Do cats have milk teeth?

An adult cat has 30 teeth. This set of teeth though is not the first that the cat would grow. Twenty six teeth would appear when the kitten is between 3 to 4 weeks of age. This first set of teeth that is commonly called milk teeth is also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth.

As far as cats are concerned, the teeth are their most lethal weapon. Being predators, cats would use the teeth as a hunting tool. Together with the strength of the jaws and the razor sharp claws, the needle sharp teeth can easily sink into the prey’s neck to sever the head. The teeth are used as well when cats fight their predators. Cats though can exercise control when they want to. Queens would use the teeth to grasp the neck of kittens without causing them pain. When mating, tom cats would bite the female cat’s neck…again without causing pain.

Just like humans, cats too grow two sets of teeth. Cats would grow milk teeth and permanent teeth. A cat’s milk teeth are not really very strong. However, these teeth that are rather translucent and quite small are needle sharp. Kittens have the tendency to use the teeth to discover their environment. Anyone that plays with a kitten would know how sharp these milk teeth would be. Kittens are born toothless. Teeth would start to grow when the kitten is between 3 to 4 weeks old. Some kittens would start to teeth much earlier. At 6 weeks in age, kittens are expected to have fully grown the 26 milk teeth. At this time, weaning the litter will be started as the needle sharp and pointy teeth will cause the mother cat pain when the kittens are nursing.

Kittens have 26 milk teeth or baby teeth. This first set of teeth consists of 3 incisors on each side of the upper jaw. Two fangs and 6 premolars will be grown on the upper jaw as well. On the lower jaw are the two fangs, 6 incisors and 4 premolars. Milk teeth are also called deciduous teeth. Milk teeth will eventually fall like the leaves of deciduous trees. Milk teeth will be replaced with permanent. This process usually starts when the cat is 3 months of age. Some cats would teeth much earlier…others would lose the milk teeth at a much later age. The transition from milk teeth to permanent teeth is typically characterized by excessive chewing. Kittens would chew whatever object can be reached by the mouth. Shoes, furniture, carpets and rugs, belongings that lie around would not escape a cat during its chewing frenzy. It is common for cat owners to see the pet’s milk teeth on the carpet or stuck on the toys the cat has been chewing. However it is also not uncommon for the cats to swallow the milk teeth.
To prevent the pet from being destructive, it would be best to provide the cat with teething toys. Chewing soothes the soreness of the gums and ease teething discomfort.

All the milk teeth should fall out to give way for the growth of the permanent teeth. However, there are cases when the permanent teeth would already erupt while a milk tooth has not yet fallen out. A vet visit would be necessary as most cat owners would not be aware that the pet has retained some milk teeth. Permanent tooth should grow in its designated place but if the milk tooth is retained there will be teeth overcrowding. This can cause gum problems. Overcrowding of teeth would prevent the teeth from closing properly. Therefore, it would be necessary to have the retained milk teeth removed.

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