Every kitten goes through teething just like most mammals, including humans. However, you might believe that the only time your kitten teethes is when it’s about 6-month old. If you do, you’re not the only one.
A lot of people believe that kittens teethe only when they’re about to grow their permanent teeth and not all people know that their kittens might be needing help!
So what exactly happens to your kitten during teething and what can you do to help them get through the process?
Kitten Teething Process
Your kitten’s development goes at a much faster rate than human babies and teething is one of the first processes it goes through during its first 2 weeks to 7 months of life.
- First stage of teething
Kittens grow 26 baby teeth or deciduous teeth during their first 2 – 6 weeks of life. Just like human babies, the front upper incisors first appear followed by the bottom incisors. Then, their canines or fangs follow shortly after the 4th week and so on.
On the 6th week, they will have completed the first stage of teething and after then, all the 26 teeth will start to fall off which will give way to the second stage of teething.
- Second stage of teething
At around 3 – 4 months, adult teeth or the permanent teeth will start to emerge to replace all the baby teeth beginning with the front incisors. The permanent teeth grow working their way around the mouth and by 6 – 7 months, kittens will have all the 30 adult teeth, including the molars.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Teething Kitten?
Your kitten is a diphyodont just like most mammals. However, most people mistakenly refer to the second stage as the only process of kitten teething. While we already know that’s not the case, it might be because at this stage, most kittens will act differently and will show most of the signs and symptoms.
As much as you wish your kitten can talk, you can only look for these signs and assess for yourself. The signs of your kitten teething may be somewhat different and can be annoying or worrisome for you but keep in mind that this is a process that your baby naturally goes through.
- Crying and drooling
Just like human babies, your kitten may cry by meowing loudly and repeatedly and drool due to the pain of the teeth pushing their way out of the gums. The constant meowing and drooling usually happen in the first stage but it can sometimes be a problem in the second stage as well.
- Swelling and Soreness of Gums
Crying can be due to a lot of reasons for your baby kitty. To make sure if it’s crying because it’s teething, check your kitten’s gums. It may show soreness and swelling due to the teeth bulging.
- Loss of appetite
If you’re feeding your kitten with dry kitten foods and kibbles, you will notice that it will eat less or not at all since it will be too hard for your cat to chew hard foods.
- Loose teeth
On the second stage, you will notice that some of your kitten’s teeth will be loose from its mouth. Sometimes you may even see pieces of teeth on the floor. Those are baby teeth that have been pushed out of the gums by the permanent teeth.
When kittens teethe, biting is one of the ways they will try to soothe the pain of the teeth coming out of the gums. Excessive biting happens on both stages of teething. However, it is usually worse between 12 and 20 weeks of age.
How Can I Help my Teething Kitten?
The natural teething process usually goes smoothly but it’s never the same for every kitten. As mentioned earlier, there is no way for kittens to tell you what’s wrong so they will show that they are in pain differently by meowing, biting, or acting bizarrely altogether.
The best way of helping your kitten is by observing and being attentive of how it behaves. If your kitten shows any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it may be discomforted and stressed by the experience and that may be the time you need to step in.
- Sore gums and feeding problem
It is totally normal, however, quite painful and unpleasant for your kitten to experience sore gums when it teethes. When this happens, it tends to develop a chewing habit where it bites pretty much everything it can reach.
Eating will obviously be a challenge for your kitten so it is best to feed it with wet foods. Doing so will avoid irritation on its gums while keeping it healthy and well-nourished.
- Kitten biting
When your kitten teethes, it tends to nibble on everything; from your favorite pair of sneakers or even the foot of your wooden chair! As mentioned earlier, biting is the way your kitten will try to relieve the pain of teething. However, it can be destructive and dangerous for you and your baby kitty.
There are a lot of reasons why your kitten bites. Biting is not always about aggression but sometimes cats only want to have playtime with you. They also use their mouths to explore their environment. It’s a natural instinct that you can’t entirely stop but there are ways you can divert this habit.
Generally, chew toys are golden when it comes to helping your kitten through the phase. It will condition it to exert its playful energy to something appropriate and safe and it will benefit you in the long run. It is crucial to buy high-quality chew toys that are durable and made out of safe materials.
When to Seek Help from the Vet?
Not all kittens will go through the teething process normally and smoothly. Just like humans, there are some complications your kitten might experience that need further medical attention.
If your kitten’s gums are sore due to teething, don’t worry as it is part of the teething process. But if there is a lot of swelling all over your mouth, there may be other underlying problems you cannot see. If your kitten’s breath smells unusual or if there is too much bleeding, it’s time to contact your vet immediately
There is also a chance where baby teeth don’t fall off. You may notice this when a permanent tooth grows just beside a baby tooth. When this happens, it will cause teeth crowding that may be too painful for your baby kitty and can only be corrected through dental surgery.
If your kitten is exhibiting signs and symptoms that it is going through a challenging teething process, go to the vet immediately to get advice and to make sure that your baby is taken care of completely.