Understanding the basics of the Maine Coon kitten teething process is essential for healthy gums and teeth in your feline companion.
Healthy gums and teeth ensure a healthy and happy Maine Coon as they transition into adulthood.
It’s never too late to start learning about Maine Coon oral health. It will certainly save you a lot of money down the line if you can prevent cat gum disease and costly procedures.
This introduction to Maine Coon kitten teething will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to get your Maine Coon kitten off to the best start with its teething journey. I will also reflect on my own personal experiences with my two Maine Coon cats – Ragnar and Lagertha – along with original photos of them.
(Do you brush your cat’s teeth, or are you wanting to introduce toothbrushing to your kitten and don’t know where to begin? My recent guide on ‘How To Brush A Maine Coon Cat’s Teeth‘ explains all there is to know from cat toothbrushes and toothpaste, handling techniques and alternative dental solutions.)
What Science Warns Us About Feline Gum Disease
At the beginning of my journey as a Maine Coon owner, one of the most important topics I wanted to understand was cat dental care and how to prevent gum disease in Maine Coon cats.
(My guide on ‘What Is A Maine Coon Cat?‘ is also useful for learning about the Maine Coon breed in general).
I found that it helped to delve into some of the scientific research that had been carried out in relation to cat gum disease and dental care so that I was better equipped with the knowledge I needed to look after the oral health of my two cats.
To provide you with an idea of how scientific research can help Maine Coon owners, a 2023 study on feline dental disease by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) identified the most common breeds of cats, and typical ages, most likely to be affected by cat gum disease.
The study found that periodontal disease was the most common disease in cats, with particular cat breeds more susceptible, including 16.7% of Maine Coon cats having the disease. It found that age was a strong predictor of periodontal disease in cats and that they are in greater need of targeted dental care to prevent this.
It was one of the largest studies ever carried out looking into dental disease in cats and sampled 18,249 cats at random from a selection of 1,255,130 cats within the UK.
With that being said, let’s explore the topic of cat dental care further so you can best look after your Maine Coon companion’s dental health.
How Many Teeth Are Maine Coon Kittens Born With?
Maine Coon kittens are born with no teeth at first. This is because their mother is their primary source of milk and nutrition.
As they grow, Maine Coon kittens go on to develop their baby teeth, a process known as ‘kitten teething’.
In total, Maine Coon kittens develop 26 baby teeth, including:
- 12 incisors
- 4 canines
- 10 premolars (6 on the upper jaw; four on the lower jaw)
Kitten teeth will eventually fall out, and a full set of adult cat teeth will replace them, for which there are 30 in total, with the addition of 4 molars.
Let’s take a closer look at the Maine Coon kitten teething timeline.
Maine Coon Kitten Teething Timeline And Process
|Kitten Teething Timeline||Kitten Teething Process|
|2-3 weeks||Maine Coon kitten’s teeth begin to show through the gums. These are sometimes referred to as ‘deciduous teeth’ or milk teeth.|
|3-4 weeks||Incisors (the small teeth at the front of a Maine Coon’s mouth) start to appear first.|
|4-6 weeks||Canine teeth which are located on both sides of the incisors, appear. Kittens have four canine teeth in total, one on both sides of the top and bottom jaws.|
|5-6 weeks||Premolars start to come in. These are located at the back of the kitten’s mouth, with three premolars on each side of the upper jaw, and on each side of the lower jaw.|
|6-7 weeks||At this stage, all of the kitten’s deciduous teeth will have erupted through the gums.|
|11-12 weeks||After a short 12 weeks, the kitten’s baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent adult cat teeth, which erupt through the gums.|
|14-30 weeks||Over a period of around 18 weeks baby kitten teeth are gradually replaced by adult cat teeth. It’s common for Maine Coon kittens going through this to experience discomfort.|
The growth of teeth in Maine Coon kittens can vary, so the timeline is a close approximation.
During the kitten’s teething timeline, you may find that they have the desire to chew and gnaw on objects. This helps alleviate their pain.
