Just like people, our feline friends have baby teeth that fall out before their permanent teeth emerge. Here, our Edgewater veterinarians explain kitten teething and how you can help relieve any discomfort they may be feeling.
When do kittens start teething?
A kitten will get their first set of teeth at around 3 to 4 weeks old. Also around this time, they will begin weaning from their mother's milk and start to eat wet food or dry kibble that has been dampened.
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 do kittens lose their baby teeth?
So when do kitten teeth fall out? At roughly 12 weeks or 3 months. By the age of 6 months, your cat should have a full set of 30 adult teeth, although some cats take up to 9 months for all their adult teeth to come in.
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 annual professional dental cleanings and examinations. There are also dental treats for cats that can help prevent plaque buildup. Talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend.
Your kitten's baby teeth are also a useful indicator of their age; your veterinarian should be able to tell you how old a kitten is by using their teeth as a guide.
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
Most of these symptoms shouldn't be a cause for concern. But you should still monitor your kitten. If you notice excessive bleeding, a lack of appetite, or an odd smell coming from your kitten's mouth, they could be suffering from an infection. You should make an appointment with your veterinarian to have the issue professionally diagnosed.
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 they get plenty of interactive playtime with you to keep them busy and tire them out
- Make ice cubes of low-sodium chicken broth or diluted tuna juice for them 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 veterinarian.