Kittens are marvelous little creatures, and having one can be a downright magical experience. But unfortunately, it isn't all sunshine and light. One common complication for kitties is teething. There are plenty of things you can do to help the process along, but one of the best – and I daresay most enjoyable – options is kitten teething toys. These toys help to curb undesirable behaviors that tend to pop up during this milestone, like biting and gnawing, and also relieve your kitten of some of the usual pain and discomfort that comes with cutting teeth. In this article, we will talk a little bit about what the process is, what it's like, and look into some of the best things for teething kittens – namely, playthings.
All About Kitten Baby Teeth and the Teething Process
Just like humans, our feline friends go through a few rounds of teeth. Kitten teeth sprout up in two stages. The first round are sometimes called the “milk teeth,” and generally appear around the two week mark. These teeth are small, translucent, and deciduous – meaning that they will fall out much like our own baby teeth. Permanent teeth generally begin to grow during their third month, and usually finish up at about the nine to twelve-month mark – or, more accurately, into young adulthood.
Kitten teething is mostly an undercover process. That is to say, it can go on behind the scenes without you ever knowing – you just wake up one day to discover a fully-toothed cat. Neat, right? Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. As milk teeth start to fall out and the adult versions begin to emerge, your kitty may develop sore or itchy gums, and as a result, he may not play as vigorously as usual, find it difficult to eat hard or crunchy foods, and may be downright irritable. If you can peek into his mouth, you might notice the above mentioned red or swollen gums, as well as a light amount of drooling and bad breath.
How to Offer a Teething Kitten Relief
There are quite a few things you can do to ease your teething kitten's discomfort. DIY kitten teething toys are a great option, as they can be made up of things you almost certainly already have in the house. For example, you might try soaking a piece of fleece in broth, and throwing it in the refrigerator. This will give him something cool and tasty to gnaw on as his new teeth push through. You might also want to consider growing him a small garden of barley, rye, or oat grass. Not only will these plants offer him something to chew on, they may also provide some additional bulk that can be useful for his digestion during this difficult time.
Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do to help out your teething kitten. For example, offer him soft or wet food to help ease any pain during mealtimes; do regular, gentle mouth checks; and keep his mouth clean – though, be sure to avoid brushing, as this will only make matters worse. Instead, use a soft, warm, damp cloth, and gently sweep away any debris.
The Best Kitten Toys for Teething
While your kitten is teething he is still... well, a kitten. Although you might want to avoid certain playthings during this time, he will still have all of that “crazy cat” energy that needs – needs – to be used up. So what can you, his loving human, do to both relieve his oral discomfort while still allowing him to let loose? Offer him a few toys for teething kittens, of course! The best kitten teething toys are not only able to soothe pain and redirect behavior, but are also, you know... fun. And that is hugely important. Your furry little pal is still a baby after all!
Types of Toys for Teething Kittens
When it comes to dental-focused kitten toys, you have a handful of options, and these options fall into two categories: toys that relieve and toys that stimulate. Of course, the categories can mingle and overlap, but let's quickly look over what they mean individually, as the definitions vary a little from regular cat toys.
- Playthings that relieve teething kittens are usually made up of rubber, plant material, or durable cloth, and may be infused with catnip or silver vine. Occasionally these teething toys will also come with either freezable or microwaveable pieces. Relieving toys are meant to alleviate all the physical ails that come with teething, and are also useful in de-stressing your kitten during this taxing time period.
- Stimulating kitten toys are, like their relieving counterparts, generally made up of chewable materials like pet-safe rubbers and plant materials. These toys are meant to help tiny milk teeth come free, and prompt the growth of a strong new adult set. They are also beneficial for your kitten's overall dental health, as they support the soft tissues and keep the oral cavity clean.
Whether you decide on kitten teething toys that relieve or stimulate, you'll discover that there are a lot of options to choose from. You may hesitate to invest in a handful of toys – after all, you're sweet little kitty won't be teething forever. That's a fair point, but do remember that many of these playthings can transition over into adulthood. Furthermore, it's important to note that even when kittens stop teething, they may continue to chew, so it doesn't hurt to have these gadgets on hand to help redirect this behavior.
All that said, let's get on to the fun part... the toys themselves!
Kitten Teething Toy Recommendations
This great little setup is ideal for any teething kitten. The most important item in this kit is the chewy toy, which is made up of a BPA-free, food-grade silicone. It is small enough for your tiny kitty to get his mouth around, and bears a number of small nubs that will help to stimulate his sensitive gums. This cute little plaything is hollow and has a small slit to place enticing items in, like the included sachets of catnip and silver vine sticks! The kit is nicely finished off with a couple of finger brushes that will help you keep kitty's mouth clean after he finishes teething.