When my Maine Coon cats were going through teething, I found dental chews and dental toys helped them a lot, easing their discomfort. It’s important to not let them chew on your hand or furniture, as this will promote unwanted behaviour into their adulthood.
Six Signs Your Maine Coon Kitten Is Teething
There are some helpful signs to look out for that will give you an indication your Maine Coon kitten is teething.
I found these particularly helpful to know in advance so that I could ease their pain with the help of some dental chews and toys.
Pawing at their mouth
Maine Coon kittens paw at their mouth. This may look as if they are trying to dislodge their baby teeth, but it’s an instinct to deal with the teething pain. This can cause sensitivity in the face but will pass soon.
Chewing objects and gnawing more than usual
This action you might have witnessed in kittens is their response to easing pressure from the new teeth emerging. Dental toys and chews can soothe irritated gums. Both my Maine Coon cats did this as kittens, so it was helpful to purchase teething toys.
It’s common to witness kittens drool at the mouth then they are teething.
Loss Of Appetite
During the kitten teething timeline, you may notice they do not have the same appetite as they are used to. This is perfectly normal and is temporary.
Bleeding From The Gums
If you notice speckles or droplets of blood around your house, or near your Maine Coon feeding station, this is likely a result of teething and should be temporary.
Lack Of Grooming Behaviour
If you notice your kitten is not grooming themselves as much, it is likely from their teething journey.
When To Seek Veterinarian Advice About Maine Coon Kitten Teething
For most Maine Coon kittens, the teething processing should be fairly straightforward, with no issues. Maine Coon breeders should ensure kittens receive a veterinary check-up at 3-4 weeks and at 6-8 weeks in which their teeth will be checked. Once the kitten reaches 16-18 weeks, another check-up is required, which might be on the onus of the new owner. This is essential to ensuring the kitten’s teeth and oral health are as should be for that age.
There are exceptions, where you might need to seek veterinary advice if the kitten’s teething journey isn’t going as planned.
Excessive bleeding and swelling of the gums
A little bleeding is expected when your Maine Coon is teething but sometimes this can lead to excessive bleeding and swelling. In this case, it’s crucial that you see your vet to ensure your kitten is not in great discomfort.
If your Maine Coon kitten has not developed their adult teeth by the expected timeline, which is around 6 months, it could be indicative of an underlying issue. Your vet can examine your kitten’s mouth to ascertain the direct cause of delayed teething.
It is normal for Maine Coon kittens to exhibit some form of discomfort during the teething process. If they show signs of excessive pain such as more chewing than normal, unusual behavioural changes, refusal to eat repeatedly, and excessive drooling, then make an appointment with your vet asap.
Although very rare, sometimes a kitten’s baby teeth refuse to fall out, and in this case, the adult teeth erupt causing overcrowding and misalignment in the mouth.
This is known as a persistent tooth and it occurs when a deciduous and permanent tooth occupies the same socket in the kitten’s jaw. This can cause a great deal of discomfort in your kitten as food can become trapped in between teeth, causing bleeding and swelling of the gums.
An extraction might be required in this case, but your vet will determine the best course of action.
Should I Brush My Maine Coon Kitten’s Teeth?
The best time to introduce regular teeth cleaning in your Maine Coon is when they are kittens. This is because they will quickly become used to this routine, and it makes it easier for you and them, as they transition into adulthood.
Not only does regular brushing of your Maine Coon’s teeth ensure healthy oral hygiene, but it prevents plaque buildup which can lead to serious issues further down the line including gingivitis, and periodontitis.
Tips When Brushing Maine Coon Kitten Teeth
To make the process of brushing your Maine Coon kitten’s teeth easier for both you and them, here are some helpful tips you can implement today. These also apply to adult Maine Coon cats.
Start Them Young
Introducing the routine of teeth brushing is more effective when they are kittens. You can start this during their early months when you notice their teeth emerging. Not only does this help you become familiar with the process, but it also lets them become familiar with it too.
