How many teeth are there in cats? Does a cat lose its baby teeth like a toddler would? We’ve put together some interesting facts about the number of teeth cats have throughout their lives and whether or not that number changes if you’ve ever wondered if cats obtain an adult set of teeth.
1. Kittens are born without teeth, just like people are
Kittens are born without teeth.
Kittens don’t need any teeth in the first few weeks while they are nursing around the clock.
2. Between the ages of two and six weeks, a kitten’s teeth start to erupt
These first teeth are called deciduous teeth, baby teeth or milk teeth. The teeth erupt from beneath the gum line. The incisors (the tiny teeth in the front top and bottom of the mouth) are the first to appear, followed by the canine teeth (the “fangs”) and premolars (the teeth right behind the canines). Cats do not have any deciduous molars.
3. A kitten has 26 baby teeth
These temporary kitten teeth start to fall out around 11 weeks of age. During this time, you might find tiny teeth on the floor or in your kitten’s food bowl, although teeth are often swallowed by the kitten as she eats so you might not see anything at all. You might also notice a small amount of bleeding from the mouth. This is all normal.
4. A cat’s baby teeth occasionally do not fall out as they should
This condition is called “retained deciduous teeth.” These teeth can cause damage to the permanent teeth coming in, so your vet might recommend pulling them. This is frequently done at the same time as the spay or neuter surgery to avoid putting the cat under anesthesia twice.
5. The permanent teeth come in between 4 and 6 months of age
The incisors come in first, followed by the canine teeth, premolars and molars.
6. How many teeth do adult cats have
Adult cats have 30 permanent teeth.
7. Cats can develop periodontal disease
Without regular brushing at home and annual or bi-annual professional dental cleanings, cats can develop periodontal disease, also called gum disease. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and also affect your cat’s overall health.
8. If your cat develops an infection in a tooth, your veterinarian may advise tooth extraction
“Tooth loss is caused by bacteria that develops into plaque and tartar,” explains Missy Tasky, DVM, owner of Gentle Touch Animal Hospital in Denver, Colorado. “The bacteria get under the gum line and cause damage to the structures that support the tooth. This leads to loss of bone and mobility of the tooth.”
9. Damage to the tooth might also result in tooth loss
Broken teeth can occur if the cat chews on something hard or from trauma (for instance, if the cat falls and hits her teeth on something). In some cases, a veterinary dentist might be able to save a cat tooth by doing a root canal.
10. What occurs to cats who lose several teeth?
Most cats have no problems adapting to tooth loss. “Most dogs and cats can eat fine, even with the loss of several teeth,” Dr. Tasky says. “Some animals have lost all of their teeth and are still able to eat dry food. The goal, however, is to retain as many teeth as possible because the teeth help contribute to the strength of the jaw.”