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Kittens Teething and Biting
To Bite and When to Bite
I had no idea that kittens have teething and chewing needs when I adopted my eentsy weentsy fellow! I had only heard of puppies chewing everything in sight. Therefore, I needed to educate myself very quickly about kitten teething.
Kitten Baby Teeth Timeline
Kittens are born without teeth, but at two weeks of age, the little incisors in the front of the mouth may show. At around four weeks of age, the canine teeth (fangs) come in and by age six weeks the premolars appear. These teeth are all baby teeth. So, around age 6 weeks all the baby teeth for a cat have cut through the gums.
At age 11 weeks, baby teeth start falling out as permanent teeth come in. If we have adopted our feline as a kitten, we pet parents now must cope with the emergence of permanent teeth starting around age 3 months.
Instinctive Biting Behavior
Kittens chew on and bite their toys instinctively as they pretend to chase prey or defend themselves from pretend predators. This is pretty powerful instinctive behavior – and kittens do not tire of it. Because we do not want this biting to be transferred to living things, especially humans, it is important for us parents to refrain from using our hands or fingers as a target to be chased by a cat. The human hand should be associated with cuddling and food giving, not a chew toy.
Kitten Teething Toys
How to Help Your Kitten
Kittens have a teething process, just like human babies. During the teething period, you may find that your kitten has loose teeth and a sore mouth and gums. In some cases, your baby cat may seem crankier and not wanting to eat. If this happens, trying soft, wet food while they are teething to ensure that they don’t lose any nutrients. Of course, any advice from your veterinarian about diet supersedes this advice.
Fortunately, cats have teething advantages that often lets this process pass relatively unnoticed. Unlike people, all of the kitten’s teeth have sharp edges which help their passage through the gums. And, because they naturally engage in predator play, they bite their toys which helps the teeth come in.
My Cute 8 Week Old Kitten Shows the Natural Biting Behavior
Recommended Chewing Materials for Teething Kittens
Wool, cardboard, and stuffed toys and substances which will yield are most often recommended to help kittens with the teething miseries.
Cardboard is an easy material to supply since most of us purchase some foods in thin cardboard boxes. Did I say “box and kitten?” Need I say anything else about the attractiveness of this option? If you leave an empty food box on its side with the flaps out, kittens can comfortably bite the thin surfaces of the flaps.
Some cat experts recommend wool because it has the natural fat lanolin and also has softly abrasive surfaces. I have not yet tried this one. I would think that one needs to live near a sheep farm in order to obtain wool which has not had most of the lanolin processed out of it.
Another suggestion sounds identical to one used for human babies. It is to dampen a clean, wring it out, roll it loosely, and let it sit in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer overnight. Try offering a teething kitten this when its starts biting inappropriately.
Photo, text, and video copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan.