Watching kittens grow up is an amazing experience as you watch them learn new skills and physically change. The development of teeth in kittens is a two phase process that begins at about 3 weeks of age and ends around 7 months of age. Kittens are similar to humans because they also have “baby teeth” and “adult teeth.”
Kittens are born without teeth, which makes it easier for the mother to nurse the kittens during the first weeks of life. A kitten’s first teeth begin erupting from the gums at about 3 weeks of age. These teeth are named deciduous teeth, and are also known as baby teeth, primary teeth, milk teeth, or kitten teeth. Kittens will have 26 baby teeth that will grown in by 6 weeks of age.
My kittens were about 8 weeks old when we adopted them, so they had already passed through their first teething period.
Your kitten’s permanent teeth will begin to form and erupt at 3 to 3 ½ weeks of age. Prior to my recent adoption, I never had kittens and I didn’t know that they lost their baby teeth! Researching the process helped me to understand what was happening to my little pals.
Permanent teeth form within a kitten’s jaws before erupting from the gums. As permanent teeth develop, they become bigger and begin pushing against the roots of the baby teeth. This causes your kitten’s body to spontaneously start reabsorbing the roots of the baby teeth. Over time, the whole root of the baby tooth will be absorbed, leaving the crown of the tooth (the outer ‘shell’ of the tooth.)
Once permanent teeth begin erupting, they push the baby teeth out. You may find these teeth around your home – I stepped one and was very surprised to discover it was a tooth! Often the baby teeth fall out while your kitten is eating and will be swallowed and passed by your kitten. Your cat will have all 30 permanent teeth by 6-7 months of age.
Teething can be uncomfortable or painful for your kitten, and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that. It is simply a part of growing from a kitten into an adult cat! My female kitten was quite stoic about her teething and did not verbally complain, although it took her noticeably longer to eat her food. My male kitten cried and pawed at his mouth during teething.
Your kitten may also drool, show a disinclination to eat, become somewhat irritable, or begin to chew on things. If your kitten wants to chew, provide them with a toy that they can safely chew since chewing can relieve the discomfort of teething.
Teething mean your kitten is growing up to be a healthy cat! It is a wonderful experience to watch kittens mature, and I hope that this post has helped you to understand the teething process!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!