Paws and Effect

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My 5-month-old cat was running all over the house. He then stopped and lay down next to me and in the middle of a yawn I saw blood on his gums. I checked his gums and the teeth were not there! I searched all over the place and found his teeth. They were tiny. I’m very scared about his gums! They are bleeding and he seems in pain and uncomfortable. He does not enjoy trips to the vet very much and I really don’t wanna stress him more. Any advice?

~ Maria

Thomas: First of all, don’t panic!

Bella: You know how humans lose their baby teeth at a certain age? The same thing happens to cats.

Tara: That’s right. And your cat is just the right age for his deciduous (baby) teeth to be falling out so his adult teeth can grow in. The photo on the left is a couple of baby teeth that fell out of a kitten’s mouth. (These teeth look kind of nasty, though; most of the time baby teeth are pretty white.)

Thomas: According to this Vetstreet article, by 4 months all the adult incisors (the tiny teeth in the front of the mouth) have come in. Your kitten may well have swallowed these tiny baby teeth, so you never saw them come out. By 5 months, all the canine teeth (fangs) are in, and by 6 months, all the adult premolars (the teeth just behind the fangs) have erupted.

Bella: You may have noticed your cat chewing on things more lately, and that’s part of what kittens do to help their loose baby teeth fall out. It can also be comforting to sore gums, believe it or not!

Tara: And of course, it hurts a little when the baby teeth fall out and your kitten’s gums are all raw where his teeth used to be. But generally the gums heal very quickly and before long you should see adult teeth starting to poke out where your cat’s baby teeth used to be.

Thomas: What we’d recommend while your kitten’s teeth are coming in is that you feed him soft food if his sore gums are making it hard for him to eat kibble.

Bella: And of course, always give a call to your vet because they can tell you for sure what’s going on.

Tara: Meanwhile, as we said, don’t panic. Your kitten might like a chew ring or other chew toys of appropriate size to help him develop strong jaws and get his adult teeth in nice and healthy.

Thomas: One more quick thing: If your kitten isn’t neutered yet, now is the time to make that appointment. Kittens can become sexually mature as early as 5 months, and un-neutered cats can get into all kinds of trouble. I should know — I saw some of my tomcat friends go out and get in fights and get hit by cars and other kinds of nasty things. And then there was the spraying …

Bella: What about you other readers? Have you ever found your kitten’s baby teeth? What did you do to help your teething kitten be more comfortable? Please share your stories in the comments!

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