It’s normal for kittens to lose their baby teeth but teething can be uncomfortable for them. Discover the signs of kitten teething and the best teething toys for kittens
Kittens are adorable bundles of fur and energy and they change a lot in their first year of life. If you have a kitten younger than seven months old, one of the big changes you may notice is their teeth. Much like human babies, kittens go through a period of teething as their baby teeth grow and fall out and then their adult teeth come through.
When do kittens lose their baby teeth?
Like humans, kittens are born without teeth and then develop two sets of teeth as they grow; deciduous/temporary baby teeth, and then permanent adult teeth. Their baby teeth start to fall out when they are three to six months old to make way for their adult teeth, so you may start to find their baby teeth on the floor when they reach this age. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. If you haven’t found any of their baby teeth around the house by the time they’re seven months old, don’t worry. Many kittens swallow their baby teeth, which is completely harmless for them.
When do kittens start teething?
Teething lasts for just under seven months in kittens, starting from when they are just a couple of weeks old.
Kitten age teeth chart:
- 0 to 2 weeks old: Newborn kittens have no teeth
- 2 to 6 weeks old: Teething begins when a kitten’s baby teeth start to come through. There are normally 26 baby teeth in total
- 3 to 6 months old: The baby teeth start to fall out and new adult teeth grow in their place
- 7 months old: Teething stops when all 30 adult teeth have come through
Kitten teeth vs cat teeth
There are several differences between a kitten’s baby teeth and their adult cat teeth. Baby teeth are much smaller and thinner so they can fit in their small kitten mouths, and they are more pointy and fragile. There are also only 26 of them, compared to the 30 larger and stronger adult teeth that grow by the time they are seven months old.
Kitten teething symptoms
Kittens should only experience mild discomfort when teething and so usually the only symptoms you may notice are:
- excessive chewing. They may start to bite and chew their toys or other objects around the house more than usual, as this can be soothing for their gums. This can also be a normal behaviour for kittens though, as they explore and learn about their surroundings
- sore gums. Their gums may be red and inflamed and they may have bad breath
- leaving baby teeth around your home
These symptoms are normal for teething kittens and will usually resolve on their own when your kitten stops teething at seven months old.
However, if you notice any of the symptoms below, your kitten could be in more pain than normal, so speak to your vet to see how they can help.
- Pawing at their mouth
- Dropping food regularly
- Struggling to eat
- Growling at their food
- Grinding their teeth
- Bleeding gums
If you are concerned about your kitten’s teeth, contact your vet for advice. It’s a good idea to take your kitten to the vet regularly, so your vet can examine their teeth and gums during the appointment. A check-up at their first vaccination and/or neutering appointment when they are around four months old, followed by a check-up at nine months old and then 15 months old for their booster vaccination is ideal.
How to help a kitten who is teething
- Offer them wet food. Wet food may be easier for them to eat than dry cat biscuits/kibble while their adult teeth grow through. Alternatively you could add water to their cat biscuits to soften them. It’s a good idea to offer kittens both wet and dry food, to help them get used to both textures. Find more advice about what to feed your cat.
- Distract them with play. Regular play sessions using appropriate cat toys will help them to burn off some of that kitten energy! Find out more about how to play with your cat.
- Don’t pull toys or other objects from their mouth. This could damage their fragile baby teeth. If their baby teeth are damaged, this can affect the adult teeth that grow in their place.
- Don’t let them chew on your hands and feet. This may be painless when they are a young kitten, but if it’s encouraged then they will continue to do it when they’re an adult and it becomes more painful for you.
- Keep hazardous objects out of their reach. Teething kittens may be tempted to chew anything in sight, so remove any objects you don’t want them to chew or could cause them harm if eaten. Find out more about common household hazards for cats.
- Don’t brush their teeth. Brushing their teeth will be painful for them while they are teething and could put them off having their teeth brushed when they’re older. Instead, try and get them used to having their mouth gently opened and stroked (without touching their teeth) to prepare them for brushing in the future. Find out more about brushing your cat’s teeth.
The best kitten teething toys
While your kitten is teething, avoid giving them any hard toys made from solid plastic or wood that could hurt their teeth and gums if they chew them. Their baby teeth are very fragile and if they become damaged from chewing, this can affect the development of their adult teeth too. Also make sure their toys are made from non-toxic materials and don’t have any small parts that could accidentally break off and be swallowed.
- Soft toys. Toys made from soft fabric are safe for teething kittens as they will not cause any damage to their teeth when chewed
- Soft toys with catnip. Toys with added catnip may help your kitten relax a little. Find out more about catnip
- Chew toys. You can buy toys specifically designed for teething kittens to chew on. They’re often made from soft rubber, latex or foam which is satisfying for them to chew and helps to gently massage their gums
Regularly check any toys you give to your teething kitten for damage, and throw them away or replace them if you notice any parts that are coming away and could be swallowed.