Congratulations on your new kitten! That little bundle of fur will no doubt give you years of fun, companionship, and laughter. Besides all the fun, part of having a pet is, of course, learning how to take care of them, and in order to do that you might have some questions.
Pet dental care, especially for cats, can be easy to overlook. However, it is a crucial part of cat health and happiness. Read on for some facts and tips about cats, their baby teeth, cat teething, and cat dental care.
Table of Contents
Do Cats Have Baby Teeth?
Cats, just like humans, are born without teeth. Also like humans, throughout their lives they will have two sets of teeth: their primary (“baby”) teeth, which they lose, and then their permanent teeth. Kittens will start to get their 26 baby teeth when they are about 3 weeks old.
When Do Kittens Lose Their Teeth?
When kittens are around 11 or 12 weeks old, they start losing their baby teeth and the adult teeth start coming in. By the time your kitten is 6 or 7 months old, she should have 30 permanent teeth.
What Can You Give a Teething Cat?
As with human babies, cat teething can be quite uncomfortable for little fur babies. You may notice signs of teething when she is around 6 months old. Your kitten may be irritable when she is teething. She may also drool and may have some difficulty eating dry food, because that can be painful to sore gums. Try giving your cat some wet food which may be easier for her to eat. You may also notice that she is chewing on things around the house, including your fingers and toes!
To keep her safe, make sure you remove anything that is dangerous for her to chew on, such as electronic wires or any kinds of plants that may be poisonous to cats. Chewing on furniture is not only annoying to owners, but the splinters that can result from chewing on wooden furniture can be dangerous as well, so you should hide or cover wooden furniture.
Make sure your kitten has some chew toys – you can even buy chew toys specifically for teething kittens – to give her some relief and to keep her from chewing on anything she shouldn’t be. Also, give her some soft, canned food so she doesn’t have to try to eat dry food with a sore mouth.
Do Cats Swallow Their Baby Teeth?
You may notice a stray baby tooth lying on the floor. Typically, though, kittens will lose their teeth when they are eating or playing, so you may not even notice that they have lost a tooth.
It is possible that they will swallow their baby teeth when they come out, but this isn’t something to worry about because they pass harmlessly through the digestive tract.
How Many Teeth Do Cats Lose?
By the time they are around 6 months old, kittens should be well on their way to losing all 26 of their baby teeth to make way for their adult teeth.
Do Cats Lose Teeth in Old Age?
Cats should not lose teeth once they are of adult age. If you notice your cat is missing a tooth or you find one in the house once they are past the kitten stage, you should contact your veterinarian, as this can be a sign of serious dental problems such as an infection or an abscessed tooth.
Besides tooth loss, other signs of dental problems include drooling, only chewing on one side of the mouth, your cat constantly pawing at the side of her face, and rubbing her face along the floor. Cats who are 6 years or older are especially prone to dental problems.
How Can You Take Care of Your Cat’s Teeth?
Brushing your cat’s teeth may sound like a pretty difficult task, but it reduces the odds of your cat suffering with periodontal disease when they are older, so it is worth it.
Start brushing their teeth when they are still fairly young, but not until after their adult teeth have grown in. If you start too early, it can hurt gums that are still tender from teething, causing your cat to forever associate tooth brushing with pain.
You can get special toothpaste (in yummy, cat-approved flavors such as tuna, chicken, and beef) and a toothbrush that are made for cats. You can also try dental treats that are specially made to clean cat’s teeth. These aren’t a substitute for brushing, but will still help your cat’s teeth to stay clean.
Kittens and cats provide affection, love, and lots of laughter. Keep that kitty healthy from the beginning, by helping them get through the cat teething stage when they lose their baby teeth and then taking care of their adult teeth!