Kittens have baby teeth that fall out before their permanent teeth emerge, just like human children. In today's post, our Redding 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.
When Kittens Lose Their Baby Teeth
A kitten's baby teeth start falling out at roughly 12 weeks or 3 months of age. 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 them for the rest of their 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 how to tell how old they are too (if you are unsure). 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 In Kittens
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
- Unpleasant breath
Most of these symptoms should not be a cause for concern. However, you should still monitor your kitten. 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 dental issues.
Helping A Teething Kitten
Thankfully, there are several choices available to you to help your teething kitten. Try to:
- Offer soft food (canned food or kitten 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.
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.