Cats, like people, have baby teeth that fall out before their permanent teeth emerge. In today's post, our Middlesex veterinarians explain kitten teething and how you can help.
When do kittens start teething?
Kittens develop their first set of teeth between the ages of 3 and 4 weeks. Because the mother cat's teeth irritate her when she feeds, the deciduous or baby teeth aid in the weaning of the kittens. Normally, the eruption of an infant's teeth is uneventful; however, you may notice the kittens nibbling on their toys or siblings more than usual.
When do kittens lose their baby teeth?
When do kitten teeth fall out? At roughly 12 weeks or 3 months. Your cat should have a full set of 30 adult teeth by the age of six months. Some may take up to 9 months to get a full set of adult teeth though, so don't fret too much if your cat still has some baby teeth at the six-month mark.
Your cat's adult teeth will be with her for the rest of her life, so take good care of them! The gold standard for feline dental care includes daily brushing with cat-safe toothpaste, as well as expert teeth cleanings under anesthesia regularly. Some cats may even benefit from dental diets and treats.
You can use this information regarding a kitten's teeth on how to tell how old they are too (if you are unsure). Your vet should be able to tell you the age of a kitten is by using its teeth as a guide too!
What are the most common signs of kitten teething?
Some signs that indicate your kitten may be teething include:
- Vocalizing more, from small to loud meows
- Increased chewing, especially on soft items
- Bleeding gums
- Chewing food more slowly
- Eating less
- Hesitant to bite at or shake toys
- Pawing at mouth
- Bad breath
The majority of these symptoms should not be cause for concern. However, you should continue to keep an eye on your kitten. If your cat loses a significant amount of weight due to a lack of appetite, for example, you should consult with your veterinarian. While mild gum bleeding is normal, excessive bleeding should be reported to your veterinarian as it may indicate dental problems.
How to Help a Teething Kitten
Thankfully, there are several options available to you to help your teething kitten. You can try to:
- Offer soft food; either a canned diet or kibble soaked in warm water
- Make sure she gets plenty of interactive playtime with you to keep her busy and tire her out
- Make ice cubes of low-sodium chicken broth or diluted tuna juice for her to play with and chew on. The ice will soothe irritated gums. This is an especially popular item during hot weather!
- Provide soft toys to chew on
- Provide pet-safe cat grass for snacking
Discomfort is usually mild and should resolve itself. For extreme cases of pain, make sure you contact your veterinarian.
Is there a chart I can reference for my kitten's teeth?
While there is no kitten teeth chart for those who want to track their kitten's development, you can always contact your vet to find out how your kitten is doing and if they are developing well.