Is my kitten teething? Every cat parent's nightmare
Dealing with a teething kitten is one of the greatest challenges of being a new cat parent. Thankfully, it's possible to make this ordeal easier. You should know how to help your new kitten while they are teething, and in doing so, save your hands and chewable belongings.
To help you on this journey, Untamed explains all you need to do when your kitten begins teething to help them find relief.
The timeline of kitten teeth development
Teething is a vital developmental stage in kittens which occurs twice in kittenhood. It happens around the third or fourth week when their 26 baby teeth start growing. They are also called milk or deciduous teeth. The first to appear are incisors and primary canines, and others break through quickly. Most cat parents don't witness this because the kittens are usually still with their mother or at the breeder, but this is also when they start eating solids.
If you have a queen who has given birth to a litter, keep an eye on how the teeth progress. Most kittens will have grown their baby teeth by six weeks of age, but don't worry if some of the teeth are still missing. Not all kittens grow and develop at the same rate, and teeth growth is no exception. You should consult a vet if a kitten misses some of their teeth by week nine or ten.
When kittens are three to four months old, they start losing their baby teeth and growing their 30 adult teeth. In most cases, all adult teeth will come out by the sixth month. Kittens swallow most of their baby teeth, a normal occurrence that causes no harm to them. You might also find your kitten's baby teeth on the floor. There is no need to worry about this either—kitten tooth loss is perfectly normal at this stage.
This second round of teething is when things get tricky for cat parents. To relieve the pain, kittens often start gnawing on whatever they can reach, including the furniture, people's hands, and their paws.
Kitten teething symptoms
I am in agony.
Source: David Kaloczi
Teething is a relatively painful process. Some kittens go through it quite easily, while others require more support.
When baby teeth start piercing through the gums, kittens may start to behave differently. They could chew their toys or their siblings more, but other than that, this first teething period is pretty uneventful. The main event occurs when the adult teeth start replacing deciduous ones.
Typical symptoms of dental discomfort are:
- Excessive chewing—Chewing helps kittens massage the gums and relieve some discomfort
- Loss of appetite—Your kittens may start eating less and chewing food slowly because their gums hurt. It's advisable to feed your kitten soft food that won't irritate the gums further. Dry food is too hard for them at this point
- Sore and red gums—Teething kittens may experience mild gingivitis, characterised by inflamed gums and bad breath. This condition usually resolves on its own
- Slight gum bleeding—You may notice specks of blood on the items your kitten chews. It is usually a normal symptom of teething, but it could be a sign of another dental problem, so getting your kitten checked by a vet would be smart
- Drooling—Your kitten may drool more because of the pain
- Irritability—Pain and continuous discomfort can make a kitten more irritable
- Pawing on the mouth—If your kitten shakes their head and keeps touching their mouth with their paws, they are probably trying to dislodge a loose tooth
- Less self-grooming—If your kitten experiences dental discomfort, they might stop grooming themselves
- Whining—Your tiny feline companion may meow more than usual because of the pain
- Unwillingness to play—If your kitty used to enjoy grabbing their toys in their mouth and pouncing them around, they might stop doing this while teething and start sleeping more
When is it time for a vet visit?
A vet? But why?
Source: Ray ZHUANG
Most of the teething symptoms will resolve on their own, but you must see a vet if your kitten:
- Starts losing weight—While some loss of appetite is expected while the kitten is teething, if they aren’t eating enough and start losing weight, you must have them checked
- Hasn't lost all the baby teeth—Sometimes, kittens retain a deciduous tooth, so they end up with two teeth in one place. You must seek help from a vet because this can cause severe problems, such as jaw misalignment and cracked teeth
- Is showing signs of infection—Some gum redness and slight bleeding are normal, but if you notice any severe redness and discharge, veterinary treatment is necessary
- Drools excessively—Drooling can also be the consequence of an injury in the mouth, or your kitten may have something stuck between their teeth
How to help your teething kitten
Your teething kitten will look for ways to relieve the soreness and may be tempted to use your hands and legs as a chew toy. While this may seem cute when they are tiny kittens, if you allow biting, they will develop unacceptable habits, which will be difficult to eliminate later.
