How Many Teeth Should My Cat Have?
Plus what to do if he has too many teeth (or not enough).
If you’re wondering how many teeth cats have, it depends on what kind of teeth we’re talking about.
In his lifetime, your cat will have two sets of teeth — baby teeth (aka deciduous teeth) and permanent teeth — and they both contain different amounts. Kittens have 26 baby teeth that are ultimately replaced by 30 permanent adult teeth.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Excited Cats, who explained everything you need to know about your cat’s changing teeth.
Types of cat teeth
Your cat has four different types of teeth in his mouth, each with their own special functions. They are:
“These teeth come in different shapes to do different jobs,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.
Incisors are those teeny-tiny, but sharp, little teeth in the front of your cat’s mouth. He should have six on the top and six on the bottom, so his adult set of teeth should have 12 incisors total.
Incisors help your cat rip and tear things, but they also help keep his tongue in his mouth, too.
Even though they’re called canine teeth, your cat still has them — and he should have four in total: two on the top and two on the bottom. These are those big, sharp teeth you see that almost look like fangs. According to Dr. Bonk, they’re shaped like this to grasp and tear things.
Your cat should have 10 premolars, which are the ones that will cut his food up while he’s chewing. They’re behind your cat’s canines, and he should have six on the top and four on the bottom.
Molars are the teeth way in the back of your cat’s mouth that are responsible for grinding down his food when he chews.
Your cat has four molars — two on the top and two on the bottom — and they don’t come in until after he’s already lost his baby teeth.
That’s why your cat only has 26 baby teeth but 30 adult teeth.
When do cats lose their baby teeth?
Your cat’s baby teeth will start to come in at 2 weeks old, but he won’t have them for very long. By the time he’s 3 months old, your cat will already begin losing those tiny teeth.
But losing his baby teeth can be tough on him, so that’s when you’ll start to notice him teething.
“During this time, you may notice bad breath, a little blood in their water bowl and maybe a propensity to chew on things,” Dr. Bonk said.
To make this process easier on your cat, there are toys specifically designed to soothe his achy gums while he’s teething.
And if your cat has more (or fewer) than 30 adult teeth, there’s no reason to panic. A trip to your vet will help sort everything out.
If he’s got too many teeth, your vet might want to extract any that are causing crowding or dental disease.
And if your cat doesn’t have enough teeth, your vet will help you figure out if your cat’s OK chowing down on dry food, or if he should stick to the soft stuff.
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