Like people, kittens have baby teeth that fall out before their permanent teeth emerge. In today's post, our Benicia veterinarians explain kitten teething and how you can help.
When Do Kittens Start Teething?
Around 3 to 4 weeks of age, kittens get their first set of teeth. Because the teeth irritate the mother cat when she is feeding, the deciduous or baby teeth aid in the weaning of the kittens. The emergence of an infant's teeth is normally uneventful, however, you might notice the kittens nibbling on their toys, or maybe their siblings, more than usual.
Development Of Kitten Teeth
When do kitten teeth fall out? When your kitten reaches about 12 weeks (3 months) old, they begin losing their baby teeth. 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 6-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 to estimate their age as well (if you don't know already). Your vet should be able to tell you how old a kitten is by using its teeth as a guide too!
Common Signs Of Teething Kittens
Some signs that your teething kitten may display include:
- Vocalizing more (meowing)
- Increased chewing, especially on soft items
- Bleeding gums
- Chewing food more slowly
- Eating less
- Hesitant to bite at or shake toys during play
- Pawing at mouth
- Bad breath
Your kitten will experience some discomfort, but these symptoms are mostly no cause for concern. However, you should still monitor your kitten for changes to their health. If your cat loses significant weight because of a lack of appetite, for example, it's a good idea to contact your vet. And while mild bleeding in the gums is normal, you should contact your veterinarian if there is excessive bleeding as this could be a sign of more serious dental issues.
Helping A Teething Kitten
Luckily, there are several options available to help soothe your kitten's aching gums. You can try:
- Offering soft food (e.g. canned kitten food, diet or kitten kibble soaked in warm water)
- Ensuring your kitten gets plenty of interactive playtime to keep them busy and tire them out
- Making ice cubes of low-sodium chicken broth or diluted tuna juice for them to play with and chew on to soothe their irritated gums
- Providing soft pet 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.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.