Like dogs and humans, Kittens also shed their baby teeth before their adult set emerges. Our veterinarians in Los Angeles County discuss teething in kittens and provide insights into what you can anticipate throughout this developmental phase.
Do kittens have teeth?
Kittens typically develop their first set of teeth between 3 to 4 weeks of age. These deciduous or baby teeth can be quite bothersome for the mother cat during feeding, and they play a crucial role in facilitating the weaning process of the kittens. While the emergence of these infants' teeth is usually a smooth process, you may observe the kittens showing an increased interest in chewing on their toys or even playfully nibbling on their siblings more frequently than before.
When do kittens lose their baby teeth?
Kittens develop their initial set of teeth at approximately 3 to 4 weeks of age. These deciduous or baby teeth assist in the weaning process by irritating the mother cat during feeding. While the emergence of these infant teeth is typically smooth, you may observe the kittens displaying increased nibbling behavior on their toys or even their siblings.
How can I tell if my kitten is teething?
Some signs that may indicate that your kitten has entered the teething stage 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
- Bad breath
Most of these symptoms should not concern you, but you should continue to monitor your kitten. For instance, if your cat loses a significant amount of weight due to a lack of appetite, it's advisable to reach out to your vet. Additionally, while mild bleeding in the gums is considered normal, contact your veterinarian if you notice excessive bleeding, as it may indicate dental problems.
What can I do to make my teething kitten feel better?
Thankfully, several options are available to help your teething kitten. You can try to:
- Offer soft food, either a canned diet or 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 a trendy 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. Never give your kitten medications formulated for older cats or other pets! Always consult your vet before administering.
Can I tell how old a kitten is by its teeth?
If you've recently welcomed a new kitten into your home and are uncertain about their birthdate, you may be interested in determining a kitten's age based on their teeth.
Kitten teeth typically start emerging at approximately 3 weeks of age. A very young kitten, younger than 3 weeks, will have no teeth. Once their tiny, needle-like kitten teeth begin to appear, it can pose a challenge to determine their age solely from their dental development precisely. However, as your kitten begins to shed their kitten teeth, you can reasonably assume they are around 3 months old.
Around the 14-week mark, your kitten's first and middle incisors should start to show, followed closely by the second incisors at approximately 15 weeks and the third incisors at around 16 weeks.
For a more accurate estimation of your kitten's age, it's crucial to consider additional factors, such as the extent to which their eyes have opened, their weight, and whether they have started engaging in play.
Is there a chart I can reference for my kitten's teeth?
Ensuring your kitten's health and well-being takes precedence, and preventive care, including early checkups, plays a vital role. If you have a young kitten and are uncertain about their age, it's time to visit the vet. Your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive examination of your kitten, actively searching for signs of worms or other parasites that could potentially impact their long-term health. Furthermore, your vet may provide a reference chart to help you determine your kitten's age based on their teeth.
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.