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Teething in kittens at a glance
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.
When do 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.
When do adult teeth 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.
Symptoms of teething in kittens
- 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
- 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.
Kitten teeth care
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.
Frequently asked questions
Do kittens bleed when they teeth?
A kitten may bleed when a tooth falls out, but it will only be minimal.
How long do kittens teeth for?
Kittens teeth for 6 weeks.
Do kittens need teething toys?
Kittens will often bite on hard objects when teething, a teething toy can help to redirect their chewing onto a more suitable product.
Do kittens bite when teething?
Kittens can bite when teething, which is why a teething toy can be helpful. Always discourage biting in kittens by redirecting their behaviour onto a toy.
Do kittens swallow their teeth?
Yes, kittens can swallow their teeth which is why most pet owners don’t always find kitten teeth.