Baby teeth are also referred to as milk, temporary, or deciduous teeth. These are small, relatively weak, and fall off after some time so that permanent teeth can replace them. Many species, including dogs, cats, and humans, have milk teeth. Only a few mammalian species do not have deciduous teeth. Milk teeth enable younger animals to transition from soft foods and milk to the tougher foods they take in adulthood. You probably wonder whether kittens lose their milk teeth as a cat owner.
So, Do Cats Lose Their Milk Teeth?
The answer is yes. Like most animals, kitties lose their milk teeth by seven months. Kittens are born without any teeth and grow their first set of twenty-six baby teeth. Most of these baby teeth fall out and are substituted with 30 permanent teeth when the cat is 6 months old. Usually, the incisors are the first to fall out, followed by the other ones. According to PetMD, it’s important to check what is happening during the shedding and teething process as milk teeth do not always come out. In case you notice a retained milk tooth, a milk tooth still in the kitten’s mouth after the permanent tooth erupts, consult your vet because retained teeth might cause dental issues.
What Occurs During Teething?
It is common for the kitty to have swollen and red gums and smelly breath while shedding the milk teeth. The cat might also begin to chew on things and become reluctant to eat. This is due to the adult teeth developing in the jaw and exerting pressure on the roots of the milk teeth. The pressure triggers the cat’s body to absorb and dissolve the baby’s tooth roots. The roots disappear and weaken, so only the visible section of the remains. The crown falls off as the permanent teeth push through the gum. Hence, you might see the milk teeth in the cat’s bedding or on the floor. Most of these teeth fall out when the kitty is eating and are swallowed with food.
Baby Teeth Timetable
According to VCA Hospitals, kittens are born without any teeth. The milk teeth begin erupting through the gums in about three weeks. The twelve incisors and four canines come out between three to four weeks. The four bottom premolars come out between 4 to 6 weeks. The six top premolars come out by eight weeks, and the kitty has all the milk teeth. These milk teeth are usually tiny, needle-pointed, and more fragile than permanent teeth.
Adult Teeth Timetable
Your kitty begins teething at the age of about three months. Permanent teeth substitute the kitten’s temporary incisors between the period of three and a half to five and a half months old. The permanent premolars blow up at around four and a half months and the canines between 5 ½ to 6 ½ months. The kitty develops four extra molars between five to six months of age, two at the bottom and two at the top. By the time your cat is about seven months old, all her 26 milk teeth will have been substituted by thirty adult teeth.
Do Cats Bleed When Losing Teeth?
Yes, kittens often bleed when losing a tooth. This period is pretty uncomfortable for kitties, and you might see different symptoms other than bleeding. Some of these symptoms include;
- Eating less
- Chewing slowly
- Chewing excessively, particularly on bedding, toys, and furniture
- Pawing at their face
- A change in their breath smell
What You Can Do to Help Their Teething Kitten
You will not enjoy seeing the cat be uncomfortable. The good news is that you can do a few things to make the teething process smoother.
Provide the cat with soft chew toys to nibble on
Providing the cat with plenty of soft chew toys helps the kitty feel better and directs their attention away from lesser desirable chewing spots like rugs, couch, or bedding. These are areas that you hope the cat does not destroy.
Keep the dangerous things away from the cat.
While the toys might be useful for shedding kittens, it is likely they will still find their way to unsuitable spots such as toxic plants or wires. To avoid this, carefully clean up the house and place any chewable things in a room where the cat can’t access them.
Switch to or continue with soft food
If the kitten’s mouth is uncomfortable after losing its milk teeth, soft food can help ease the discomfort. This is also the best time to reinforce good behaviors in cats. Don’t allow the kitty to bite your hands, even if it’s playfully. Anytime they do it, yelp at them, so they know that roughhousing is not acceptable.
Issues Caused by Retained Milk Teeth
Some of the milk teeth’ roots might fail to dissolve. This makes the permanent tooth erupt but comes out at the wrong angle or position as it has to share a similar socket as the retained milk tooth. The upper canine is most likely to be retained, but this can happen to any teeth. Retained teeth can cause several issues. A mispositioned tooth can cause difficulty chewing and weaken the other tooth by rubbing on them. They might also result in painful sores if they contact the roof of the mouth or gums. More so, the crowded teeth often trap food between them which may lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tartar deposits, all of which can cause the cat to lose their teeth prematurely. Sometimes, the jawbones can become infected in case the root is partly reabsorbed.
Treatment For Retained Milk Teeth
To ensure proper dental health for a cat, it is recommendable to check the kitten’s mouth weekly until it’s about 8-months old. In case you see any retained teeth, visit your vet immediately. The vet will remove the retained milk tooth if it seems like it won’t come out normally while ensuring not to damage the roots of the permanent tooth. When the retained tooth is extracted earlier, the permanent one will generally move back into its precise position.