Cat baby teeth
Kittens are born without teeth. The first baby teeth to appear are the incisors. This usually occurs at 2 to 3 weeks of age. The appearance of the incisors is followed by the canine teeth at 3 to 4 weeks of age and then the premolars at 3 to 6 weeks. The last premolar appears at around six weeks of age. Veterinarians can age kittens by observing their teeth.
The average kitten has 26 baby teeth (deciduous teeth). On each side of the mouth there are three upper and three lower incisors, one upper and one lower canine and three upper and two lower premolar teeth. There are no molar teeth.
Teething lasts for 2 to 3 months and the kitten may have a sore mouth. This may cause her to be off her food on occasions and there may be some drooling. A kitten undergoing teething will want to chew on things so we should provide an object. I didn’t notice my cat wishing to chew on things any more than normal to be honest. But I did provide him with lots of things to play with and chew on. We still like to chew on my hand!
A kitten’s deciduous teeth are gradually replaced by adult teeth (permanent teeth). At 3 to 4 months of age the adult incisors erupt, followed at 4-6 months by the canine teeth, molars and premolars.
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At seven months of age the adult teeth are fully developed. When I took my cat to the veterinarian for neutering at six and a half months of age, the veterinarian said that he had a full set of adult teeth.
Typically adult cat have 30 permanent teeth. On each side of the mouth there are three upper and three lower incisors, one upper and one lower canine, two lower premolars and three upper premolars, one lower molar and one upper molar.
As a cat’s teeth are not used for grinding but for shearing a vet cannot check a domestic cat’s age by the amount of wear on the cusps of the teeth as they do for horses.
Do cat baby teeth fall out?
On the Internet people ask whether a cat’s baby teeth fall out. I did not see the baby teeth of my developing cat falling out. As the adult teeth grow they push against the roots of the baby teeth which leads to the reabsorption of their roots. The baby teeth become weaker and disappear. What remains is the crown of the baby tooth which falls out either outside of the mouth or swallowed by the kitten when eating. The answer is that baby teeth do fall out but only the hollow crown.
Sometimes the reabsorption of baby teeth fails to happen; in which case there is a double set of teeth. The permanent teeth are pushed out of line. This leads to what is called malocclusion or a bad bite. If a baby tooth remains in place while an adult tooth is erupting the baby tooth should be pulled out by a veterinarian. This means that kittens at about 2 to 3 months of age should be watched to make sure that their adult teeth are coming through normally.
Sometimes adult cats have fewer teeth than normal. Some cats are born with missing tooth buds but this has no effect on the cat’s health. Sometimes, rarely, a kitten may have more than the usual number of teeth which can cause the teeth to twist or overlap. This may mean that some teeth have to be extracted.
Hope this helps. Sources: this book and VCA Animal Hospitals and myself.