Cat teeth are like people’s who have two sets of teeth during their lives. If they lose any of their first — or deciduous teeth — or should any of the teeth be broken or end up being removed from the jaw, then these will not regrow. The only way to replace lost teeth later in life in through Cat Dental Care.
The various teeth present in the cat’s jaws reflect its lifestyle as a hunter. There are small incisors at the front of the mouth which help to grasp prey, while the long, pointed canines at the corners of its mouth are used for killing purposes, to sever the spinal cord in the neck. Behind these are the so-called cheek teeth, in the form of premolars and molars, which help the cat in tearing food apart so that it can be swallowed easily.
Cat Dental Care
Domestic cats tend to have far less wear on their teeth compared with feral or wild cats, simply because their food is provided for them. Even so, they should become accustomed to having their mouths inspected and their teeth cleaned as necessary from an early age. Otherwise, teeth may become loosened by erosion of the gum line, caused by an accumulation of tartar. If any of your cat’s teeth need to be removed by your vet, this will require a general anaesthetic. The gum will heal rapidly, although antibiotic treatment may be required to prevent any infection. Domestic cats adapt quite easily to loss of teeth, but you may have to be prepared to change their diet, from dry to canned food, so that it will be easier for them to swallow.
- On rare occasions, the incisor teeth may not be shed. Instead, the permanent teeth erupt in a second line, usually behind them. The first set will then have to be removed.
- Broken canines can spell death for cats in the wild, because they are then unlikely to be able to kill their prey effectively. This leaves them facing starvation, or at risk of serious injury if they tackle large quarry.
- In the case of an imminent fight, cats will open their mouths and draw back their lips to reveal their teeth, in the hope of intimidating a rival.
Are kittens born with teeth in their jaws?
The teeth are below the gum line at birth, and only emerge as the time for weaning approaches. The presence of teeth then makes it painful for the mother cat to suckle her offspring, and so her milk starts to dry up.
My kitten seems keen to bite my hand now that he appears to be teething. Is this normal?
Teething can be a painful and irritating process. Your cat may start chewing other items around the home, such as chair legs. Try not to allow him to bite your hand — provide a meaty dog chew instead.
Why do kittens have fewer teeth?
Their jaws are small at first, and only as these grow do they have room for more teeth.