Your kitten’s baby teeth are so cute and tiny — and you’ll notice they’re even a little sharp when he catches you with a play bite. But how long is he going to have them for, and when do cats lose their baby teeth?
To find out, we spoke to Kaitlyn Tullio, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet.
How many teeth do cats have?
Cats have 26 baby teeth (aka deciduous teeth) as kittens and 30 permanent adult teeth that replace them.
There are four different types of teeth in your cat’s mouth:
- Incisors — tiny, sharp teeth in the front of his mouth for ripping and tearing
- Canines — big, sharp teeth outside (the ones that look like fangs) for grasping and tearing
- Premolars — teeth behind his canines for cutting up food while he’s chewing
- Molars — teeth in the back of his mouth for grinding up food (these don’t come in until he’s an adult)
So when do cats lose their baby teeth?
Your cat’s baby teeth come in at 2 weeks old, and he’ll start to lose them after about three or four months.
This process of losing baby teeth as adult ones come in is called teething, and it can take a while.
“It can take up to three months for kittens to lose all their deciduous teeth,” Tullio told The Dodo. “So by around 6 to 7 months of age, your cat will have all its permanent teeth.”
Teething can be a bit uncomfortable for your cat, so make sure you have plenty of teething toys for your kitten to chew on to help give him relief.
What happens if your cat doesn’t lose his baby teeth?
Cats don’t always lose their baby teeth when their adult ones come in. If an adult tooth grows in next to a baby tooth, this is known as a persistent deciduous tooth, and it can lead to some serious issues.
“This can be painful for them as there is really only space for one tooth in that area,” Tullio said. “Oftentimes food particles will get stuck in between the teeth and can cause major dental problems for your cat, including infection.”
If this happens, your vet will most likely remove the baby teeth that haven’t fallen out.
“This is a short dental procedure that can save your cat a future of dental problems,” Tullio said.
Be sure to check your kitten’s teeth regularly to make sure the baby teeth have fallen out and the new ones are growing in properly.
How to take care of your cat’s baby teeth (and his permanent teeth)
Brushing your cat’s teeth at home is a big part of staying on top of his dental health.
“If you can start to brush your kitten’s teeth when they are young, it will become easier to maintain their dental health into adulthood,” Tullio said.
Tullio recommends starting off by brushing your cat’s teeth with a finger brush and cat-specific toothpaste (and you won’t have to worry about rinsing it out after).
“As long as you are able to get a bit of brushing in with the toothpaste, there are enzymes that work to help break down plaque and tartar,” Tullio said.
But if your cat flat-out refuses to have his teeth brushed (it happens sometimes), you shouldn’t force him.
“You have to do what is best for you and your cat,” Tullio said. “But you have a better chance of success with tooth brushing if you start at a very early age with your kitten.”
If your cat doesn’t want to let you brush his teeth, you could always give him some dental treats to help cut down on his plaque and tartar.
Try Greenies cat dental treats from Chewy for $5
And at-home dental care shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing for your BFF’s teeth. Tullio recommends getting him a professional cleaning at least once a year.
So there you have it — cats lose their baby teeth pretty young. Just make sure you’re paying attention to whether or not they actually fall out, because you’ll need your vet’s help if they don’t.
Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.
We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.