Kittens are born toothless, but have all 26 primary teeth by six weeks of age. Around nine weeks of age, kittens may experience toilsome teething as they begin to lose baby teeth. Help your kitty ease the discomfort of teething with toys and treats, while deterring destructive chewing and biting.
Provide Chews and Toys
Just like human babies, there are a vast array of chews toys on the market for teething kittens. Some feline teething toys can be put into the freezer and chilled to ease the discomfort of erupting teeth and sore gums. Nylon-based teething toys are soft enough for kitty to chew on without hurting his mouth. Firmer chews can provide relief while exercising the jaw muscles. Encourage two 10- to 15-minute play sessions each day.
It can be tempting for kitty to bite down on anything that dares go near his mouth, including your fingers and toes. During playtime, keep your digits away from your kitten’s mouth and provide him with chew toys instead. If kitty does bite, say “ouch!” in a firm, high-pitched voice and set him on the floor. This teaches him that biting results in the halt of playing, petting and fun.
As kitty loses his baby teeth and his new adult teeth emerge from the gums, his mouth can become painful and uncomfortable. During playtime, be sure to play nicely so you don't cause further suffering. Don’t pull hard on toys that he grabs with his mouth and don’t give him treats that are too hard. Feed him soft food and treats that don’t require excessive chewing. Offer him a frozen rag or teething ring designed for teething kittens.
Check Kitty’s Dental Health
Occasionally, a baby tooth may refuse to come out and an adult tooth may grow in beside it. If the baby tooth remains after a week, it may need to be extracted by your vet. Other dental problems can also arise, such as crowding of the teeth or misalignment of the incisors. To ensure your kitty’s teeth are growing in properly, schedule a vet visit around 6 to 8 months of age or sooner if any problems arise.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.