Do you have a new little kitten who has begun teething? Our Oceanside vets discuss what you can expect while your kitten is teething, and what you can do to help.
Kittens First Teeth
Kittens are born with no visible teeth but they will get their first ones at just three weeks old. Kitten's baby teeth are called milk or deciduous teeth. Your kitten will get their incisors and primary canines first, and then the rest follow shortly afterward. Kittens will have all their baby teeth by eight weeks normally but it could be as early as six weeks.
Your kitten's baby teeth will all fall out by the age of 3 to 4 months, making room for adult teeth to break through the gums and grow. Generally, all your cat's adult teeth are in place by the time a kitten is 6 months old. Most adult cats have 26 baby teeth and 30 adult teeth.
Taking your kitten to the vet for a dental exam is always a good idea as they begin teething to ensure there are no concerns.
Signs Your Kitten is Teething
Many times when your kitten is teething you won't notice any changes in them. They won't act or eat differently during this time and the only reason you know that they are teething is that you find little teeth around your house. Your kitten may also swallow their baby teeth so don't be concerned if you don't find them all. But there are other times when your kitten reacts to teething. Some things to look out for are:
- 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.
How to Help Your Kitten
Now that you know your kitten is teething you may want to help them if they are experiencing any discomfort. With teeth that are pointy and sharp, you would think it hurts a lot to pop them through their gum but surprisingly there is minimal pain for the kitten.
Much like children, your kitten may want to chew on something as they are teething to relieve any soreness they are having. You need to be careful when this happens because they will chew on anything they find laying around on the ground, which includes very dangerous power cords.
Another thing you need to look out for when your kitten is teething is your house plants. A lot of common house plants are fine for your kitten to eat but some can be poisonous to your kitten. Double check the plants in your home are not poisonous to your kitten.
There are many different safe things your kitten can chew on if they need something. One safe chew toy for your kitten that you will have in your home is a washcloth. You can wet and then freeze a washcloth and give it to your kitten to chew on. Be careful though, it will leave a wet spot if let on your couch or floor.
You can buy kitten chew toys from most pet stores, including rubber or soft plastic toys that are easy to chew and toys that you can put in the refrigerator. To keep your kitten safe, you should stay with them while they play with it and always follow the toy's directions. Make sure to watch your kitten as they may in case they break the toy, broken pieces could be a choking hazard and need to be thrown out right away.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Kittens Teeth
It is always important to have good oral hygiene no matter the age. Dental infections or diseases can be common in kittens and cats but if you start a cleaning routine early enough your kitten will get used to it quickly and you will be able to help prevent plaque and tartar formation. It will also promote healthy gums, and reduce the risk of gingivitis and reduce halitosis (bad breath).