Healthy adult cats should have 30 teeth in total. Besides eating, cats also use their teeth for hunting, playing, and sometimes in self-defense. However, cats can fall victim to some painful dental conditions that cause tooth loss and tooth resorption.
Understanding how many teeth your cat should have and how to take care of them can help you keep your cat happy and healthy for years to come.
Kittens Have 26 Tiny Teeth
Like humans, cats are diphyodont—this is a fancy way to say we both have two sets of teeth, baby teeth and adult teeth. Kittens start growing their first set of teeth as early as two weeks, with all 26 little teeth erupting by 6–8 weeks. Kittens start losing their baby teeth at about 3 months, when their adult teeth start to emerge.
Adult Cats Have 30 Teeth
By the time your cat is 6 months old, they will have all 30 of their adult teeth. Like their wild ancestors, adult cats will use their teeth to eat, hunt, and protect themselves. With proper care and check-ups, your little tiger should be able to keep all their teeth throughout their life.
Types of Cat Teeth
The number of teeth cats, humans, and pups have differs, but we all share the same type of teeth. Humans have a combination of sharp and flat-surfaced teeth for grinding. Cats’ teeth retain a sharp edge, fitting their diet as obligate carnivores. Here’s what they are and how they work in cats:
These are the little teeth in the front of a cat’s mouth. They’re typically used for snipping—like when your cat is grazing on cat grass.
Right behind the incisors are the big fangs called canines. They sometimes peek out when a cat is resting. “They are long, strong teeth used to bite into and grasp another animal’s flesh—either when hunting or defending themselves,” explains Shanna Landy, DVM, a dentistry and oral surgery resident at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.
On either side of the jaw are wide teeth known as pre-molars. Your cat uses these pearly whites to grasp and bite prey—or chow down on kibble. Adults and kittens have one fewer premolar on either side of the bottom jaw.
These teeth sit behind the premolars on the top and bottom jaws. They’re smaller than pre-molars and help crunch kibble and other hard foods.