Luckily, there are many ways to help your kitten go through this uncomfortable period:
- Provide chew toys—You can buy kitten chew toys made of soft plastic or rubber and keep them in the fridge to be more soothing for the kitten. You can also give your tiny cat a cold, wet towel to gnaw on. It's safe and helps relieve the tenderness. Leather is another safe material for chewing
- Keep your kitten entertained—Kittens need physical and mental stimulation, so keeping them active is crucial. Ensure they have plenty of interactive toys and a suitable scratching post. Dedicate at least one hour every day to playtime and training. It's a great bonding opportunity and a way to distract them from the discomfort. Be careful not to play in a way that may exacerbate the pain
- Make healthy and soothing snacks—Make ice cubes of chicken broth and give them to your kitten to play with and chew on. The cold will soothe the gums and cool the kitten during hot summer days. The broth is healthy for kittens. Pet-safe grass is also a good option for your kitten to snack on
- Feed your kitten soft food—Wet food is an excellent option because it's easy to chew and swallow. You can also soak kibble in water or soup before serving it to your kitten
- Remove dangerous items—Your kitten may chew on potentially harmful items around your home, such as electrical cords and poisonous plants
Let’s make a deal. I don’t use your skin to exercise my deadly bite, and you don’t threaten me with the vet anymore.
Source: Jeanie de Klerk
How to promote good dental health in kittens
The teeth that replace your kitten's baby teeth are the ones they will have forever, so taking good care of them is critical. You can ensure your kitten's new teeth are healthy and strong by:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Feeding them a well-balanced diet
Maintaining good oral hygiene
Dental issues are common in adult cats, so paying attention to their oral health when they are young can help prevent problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption.
Daily teeth cleaning is the best way to prevent buildup on the teeth and gum inflammation, but you should refrain from using the toothbrush and toothpaste during the teething period. Your kitty's gums are already tender and painful, so you don't want to associate teeth cleaning with unpleasant sensations.
You should also schedule regular checkups to ensure there aren’t severe problems that require veterinary assistance.
A well-balanced diet and oral health in kittens
Feeding time, you say?
Source: Slavy Darozhkin
Your kitten must get all the essential nutrients to develop into a resilient adult cat with strong and healthy teeth.
Cats are obligate carnivores whose teeth are designed to catch, kill, and eat small animals such as birds, mice, frogs, lizards, slugs, etc. While most domesticated felines don't need to go hunting, their dietary needs have not changed.
The best diet for your kitten should mimic what they would eat naturally. You can achieve that by feeding them wet food made of lean meat and fish, such as chicken, turkey, liver, salmon, or tuna. Cats get all the essential amino acids (taurine, arginine, lysine, and histidine), minerals (like calcium, which is crucial for teeth and bone health), and vitamins from meat.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Binds minerals that would turn into plaque and form tartar
After teething, some experts advise feeding your kitten small portions of dry food to help remove the buildup from the teeth. While this can be beneficial, your kitty should predominantly eat high-quality wet food because it is:
- Higher in animal protein
- More hydrating
- Easier to digest
- Less processed
How to choose food for your teething kitten
Choose food that has plenty of meat and fish.
Image (c) Untamed
When you look at the ingredient list on cat food, opt for products with:
- At least 50% animal protein
- Up to 20% of animal fat
- Less than 3% carbs
You should also make sure that you can easily identify the animal protein source. The table below presents the best animal protein options, acceptable occasional treats, and high-carb ingredients to avoid:
Surviving the teething period with Untamed
Feeding your kitten balanced meals is easy with Untamed.
Image (c) Untamed
Taking care of a teething kitten can be nerve-racking, but Untamed makes it easier.
Our jelly and gravy meals are made of human-grade meat or fish and gently steamed to preserve the taste and nutritional value of the ingredients. Your kitten won't have difficulty chewing them, and their dietary needs will be met.
Untamed recipes are:
- Full of animal protein—We offer two times more protein than the industry average, ensuring your kitty gets all the nutrients they need to have strong and healthy teeth
- Free from iffy ingredients—We don't use cheap fillers like grains, vegetable proteins, meat derivatives, sugar, or anything that could be harmful to felines
- Vet-formulated—We cooperate with vets to ensure our recipes deliver a perfect protein-to-fat ratio, so your kitten can thrive without gaining unnecessary weight
- Hypoallergenic—Untamed dishes are free from all known allergens, and we offer two single-source-protein options—Chocka Chicken in Jelly and Tuck-In Tuna in Jelly—specifically designed for sensitive kitties who struggle with food allergies
- Fussy cat-approved—We offer a wide selection of flavours, including chicken, duck, ham, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and shrimp. Even fussy eaters known to refuse wet food will find something they like
- Ethically produced—We care about the environment as much as we care about felines, so we only cooperate with sustainable, cruelty-free suppliers. Our packaging is 100% recyclable, and all our operations are carbon-footprint neutral
Take our Try Now quiz to get the Untamed trial pack and see how your teething kitten enjoys our soft delicacies.
Is your kitten losing baby teeth? Order Untamed to make it easier
Ordering cat food online is easy with Untamed. To get your trial pack, follow these steps:
Your taster pack will arrive in a day. When your kitty goes through all the meals and picks what they like, we can deliver a fresh batch of their faves every month. You can modify, postpone, or cancel your order anytime!
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