Cats, just like humans, get their baby teeth first, which are replaced later by permanent teeth. They are born without any teeth. At least, they are born without any teeth yet visible.
When do Kittens Get Baby Teeth?
Kittens have 26 baby, or deciduous teeth. These temporary teeth start to erupt from their gums around 2 weeks of age and finish erupting by around 8 weeks of age. Afterwards, mom’s milk sacs are at risk of injury from sharp little kitten teeth.
When Do Kittens Start Getting Permanent Teeth?
Between 5 and 7 months of age, a kitten’s baby teeth are replaced by 30 permanent teeth adult teeth. These teeth are specialized carnivore teeth, primarily designed for piercing and tearing meat.
A cat’s adult teeth include:
- 12 incisors – 6 upper and 6 lower, erupting from 3.5 to 4.5 months
- 4 canines – 2 upper and 2 lower, erupting at 5 months
- 10 premolars – 6 uppers and 4 lowers, erupting from 4.5 to 6 months
- 4 molars – 2 upper and 2 lower, erupting from 4 to 5 months
Functions of Different Cat Teeth
The 12 incisors, along with the 4 large canines, make up the front teeth of your cat’s mouth. The incisors are designed for grasping food, especially meat.
Canines (Eye Teeth)
The 4 canines are the large pointed teeth visible in the front of your cat’s mouth. The are what we sometimes think of as “fangs” and are similar to the corresponding teeth in a dog’s mouth, from which they get their name. We humans have them as well, but ours are smaller and much less sharp. These teeth are primarily meant for puncturing and tearing flesh.
The 10 premolars, along with the molars, make up your cat’s back teeth. Like our own, these teeth are meant to grind food in into smaller pieces so it can be swallowed. A cat does not chew and grind his food as much as we humans do, though.
There are 4 large molars at the very back of a cat’s mouth. These, along with the premolars, grind up food for swallowing.
A Cat’s Tongue is Important for Eating
A cat’s tongue helps guide food around the mount and to the back of the throat, similar to how the human tongue works during eating. However, when it comes to food, a cat’s tongue is a bit more specialized, Those sandpapery backward-facing eruptions all over your cat’s tongue are not only useful for grooming and combing a cat’s fur, they also help pick up small pieces of food, and can even assist in removing flesh from bones.