It is easy to panic when you notice your beloved kitty losing his cute set of teeth. If you have always wondered ‘when do kitten teeth fall out?’, this article is for you.
Kitten teeth fall out in a process called teething. They shed off their baby teeth and grow a permanent set which they maintain till adulthood. Normally, there is no cause for alarm when your kitten is teething. But if you notice any signs of trouble, it is good to seek a vet’s advice.
Do kitten teeth fall out? A lot of pet parents ask the same when they notice their little fur babies with several missing teeth. Yes, kittens go through the process of teething like toddlers which means they also have baby teeth.
But when do kitten teeth fall out and when should you see a vet about it?
To understand this, we have to look at the stages of teething in kittens.
Stages of kitten teething
When kittens are born, they remain toothless for the first two weeks. They depend on their mother for food and any other support they need. Kittens are not adoptable at this point until they start teething and are weaned off.
2 to 4 weeks: First Teething Stage
After two weeks, the first set of kitten teeth, known as deciduous teeth, start to show. You will notice your kitty having tiny front teeth which are the incisors. The canines (the sharp fangs) will grow after about 4 weeks.
At this phase, your cat will start exploring with his ‘new tools’. He will nibble a few things here and there but not with the same energy as a teething puppy. More teeth continue to form as the kitten reaches 5 weeks of age.
5 to 8 weeks: Full set of deciduous teeth
The back teeth, consisting of molars and premolars are fully formed. Kitten now has 26 sets of baby teeth. This is the best time to adopt a kitten as he is ready for rehoming. It is also the age to introduce solid food to the kitten.
8 to 11 weeks: Nipping period
The kitten will be eating solid foods and also experimenting more with his teeth. During play fights, the kitten may decide to test his new set of canines on another kitty. It is also the period when your kitty is likely to nip you as you play with him.
Kittens learn when they are exerting more pressure with their teeth. They will then readjust the biting force to prevent injuries on another cat or human. If your kitten is biting you or other pets a lot, you may consider training them out of the habit.
VIDEO: Kitten Biting
11 weeks to 3 months: Deciduous teeth fall off
This may or may not be a rough period for your kitten. At this point, he is losing all the deciduous teeth paving way for adult teeth. There will be some discomfort associated as teeth continue falling and new ones continue growing.
The incisors are the first to go at around 11 to 16 weeks. The canines then follow at around 20 weeks. Towards the 4 months, the last set of deciduous teeth, the molars fall off.
3 to 4 months: Adult teeth form
A new set of incisors start growing. They are followed by the canines, premolars, and finally the molars. Teething discomfort is common during this stage as the new teeth pierce through the gums to the surface.
After 6 months: Adult teeth have grown
After 6 months, your kitty is now an adult and is proud to have a full set of adult teeth. The new set should contain 30 teeth in total. These are the teeth your cat maintains well into their senior years.
Symptoms of teething in kittens
The first phase of teething is normally the smoothest. But when deciduous teeth are falling and adult teething are forming, you will notice the following symptoms.
1. Missing teeth
You may notice a few missing incisors when your cat meows or when he bites into something. It is also common to bump into tiny bits of teeth on the floor. Kittens usually spit out the deciduous teeth as they fall. But it is not uncommon for cats to swallow their baby teeth.
2. Shaking the head or pawing the mouth
Kittens will slap their mouth, or shake the head, to get loose teeth off. If you see your kitty with a hanging tooth in his mouth, do not panic. You can gently help him get the tooth off or leave the heavy lifting to him.
Expect your kitty to get cranky when the teething period becomes uncomfortable. He may isolate himself or lash out when you come near him. This is okay as he is trying to brave through the teething process.
If the gums or lips are swollen, your kitty’s face may feel numb and sensitive. He will not want you to pet him in this state. This facial discomfort is part of the reasons why he gets irritable.
Bleeding is expected when your cat sheds his deciduous teeth. You may notice blood around the mouth, on his paws, on his feeding bowl, or drinking bowl. Bleeding should stop when the teeth are fully formed.
6. Reduced appetite
Your cat may eat less during the teething phase. Either the gums are swollen or it is too painful to chew. The cat may also be in panic mode because he fears eating will cause him to lose more teeth. This is all normal and will go away soon.
7. Reduced grooming
Cats rely on their mouth for grooming. So, when your kitten grooms himself less, chances are he is teething. Once the oral discomfort dies down, grooming sessions resume.
When should your cat see a vet?
In some cases, not all baby teeth fall out. When this happens, your cat is likely to have;
Misaligned o cracked teeth
Overcrowding of teeth
Infection of the gums
Red, inflamed gums that are oozing pus
A bad oral odor due to discharge
Any abnormal behavior, that looks like discomfort, in your cat during the teething phase should be addressed by a professional vet. Also, check your cat’s mouth during the teething phase to ensure everything is okay. If your cat fights your attempts to hold him, take him to a vet. A vet will examine him while he is sedated.
Kitten teeth falling out? No worries, your kitten is going through a normal phase of growing up. But if your kitty is in a lot of pain, refuses to eat, does not groom anymore, or is always irritable, it is time to go see the vet about that tooth.
If your cat is teething, some of his loose teeth may hangout. A vet can help get the tooth off if your cat feels overwhelmed. Also, a trained vet may examine and rule out any possibilities of oral bacteria or low-sugar symptoms.
Your cat will start losing his baby teeth when he is 11 weeks old. It is this phase that he may get cranky, refuse to groom, eat less, and isolate himself a lot. It is all part of the process and will wear off when he has his new teeth.
If you cannot find any of your kitty’s missing teeth, chances are he is swallowing them as they fall. Also, examine your cat’s teeth for any baby teeth that fail to fall. These can cause crowding, cracked teeth, or infections when adult teeth start growing.