If you have welcomed a new kitten into your home and noticed that they have started teething, it's natural to have questions and concerns. Our team of vets at Red Rocks Animal Center is here to provide the kitten teething answers and guidance you need.
Kittens First Teeth
At around three weeks old, kittens begin to develop their first set of teeth. These initial teeth are known as milk or deciduous teeth. The incisors and primary canines are usually the first to emerge, followed by the remaining teeth shortly thereafter. Typically, kittens will have all their baby teeth by the age of eight weeks, although it can happen as early as six weeks.
Between the ages of 3 to 4 months, your kitten's baby teeth will start to fall out, making way for their adult teeth to emerge through the gums. By the time a kitten reaches 6 months of age, most of their adult teeth will have grown in. Adult cats generally have a total of 26 baby teeth and 30 adult teeth.
Signs Your Kitten is Teething
While your kitten is teething, there may be instances when you don't notice any noticeable changes in their behavior or eating habits. The only indication that they are going through this phase might be the discovery of small teeth around your home. It's worth noting that your kitten may also swallow their baby teeth, so it's not necessary to find all of them.
However, there are occasions when teething can cause noticeable reactions in your kitten. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Slight bleeding of the gums
- Pawing at their mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Excessive chewing
- Sore, red gums
It is important to look for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, symptoms include extremely swollen or bleeding gums and bad breath.
Occasionally, kittens may have persistent deciduous teeth, meaning that some of their baby teeth did not fall out. This condition is rare but worth keeping watching out for because it could cause discomfort and need to be pulled out. Contact our Lakewood vets if you have any questions about teething and teeth that may need help coming out.
How to Help Your Kitten
Now that you're aware that your kitten is teething, you may want to assist them if they experience any discomfort. Despite having pointy and sharp teeth, the process of their emergence through the gums surprisingly involves minimal pain for the kitten.
Similar to children, your teething kitten may seek relief by chewing on objects. However, it's important to be cautious during this time, as they might chew on anything they find on the ground, including dangerous power cords.
Another aspect to be mindful of when your kitten is teething is your house plants. While many common house plants are safe for your kitten to nibble on, some can be toxic. Take the time to ensure that the plants in your home are not poisonous to your kitten.
There are several safe options for your kitten to chew on if they need something. One such option is a washcloth, which can be wet and frozen before giving it to your kitten. However, be careful as it may leave wet spots on your couch or floor.
You can also purchase kitten chew toys from most pet stores, including rubber or soft plastic toys that are designed for easy chewing. There are toys specifically made to be chilled in the refrigerator. To ensure your kitten's safety, always supervise them while they play and follow the instructions provided with the toy.
It's crucial to keep an eye on your kitten during playtime to prevent any breakage of the toy. Broken pieces could pose a choking hazard and should be discarded.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Kittens Teeth
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial at any age, including for kittens and cats. Dental infections and diseases can be prevalent among feline companions, but by establishing a cleaning routine early on, your kitten will adapt to it quickly. Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, promotes healthy gums, reduces the risk of gingivitis, and combats halitosis (bad breath).