral circulation, which could be for a number of reasons, including cardiac disease, cancer, metabolic disease (kidney, liver disease), poisoning, shock and many others.”

Summary: A cat’s gums can be the following colors: regular pink, black, bright pink, red, yellowish, blue, purple, gray and whitish. That’s quite a spectrum.

CRT Test

A veterinarian may perform a test called a capillary refill time, says Dr. Benson. The veterinarian presses on an area of the gum.

It momentarily turns a light pink or white while the blood is pushed out of the tissue. The vet then counts to see how long it takes for the normal color to return. A normal capillary refill time is less than two seconds.

Final Thought

If you notice changes, see your veterinarian immediately. “Because cats are very good at hiding obvious behaviors associated with disease, looking at things like gum color regularly can be a great way to check circulatory health,” says Dr. Benson.