Teething in Kittens-Symptoms & Treatment

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Age and order of kitten teeth     Does teething hurt?   Symptoms of teething    How to help a teething kitten   Retained baby teeth   Caring for your kitten’s teeth

Kitten teething at a glance

  • Kittens have 26 baby teeth
  • Cats have 30 adult teeth
  • Two weeks – Deciduous (baby) incisors erupt
  • 3 to 4 weeks – Deciduous (baby) canines (fangs) erupt
  • 4 to 6 – Deciduous (baby) pre-molars erupt
  • Eleven weeks the baby teeth begin to fall out and are replaced with the adult (permanent) teeth.
  • 16 weeks – Permanent incisors have erupted
  • 20 weeks – Permanent canines (fangs) have erupted
  • 24 weeks – All  permanent premolars have erupted
  • Permanent molars come in in late kittenhood/early adulthood

 

Teething in kittens

Kittens are born without teeth, the first set of teeth (known as baby or deciduous) begin to break through by the second week of life and kitten teeth will have erupted by 6-8 weeks of age. Just like humans, kittens have two sets of teeth, baby teeth and then the permanent (adult) teeth.

Teething in kittens can be either the eruption of the second set of teeth (the adult teeth), although technically teething is defined as the eruption of the first (baby) teeth. This article will cover the eruption of both baby teeth and adult teeth.

What age and order do the baby teeth come in?

  • 2 weeks: Deciduous incisors (the small teeth at the front).
  • 3 – 4 weeks: Deciduous canines (the long, pointy teeth next to the front teeth).
  • 4 – 6 weeks: Deciduous pre-molars (also known bicuspids, these are the teeth located between the canine and molar teeth).
  • 8 weeks: All baby teeth have come in.

What age do the adult teeth (non-deciduous) begin to come in?

Around 3-4 months the incisors erupt, followed by the canines, premolars, molars come in last, in late kittenhood/early adulthood. All adult teeth should be in by eight months.

You may notice your kitten has loose teeth at this time; it is not unusual to find tiny kitten teeth on the floor.

Does teething hurt kittens?

This is not known for sure, but many people believe that teething does cause some pain and discomfort, and they notice their kitten becoming a bit more grumpy around teething time.

What are the symptoms of teething in kittens?

  • Drooling
  • Chewing hard objects
  • Bad breath
  • There may be some slight redness of the gums as the teeth erupt, but this should return to normal quickly
  • Reluctance to eat, especially dry food (kibble)

How to help a teething kitten

  • Give him finely chopped up food or canned food if he appears to be in pain.
  • Some kittens have an interest in gnawing on solid objects when the adult teeth are erupting. One kitten chewed on a leather handbag of mine. Find something suitable for your kitten to chew on such as a kitten toy or a softened dog chew.
  • There are several cat-friendly teething toys which can help your kitten. These should be large enough and strong enough to bite off pieces which could then be choked on or swallowed but should be gentle enough not to damage the teeth.
  • DO NOT give human painkillers to a teething kitten.

Retained baby teeth

You may notice that the adult tooth erupts before the baby tooth has fallen out. In most cases, the tooth will eventually come out, but it is a good idea to seek veterinary attention as it may need to be extracted. This is a simple process as the tooth will be loose anyway.

Caring for your kitten’s teeth

The baby teeth are not as strong as the adult teeth and can be easily damaged;  keep hard objects which can damage the teeth away from your kitten.

Kittens should have their teeth cleaned once a day with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste). Also, feed raw chicken necks or wings and chunks of human grade steak two to three times a week.

I can’t highlight the importance of this enough. Periodontal disease is the number one disease in cats under ten, and it impacts more than your cat’s teeth, it can have a devastating effect on the organs as bacteria from the mouth travel to other parts of the body.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve never seen a cat drool as bad as my little kitty, Lillie. I never even put a thought into her teething til a friend made a comment about it. Now I know why Lillie drools and leaves my clothes wet. Thanks for the much needed information.

    • You are welcome. They are all different, I had one cat who would drool when we petted him, and one cat who chewed my leather handbag when she was teething.

  2. My cat is just under 1 year old. She has started chewing cables and when she licks me (she obsessively licks my fingers and is always trying to lick my face) she has started to try to gnaw on my hands with her back molars. Is she teething still? Is there likely to be a problem?

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