As far as cat chew toys go, this is an excellent option. Not only will it be useful for keeping your kitten content during this difficult period, it can also transition into a useful oral hygiene tool when he gets a little older. The only real downside is that if you're working with a kitten under three months old, the catnip will not be very useful.
All right, let's get the obvious out of the way: this is a baby teething ring. There. I said it. But sometimes you have to think a little outside of the box, and these teething rings are a great option for kittens. Why? Well, for one thing, they are fantastically throwable, and will skitter across the floor like nobody's business – thus, they will easily attract your fluffy little buddy's attention. Next, they are made to be gnawed on, and even have handy ridges and bumps to help stimulate and soothe sore gums. Finally, they are made up of a non-toxic phthalate and BPA-free silicone. And did I mention that these things work great when chilled, which means you can add an extra layer of comfort. All-in-all, one of these suckers wouldn't make for a bad kitten teething ring.
As a whole, these make for an interesting alternative to regular kitten teething toys. However, because these are meant for human babies, they might be a little big for especially tiny kittens. They may also have a bit of a rubbery smell, so if your wee feline is particularly sensitive to scents, these may not go over well. As with any toy, though, it's important to supervise playtime when you use these, as when his sharp little teeth do finally come in, small pieces can chunk off and be swallowed.
Kids like lollipops... so... maybe kitties do too. Right? That makes sense. Well, maybe not, but there's a good chance your teething kitten would enjoy a lollipop-shaped toy made up of catnip and silver vine. The beauty of these things is that they not only help your kitty cut his new teeth, they also help to redirect chewing behaviors, and can work as a fun treat that will keep him happy even into adulthood. Another neat thing about this particular kitten toy is that, because of its shape and its handy-dandy little handle, your kitten can either play with it solo, or you can help him along by holding it in place.
The only two snags to this particular plaything are that: one, it will not be effective for very young kittens. And two: because it has a food-like quality, it is best utilized as a sort of treat, as the effects can wear off with overuse. Nevertheless, because it is a sort of food, if the texture provides your kitten with relief, that may very well be enough to keep him interested, even if the scent doesn't.
By and large, teaser wands aren't exactly an ideal toy for teething kittens. At this stage, their little mouths are going to be fairly sore, so picking up anything might be an uncomfortable experience. However, we picked this out for two reasons. For starters, kittens still like to play, even if playtime doesn't – or can't – include the use of his painful little mouth. And the second reason is because this one can be transformed into a soothing option with just a few extra steps. Because the toy at the end of the wand consists of a soft fabric, you can easily soak it in some water, give it a light wring out, then stick it in the 'fridge. That way, if your kitty forgets himself and bites down, instead of a jolt of pain, he winds up with a nice cooling sensation. So he gets a little bit of relief, and isn't deprived of a fully stimulating play session!
Unfortunately, using this method can be problematic in that, because the toy will be quite damp, it will be rather messy. Furthermore, you will need to wash the soft parts regularly to prevent any dirt or germs from collecting on them. Remember, keeping kitty's mouth clean is the highest priority, especially at this stage.
Sometimes comfort is key. When your wee little darling is cutting teeth, chances are he'll be pretty irritable, and a touch of extra warmth will absolutely make him more comfortable. That's where this kitten teething toy can help. During his livelier moments, it works as an excellent kicker toy or wrestling partner. When he requires some additional TLC, all you need to do is pop the buckwheat pillow in the microwave for a handful of seconds, then BAM! Warm, cozy cuddle buddy!
Overall, there aren't a lot of negatives to this toy. The only thing to say, really, is that it isn't terrifically exciting in and of itself. But, much like a teddy bear for humans, it can be a real source of solace for a worn out kitten.
When you first bring home your furry little baby, having a variety of toys on hand is important. That said, you really cannot go wrong with a great big variety set. These sets are economical, allow you to learn what your cat likes, and help you to keep things exciting. This particular set is perfect for a teething kitten, as it provides a number of chewable and chillable items, all while still being a ton of fun. The best part is that the toys that are not exactly teething-friendly can be reserved for your feline's post-teething days.
The only downside of this, and really any, set is that there will inevitably be items that your new little pal just doesn't dig. But, because you'll be saving some for later, there's still the chance he'll grow into them, so that's a good thing to keep in mind. And if he doesn't? Well, you can always donate them!
Although having a new little kitty in your home can be a ton of fun, it's important to remember that they're living, growing beings, and as is true of anything else that lives and grows, he's going to go through some downright painful milestones. To help keep the discomfort to a minimum, it's a good idea to have a lot of tools on hand, and kitten teething toys are some of the best. Not only will they allow for a bit of extra comfort, they will also provide a good deal more fun.
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