Have you ever wondered just how many teeth cats have? Well, the answer may surprise you! According to experts, cats have a whopping 30 teeth! That’s right—almost as many as humans. But a cat’s teeth are smaller, sharper, and more specialized than ours.
Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of your feline friend’s chompers to understand their form and function.
How Many Teeth Does a Cat Have?
First, let’s start with the basics. Like humans, feline teeth consist of two sets: baby teeth (also called deciduous or milk teeth) and adult teeth. The baby teeth start to come in at about two months old, and all of the adult teeth will be in place by six months.
Adult cats have 30 teeth,1 broken down into four categories: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. The incisors are the 12 small teeth located in the front of the mouth and are used for grooming and grasping food.
The four canines, located just behind the incisors, are used for tearing and biting prey. Ten premolars help with cutting and crushing food, while four molars are used for grinding.
Now that you know how many teeth cats have, let’s look at why it matters.
How Your Cat Uses Its Teeth
Your cat’s teeth are designed to do more than just chew their food. Studies have shown that cats use their teeth for communication, defense, and grooming.
When a cat wants to show submission or give a friendly greeting, it might offer its muzzle for you to rub, which is known as “muzzling” or “muzzle bumping.” Additionally, cats may also rub their bodies against you to show affection—a behavior known as “bunting.”
Cats also use their teeth for defense when they feel threatened by predators or other cats. If a cat feels cornered, it may hiss, arch its back, and lift its tail to appear larger and more intimidating. If this fails, it may resort to biting or scratching as a last-ditch effort to protect itself.
Finally, cats use their teeth for grooming purposes. Cats will often lick their fur and claws to keep themselves clean and hydrated. They also have an instinctive tendency to gnaw on things—like toys and furniture—which helps to keep their teeth in top condition.
Tips to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Healthy
Although cats are masters of taking care of their own dental health, there are some things you can do to help keep your cat’s teeth in the best shape possible.
First and foremost, regular brushing is essential for a healthy mouth. You should brush your cat’s teeth at least twice a week with toothpaste specifically designed for feline use. It’s also important to take your cat for regular checkups with the vet, who can clean and examine your cat’s teeth more thoroughly.
You may also consider adding dental treats or kibble that have been specially designed to reduce plaque build-up on the teeth and gums. Lastly, provide toys and other items you can use to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy.
No matter their number of teeth, with a bit of work, your cat can have an impressively strong set of chompers!
From 26 to 30 teeth in its proverbial arsenal, a cat has the capability for an array of different culinary experiences. Although not as large and powerful as our own pearly whites, cats cunningly make use of their minuscule molars in extraordinary ways!
As a responsible cat owner, it is essential to be knowledgeable about your pet’s oral hygiene and provide them with important care for their continued well-being. By scheduling regular checkups at the vet, brushing regularly, and providing special treats specifically designed for cats’ dental health, you can keep your cat’s teeth gleaming white!
Featured Image Credit: didesign021, Shutterstock