Invest In The Correct Tools
Toothbrushes and toothpaste that have been designed for cats are your best option. There are soft-bristled toothbrushes and finger brushes that have been specifically designed to be safe for their teeth. This includes toothpaste, with some even having a poultry scent to them. Do not use human toothpaste on cats, as the ingredients are toxic to them.
Let Them Explore The Cat Toothbrush And Toothpaste
Ensuring a gradual introduction to cat toothbrushes and toothpaste is essential for your Maine Coon. You can do this by letting them sniff and explore both cat toothbrushes and toothpaste. This will let them become accustomed to both the texture of the toothbrush and the taste of the toothpaste. My Maine Coon cats love cat toothpaste with mint in it. I have tried a toothpaste that was beef flavoured, but they both turned their noses up at it. Try experimenting with different flavours. Being patient at this stage will pay off.
This stage is easiest done when your Maine Coon is relaxed and lying down. Start by gently lifting your Maine Coon’s lips which will expose their teeth and gums. With gentle pressure, use circular motions with the toothbrush. Give extra attention to their back teeth, as this is where plaque can build up. It’s important to ensure your cat’s comfort during this process. If you remain patient and provide verbal reassurances, this process will become easier for both you and your Maine Coon.
Provide Verbal Reassurances
Positive reinforcement such as offering praise, and playtime after brushing your Maine Coon’s teeth is key to them associating teeth brushing as a positive experience.
Frequency is key to maintaining oral health in your Maine Coon. Start off by brushing your Maine Coon’s teeth 2-3 times per week, and increasing as your feel is required. This will ensure you are maintaining your oral health, and warding off any cat gum disease.
Alternative Solutions To Brushing Your Maine Coon Kitten’s Teeth
If you are dealing with a stubborn Maine Coon kitten, that flat-out refuses to have their teeth cleaned with a cat toothbrush and toothpaste, there are some alternative solutions.
However, please try and persevere, as it will be better for their overall health in the long term if you do brush their teeth regularly.
- Dental treats and chews – Dental treats and chews are helpful if your Maine Coon refuses to have their teeth brushed. These can aid the process of cleaning, but ultimately you should try and persist with brushing your cat’s teeth for a proper clean.
- Dental wipes and gel – Another alternative solution to brushing your Maine Coon’s teeth is dental wipes. These work by cleaning the surface of your cat’s teeth, but they will not be as effective at removing plaque as a toothbrush.
- Dental Approved Diets – On the advice of your vet, some dental diets have larger kibble and specific textures can help prevent plaque build-up in your Maine Coon.
- Veterinary Dental Check-Up – Whilst building a dental routine is essential for your Maine Coon, don’t forget to schedule routine check-ups with your local veterinarian. Their professional assessment of your cat’s oral health will ensure you are on the right path, and suggest teeth cleaning and address concerns where appropriate.
Understanding The Maine Coon Kitten Teething Process – What’s Next?
Understanding the kitten teething process equips you with the knowledge to provide the right care and support for your Maine Coon, during this important stage of its development.
Familiarisation with the Maine Coon teething timeline, process and signs of discomfort enables you to ensure their journey is as pain-free as possible.
Finally, implementing a dental cleaning routine early on establishes positive reinforcement with your Maine Coon.
With the correct attention and dental care, your Maine Coon kitten can grow into a healthy adult.
If you are interested in more pet care routines for your Maine Coon, then my guide on Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat is for you.
Dental Related FAQs
Most kittens should have started teething by 3 to 4 months.
Most Maine Coon kittens will lose their baby teeth by around 3-4 months, at which point their adult teeth will have started to emerge. By the time they reach 6-7 months, Maine Coon’s will have their full set of adult teeth which is 30 in total.
A kitten swallowing their baby teeth shouldn’t be a cause for concern as they are very small and will pass through their digestive system with no issues. If you are concerned your kitten has swallowed some baby teeth, contacting your vet for advice should put your mind at ease.
As soon as your kitten reaches 6 months, at which point they should be close to having their adult teeth, you can schedule a dental check-up with your vet. A full assessment will be carried out to ensure their oral health is off to the best start, for going into their adulthood.