At what age does a cat lose its baby teeth? Assessing kitten age.

A cat owner on the Reddit.com website (user u/maifoothurts) asked whether young cats lose their baby teeth. The question was accompanied by a pretty stark photograph which you can see below of a canine tooth which had snapped off and come to rest on the living room floor. The answer is yes. See the stages below the image.

Discarded baby canine tooth of a young cat at the age of 6 months as her permanent teeth come through
Discarded baby canine tooth of a young cat at the age of 6 months as her permanent teeth come through. Image Reddit user: u/maifoothurts.
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A domestic cat loses her baby teeth in gradual stages. At 3 to 4 months of age the deciduous (baby) incisor teeth are replaced by the permanent (adult) teeth. At 4 to 6 months of age the deciduous canine, premolars and molars are replaced by permanent teeth. At 7 months all the permanent teeth are developed.

How many teeth do cats have?
How many teeth do cats have? Thirty normally. Image: PoC.

The emerging deciduous teeth

Going back a stage, the incisors are the first deciduous teeth to appear usually at 2 to 3 weeks of age. They are also called baby teeth. The canine baby teeth follow at 3 to 4 weeks and premolars appear 3 to 6 weeks of age. The last premolar normally arrives at about six weeks of age.

Ageing kittens

Both the development of a kitten’s baby teeth and their replacement by permanent teeth can help to decide the approximate age of a kitten. On the matter of ageing a cat by the teeth, the general condition of the teeth and gums may allow a person to guess the approximate age but as cats do not grind their food as horses do you can’t check the amount of wear and tear on the upper surfaces of the teeth. Therefore, you can only achieve fairly accurate age assessments for very young cats based upon the timescale of eruptions of permanent teeth.

Number of teeth-adult cat

Normally an adult cat has 30 permanent teeth. Taking one side of the mouth – both upper and lower jaw – you will see three upper and three lower incisors, one upper and one lower canine, three upper and two lower premolars and one upper and one lower molar.

Baby teeth that have fallen out
Baby teeth that have fallen out. Photo in public domain.

Retained baby teeth

As adult teeth emerge the roots of deciduous teeth are reabsorbed. If they are not you will see two sets of teeth. The permanent teeth are pushed out of line which can cause a bad bite (malocclusion). When a kitten is to 3 months of age the mouth should be checked for this condition. If a baby tooth does stay in place when a permanent tooth comes through the baby tooth should be removed by a veterinarian.

Fewer teeth than normal

Sometimes cats have fewer teeth than normal. It doesn’t make any difference to their well-being.

Extra teeth

Sometimes a kitten can have more than the normal number of teeth and the extra ones should be extracted to make room for the remaining teeth. This, of course, should be done by a veterinary surgeon.

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