You most likely think of your cat as being a member of your family. This means that seeing your cat unwell isn’t something you take lightly. To that end, if you’ve noticed that your cat has started to lose teeth, you might be worried.
You might even be shocked by this fact. Nevertheless, if you have a kitten, then it is quite normal for it to lose its teeth. This is actually part of their physical development.
Your cat’s first sets of teeth are known as milk teeth. Hence, you can understand now that this is a natural process. Nevertheless, what if your adult cat is losing teeth? We’ll get into more detail in the following paragraphs.
Kittens Lose Their Baby Teeth
First of all, you should know that cats are born without teeth. It is during the weaning process that the little kittens start to develop a set of baby teeth or milk teeth. This allows them to make the transition to solid foods and it starts somewhere around the third week of life.
With that in mind, your kitten’s first set of teeth consists of 26 individual teeth. However, only in the 7th week will you be able to notice them. And even then, you might still find it difficult to do so, since they are really small. Bear in mind that even if they are small, they are very sharp – especially the canines. This is why if your kitten bites you, you’ll most likely feel the pain!
When a cat reaches four months of age, it will eventually lose its milk teeth. Around this time, your kitten is transitioning into adulthood, which also involves the development of the dental structure of an adult cat.
You should know that the dental structure of an adult cat includes 30 individual teeth that substitute the 26 milk teeth. Evidently, the teeth are stronger, thicker and sharper. Concurrently, during this period, your furry companion might experience a certain degree of discomfort.
This is especially why you might notice that your cat nibbles on the furniture, and whatever objects it finds lying around. Just as toddlers have the tendency to put everything in their mouths during the teething process, the same goes for kittens. By doing this, your cat wants to deal with the significant level of discomfort caused by teething. Perhaps it would be sensible to provide it with adequate toys, to direct its attention towards them, instead of your furniture!
Throughout this period, your cat might also experience pain, at times. Hence, we suggest you add a bit of warm water to its usual meal, as the kibble might be too hard for your cat to break down. Another piece of advice would be to check your cat’s gums on a regular basis. Improper teeth growth could result in pain and infection.
What If My Adult Cat Is Losing Its Teeth?
Now that we established it is totally normal for your baby cat to lose its teeth at some point, should you be worried if your adult cat is losing its teeth? The truth is that during your cat’s adult life, it may eventually lose one or two teeth.
This is an indicator of an imbalance, in most of the cases. At the same time, this may have to do with the fact that most pet owners neglect the importance of maintaining their cats’ oral hygiene. If you overlook this, your cat’s teeth will develop tartar, not to mention that this will make it a bit tricky for you to notice whenever they lose their teeth.
Aside from poor dental hygiene, other potential reasons why your cat is losing its teeth include injury, a poor diet or a disease, such as gingivitis. These are all connected actually. Poor oral hygiene promotes the buildup of food around the teeth and the gums, which leads to gingivitis when combined with bacteria. If you suspect that there is a problem with your cat’s teeth, it’s best to address the issue on the spot so that it doesn’t become too serious.
Dental Care in Cats
It goes without saying that the most effective way of ensuring that your cat’s teeth are in perfect condition is to look after them. Not only that this will prevent tartar buildup, but it will also impact your cat’s overall health, promoting its wellbeing. A lot of this comes down to brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis.
Also, as we’ve said before, your cat’s diet is a major consideration as well. With that in mind, you should ensure that your cat gets a highly nutritional diet. Some suggest providing raw food every now and then. But this isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a nutritional diet.
What you need to do is choose a high-quality food that will ensure your cat’s overall health and wellbeing over the course of time. The texture of dry cat food helps tartar buildup. You should also take into consideration your cat’s taste, as this may indicate what its body needs at the moment. Plus, if you are clueless regarding the right meals for your cat, you may always request the advice of your pet’s veterinarian.
On a different note, perhaps it might be a good idea to take your cat to have yearly teeth cleaning at the veterinarian office. This will keep tartar and plaque at bay.
How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?
- Get a soft-bristled pet toothbrush and a pet-safe toothpaste. Human toothpaste is not suitable for cats as the fluoride in the toothpaste is toxic to them.
- Get your kitty used to the toothbrush and the toothpaste over a few days. Put some toothpaste on your finger and let your cat lick it. Next day, put some toothpaste on the toothbrush and let your kitty lick it off the brush.
- If your cat avoids the toothpaste, try another type. It might be that your cat simply did not like the taste of that particular brand.
- Give your cat treats for its positive interactions with the toothpaste and the toothbrush.
- Put your cat on a comfortable surface. If it tends to struggle, wrap it in a towel first.
- Try brushing only a few of the front teeth on the first day. Spend only around 30 seconds on this. Repeat it daily until your cat lets you run the toothbrush along its gum and teeth.
- Once your cat is comfortable with this routine start to make small circles along its gum line, massaging the gums.
- While brushing your cat’s teeth, watch out for any signs of bad breath, bleeding gums, lumps or sore areas. In case you notice any, take your kitty to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a professional dental check-up.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, for kittens, it is entirely normal to lose their milk teeth. Still, when it comes to adult cats, this isn’t normal at all, and it usually points out that there is an issue. The loss of teeth might be related to an injury, poor oral hygiene, unsuitable diet, or a disease.
It’s best to keep an eye out for your furry companion to notice whenever it’s not well. At the same time, if you observe other unpleasant symptoms that might indicate that your cat could be suffering from a health condition, make sure you take it to the vet as soon as possible.
In addition to oral health, if you are also interested in your cat’s eye health, please read my blog post “Why Does My Cat Have Dilated Pupils?“.
Also, visit my ultimate cat care site for the best cat products!