Do cats have baby teeth?

A cat would grow two sets of teeth in its life span. A cat’s first set of teeth is called baby teeth. Baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth are small but needle sharp. Owners that have been at the end of a kitten’s teeth would know how sharp these small teeth can be.

Cats are predators. These animals have the kind of teeth specifically designed to instantly kill a prey. The strong needle-sharp fangs can easily sever the head of a rodent and tear the prey’s body apart. The upper and lower molars are designed to efficiently chew the meat of the prey. Cats’ teeth are not always this strong. Cats’ baby teeth are not designed to kill and eat a prey. Kittens, just like human children are born without teeth. Baby teeth will begin to erupt when the kitten is 2 to 4 weeks of age. At the age of 6 weeks all the baby teeth of the kitten should have developed. Baby teeth are also known as milk teeth. Baby teeth are not very big and rather translucent. These needle-sharp teeth can cause the mother cat pain when the kitten is nursing thus the queen would start weaning the litter. Kittens have 26 baby teeth – 14 teeth on the upper jaw and 12 on the lower jaw. The upper jaw has 6 incisors (3 on each side), 2 fangs and 6 premolars. The lower jaw has 6 incisors, 2 fangs and 4 premolars.

Baby teeth were also given the name deciduous teeth as just like the leaves of deciduous trees, the cat’s milk teeth will fall. The age when the kittens lose the baby teeth varies. Some cats would lose their baby teeth at the age of three months; others would lose their baby teeth at 6 months of age. During the baby teeth fallout, the kittens will be more inclined to chew. Young cats chew shoes, toys, furniture, carpet and any kind of object these furry animals can get their mouths on. Although kittens really do have the inclination to chew to discover their environment, kittens during the baby teeth fall out period would chew to ease the soreness of the gums and the discomfort of teething. Baby teeth can be found stuck on the toy, on the shoe or on the carpet the cat has been chewing. However, the cat owner may not find any baby teeth as it is common for the pet to swallow the milk teeth that have fallen out. The soreness of the gums can be eased by allowing the pet to play with a teething ring or by giving the pet a soaked and frozen rag.

Ideally, the baby teeth should fall out before the adult teeth grow. However, there are cases when the baby teeth would not fall out. Retained baby tooth is a common concern of pet parents. Although non-life threatening, this concern must be corrected. A cat’s mouth is designed to have teeth that should grow in its specific place so that the pet can eat properly and so that the mouth can be closed properly as well. If not correctly lined, the tooth can rub against the gums or on the roof of the mouth. Aside from causing the cat pain, infection can develop. Another infection can occur if the baby teeth break leaving a part of the tooth embedded in the gums. Retained baby teeth must be removed but many cat owners are unaware that not all the baby teeth of the pet have fallen out. The condition will only be noticed if the pet is examined by the vet. If your pet has a retained baby tooth, ask the vet to remove the tooth. It is a fairly easy procedure.