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This is NOT a chew toy — aka teething bites

Posted on November 18, 2015 by Taber Times

Is there such thing as a cat tooth fairy? Cause I got a few tiny fangs that need exchanging.

As some readers might recall, I have a kitten referred to here as Cat. Cat is in the middle of her transition from a tiny kitten to a regal cat, and is currently in the midst of gaining all her adult teeth – and having some difficulties with it.

When I first got a cat, I was just turning eight years old. He had ‘character’ – cat owner speak for he was a menace but we loved him anyway – and wrecked havoc on many a houseplants and dogs before passing away due to illness.

He taught me many lessons about cat ownership; always leave the door open if the litter box is not in the room, if there is a way to get into the vents they will find it, tummy scratching is a trap and never leave cereal unattended.

I had many firsts with him; first dead mouse, first dead crow, first doggy thunder-suit and first eaten houseplant. While these are just some of the realities of cat ownership, it was still worth having him around.

However, I do not remember ever having to deal with my previous cat teething.

Yes, as he got older in life, my belated cat had to have a few teeth pulled that sent my family reeling at the vet bill – in all seriousness, it was more than that year both my sisters and I got cavities – but I do not recall ever finding little white chompers lying around, nor waking up in the middle of the night to find him chewing on my pillow. These firsts, I am experiencing with Cat.

I am used to cat claws. Before I got the first set of nail scissors, Cat had sharp little knives that unintentionally would cut up my arms and pull threads in my bed set. Regular maintenance and scratching posts help curb this problem.

For those who have not guessed, I keep primarily indoor cats. While my previous cat did sometimes go outside – hence the dead crow – when we did, he never expressed the same profound desire to go and frolic outside as he did with demanding his food dish always be full, and once coyotes were spotted in the area, we stopped taking him out with us. As for Cat, there has been a very real fear of the neighborhood cat picking on her.

Getting back on topic, I was young when I got him, and wasn’t vacuuming then, so maybe I just never found pearly white fangs in my carpet. He certainly didn’t make a fuss about it.

But for Cat, it is a fuss.

Maybe it is her size that’s the problem; she was scarcely a pound when I got her, and even now that she’s done the majority of her growth spurts, she can’t be more then seven. But whatever the reason, she’s taken to gnawing on things.

Like humans, cats have baby teeth. They get them between three to four weeks old, and start gain their adult teeth at three months. While their adult teeth are typically in by six months of age, some sources say it could take up to nines months for them to get their full set of adult teeth.

Cat has not yet reached six months, and I have found two teeth imbedded in a blanket last week. It is going to be a long couple of months.

With puppies it’s easy; wet a hand towel, tie it into a knot and toss it in the freezer, a couple of hours later, take it out and the puppy gets instant relief.

Kittens, not so much. For one the towel will be as big as her, and once it starts melting, forget it. Water plus cats do not mix – unless you have a Turkish Van of course.

It is often recommended to provide kittens with toys of soft rubber during this time, but the only rubber she likes to chew on is my phone charger. I have been keeping wires tucked up and out of reach, but while toys with thick padding or material have provided her with some relief, she has an unhealthy obsession with chewing white wires.

While when she was younger and her teeth were like little needles, it was very noticeable when she tried to give you a love-bite. But she wasn’t a chewer – yes, she would knaw on toys, but crinkly balls and furry mice don’t count, furniture does. But they were short and besides loosing a few layers of skin, she didn’t do much damage.

Now, with thicker and denser teeth coming in, there is a legitimate concern that she’s going to chew on something she shouldn’t.

Case in point; sometimes we are cuddling while watching ‘Criminal Minds’, and I look down to see her gumming my sweater, at other times she is in a feisty, manic mood – believing that she is bigger then she really is – and wants to eat my toes.

Just to be clear; Cat is not vicious or mean, and I am not making excuses for her. But she is going through a time where her gums are sensitive and chewing provides relief from that. It’s where she chews that is the problem.

Maybe it’s because I used to play with her with white straw cord. But whatever the reason, there is a chance of BBQ kitty if she chews through a plugged-in electrical cord. Hence my problem.

I have had some degree of luck in teaching Cat that toes are not a chew toy; gently dislodging her and giving her some cord or a toy mouse to play with instead. Spray bottles also work wonders in keeping her from trying to get at the wires behind my desk. The worst case scenario; distract her with a laser pointer – works every time.

So far, all her teeth are coming in nicely. I have seen no dreaded double fangs that would lead to a costly trip to the vet, and she is still eating both her moist and dry food.

But I could still have another three months to go before she gets all 30 of her adult teeth. And considering how kittens only have 26 tiny baby teeth, her gums will continue to be sore for a long time as they come in, and she will continue to stalk my phone charger. But in the meantime, does anybody know what the tooth fairy gives in exchange for cat teeth?

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