Meow to Ow… Dealing with a Teething Kitten A kitten comes with a lot of work. It’s especially hard when they start teething.

Meow to Ow… Dealing with a Teething Kitten

A kitten comes with a lot of work. It’s especially hard when they start teething. Understanding the process and ways to help them will make the process relatively smooth.

Cats aren’t born with a full set of permanent teeth, they go through the whole teething process just like every other mammal.


So, you better have some money set aside for the tooth fairy for when their kitten teeth are ready to go and make room for their adult teeth.


Just like human babies, kittens experience a lot of changes, sometimes accompanied by some discomfort throughout the teething process.


As a cat parent, you must understand the whole process of teething. That way, you can help relieve their pain and also know what to look out for as they go through this stage.


When Do Kittens Start Teething?


Newborn kittens, just like human babies are born without any visible teeth, but after a while, they get their first set of baby teeth.


A kitten’s baby teeth, otherwise known as deciduous teeth, first come when the kitten is about 3 to 4 weeks old.


The primary canines and incisors are the first to grow, with the others showing up shortly after.


Different kittens grow their baby teeth at different rates, but if there are several teeth still missing or your cat hasn't even started teething by the time they're 9 to 10 weeks old, you should immediately pay a visit to your vet to ensure that everything is okay.


Their adult teeth start to pop up, usually when they are about 3 to 4 months old and their baby teeth have fallen out.


Typically, all their adult teeth should have grown in place of their baby teeth by the time they’re 6 months old.


Cats have about 26 baby teeth when they’re kittens and 30 permanent teeth as adults. [1]


As a cat goes through the whole process of teething, it's faced with many issues such as pain and discomfort.


When the adult teeth are ready to grow, they begin to poke the gums as they erupt. It’s rather discomforting, so, you must take extra care of your furry feline pet as they go through this.


Signs of Teething in a Kitten


As your kitten goes through the process of teething, you’ll notice some changes that are indicative of a teething cat. While some are obvious, others are rather discreet. [2]


The Following is a List of Some of the Signs to Look Out for –


1.     Urgency to Chew

If you notice that your kitten has been chewing excessively as of late, that could be a sign that it’s started teething, as chewing helps to ease some of the pressure they feel as their new teeth emerge.


They'll begin to chew everything they get their hands on, from bedsheets to furniture and toys just to ease the discomfort.


2.     They Eat Less

If your kitten has been eating less, chewing slower and more tentatively, it could be as a result of the pain and sensitivity they feel in their gums as the new teeth emerge.


3.     Increased Irritability

This could manifest in the form of aggressive outbursts anytime you go near them. The grumpiness is most likely a way to communicate that they're in pain. Be very patient, and give it a lot of TLC during this period.


4.     Inflamed Gums

As their adult teeth begin to poke at their gums in the beginning stages of their growth, the kitten may develop mild gingivitis which causes their breath to stink and their gums to become inflamed and sore. This problem usually resolves itself, if not, take your cat to the vet.


5.     Pawing at the Mouth

If you find your cat displaying this unusual behavior and vigorously shaking its head, don't be alarmed, it may just be trying to dislodge a loose tooth that's causing it to experience discomfort.


6.     Slight Gum Bleeding and Drooling

If you start to find specks of blood in their food or water bowl and traces of saliva around the corners of their mouth, that’s usually a sign that they’re teething. These can also be symptoms of other dental conditions, so visit a vet just to be on the safe side.


7.     Missing Teeth

This is an obvious sign that your cat is teething. You might find baby teeth around the house, on the floor or bed.


However, you might not find any rogue tooth lying around the house as some kittens swallow their own. If this is the case with your cat, don’t worry, it won’t harm them as the baby teeth are much too tiny to cause any significant damage.


How to Help a Teething Cat


There's bound to be some discomfort when those pointy, sharp adult teeth are poking through sensitive gum. Fortunately, research has shown that while there is some pain, it's mostly minimal.


Even though kittens will look for ways to reduce the soreness and irritation they feel as they teethe, you can also render some extra support by doing the following:


1.     Feed the Cat With Wet and Soft Food

It’s a good idea to feed teething kittens with wet or canned food that’s soft so they don’t have to chew or bite. This can cause them to experience pain, causing them to avoid eating altogether.


Discontinue giving them kibble and other dry foods, or mix it with some water to soften it before giving it to the kitten.


2.     Don’t Brush its Teeth

Not only is it possible for you to damage its already sensitive gums, but you may also cause the pain to become worse. This will result in the kitten associating tooth brushing with pain.


You don’t want that to happen because it might start to attack you in self-defense the next time you attempt to brush its teeth.


3.     Be Very Careful When Playing With the Kitten

Be very gentle while playing with your feline baby while they're teething. Avoid games like tug of war or any other games that require you to pull at the toy they have in their mouth so that you don't cause any damage and worsen their pain.


Teething is a natural step in a cat’s life but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your kitten and allow it to go through this alone.


Be sure to shower it with lots of love, be patient and supportive as their permanent adult teeth grow, and watch your tiny little furry baby transforms from a small kitten to a “big-ish cat”.

Retained Deciduous Teeth in Dogs and Cats

Puppies and kittens develop their sharp, pointy baby teeth at around three weeks of age; most puppies have 28 baby teeth and kittens have 26. By the time a pet reaches four months old, the roots of the baby teeth should begin to resorb, making way for a dog’s 42 permanent teeth and a cat’s 30 permanent teeth.

However in some cases, the root of a baby tooth may not reabsorb or will reabsorb only partially, forcing the permanent tooth to emerge at an odd angle or in an odd position. This can happen with just one tooth, a few teeth, or all of your pet’s teeth.

When teeth are crowding each other it makes it easier for food and debris to become trapped, leading to problems such as gingivitis, plaque build up, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. All of these issues can contribute to premature tooth loss.

Additional problems caused by retained deciduous teeth include: infection, pain when abnormally angled teeth rub against the roof of the mouth, interference with jaw bone development, and misalignment, leading to enamel wear.

Causes of Retained Deciduous Teeth in Dogs and Cats

The causes of retained deciduous teeth are not well understood, however small breed dogs are the most commonly affected. Predisposed breeds include the MaltesePomeranianPoodle, and Yorkshire Terrier.

Symptoms of Retained Deciduous Teeth in Dogs and Cats

In addition to the presence of retained baby teeth as permanent teeth begin to emerge, your pet may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Gingivitis
  • An oronasal fistula, which is an abnormal opening between the oral and nasal cavities

Treatment for Retained Deciduous Teeth in Dogs and Cats

If you notice that your pet’s baby teeth are still hanging on as permanent teeth begin to emerge, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. The baby teeth will be surgically extracted to make room for the permanent teeth.

When retained baby teeth are removed early enough, the adult teeth are able to move into their correct positions. However if you wait, there is a good chance that the permanent teeth will become malpositioned. If the teeth are severely malpositioned, they may need to be selectively extracted or your veterinarian may recommend that you see an orthodontic specialist for repositioning treatment. This is a more involved and more costly treatment than early extraction.

You should check your pet’s teeth weekly for retained deciduous teeth until they are around eight months of age. If you notice any retained teeth or if your pet appears to be developing an abnormal bite, contact your veterinarian.


Retained Deciduous Teeth
Retained Deciduous Teeth (Baby Teeth) in Cats
Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

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