Maybe you brush your dog’s teeth, but what about your cat? Do you think brushing her teeth is impossible?
Whether your cat is the sweetest feline ever, a little skittish, or just not a people person, teeth brushing is something that many cats will learn to tolerate. Remember to start slowly, in a quiet place, and reward your cat for a job well done. If you see getting a toothbrush successfully into your cat’s mouth without any scratches or nips an insurmountable obstacle—talk to your vet. There are a variety of treats, water additives, and vet procedures that can help keep your cat’s pearly whites clean.
So, you’re going to give brushing Whiskers’ teeth a go. Now what?
Toothbrush. Get a toothbrush made specifically for cats, or a nylon-bristled children’s brush. You can also use a rubber finger brush or a piece of gauze—in fact, these options might be good stepping stones to get your cat used to the action, before you graduate to a toothbrush.
Toothpaste. Be sure to use a toothpaste specifically formulated for cats. People, or dog specific, toothpaste can make cats sick. Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors (including liver or chicken flavors), can be swallowed, and comes in enzymatic varieties (which targets plaque and tarter).
Start slow. Get your cat used to letting you put your hands near her face, then near her mouth, then touching and opening her mouth just a bit. Teaching her to allow you in and around her mouth will set the foundation for successful tooth brushing, so go slowly and make sure you reward her for a job well done. The best reward for a cat might be some extra snuggles, an extra play session, or a cat treat—use whatever works for your cat.
Once your cat lets you near her mouth, rub her front teeth with just your finger. You can move up to a rubber finger brush to start brushing with toothpaste, and move up to including the back teeth too (which is often where the most plaque buildup is).
If your cat balks at the toothpaste, just put a bit on the tip of your finger and let her lick it off. No brushing necessary until she gets used to the toothpaste, and having your fingers around, and in, her mouth.
Gently hold back your pet’s lips and start brushing. It’s okay to just do a couple of teeth the first time. As your cat gets used to it, do more and more teeth, eventually brushing them all at once. If your cat just doesn’t have the patience to let you do all her teeth at once, consider doing half in the morning and half in the evening.
Reward. Be sure to tell your cat how good she is once you’re done! If your cat starts avoiding you because she doesn’t like having her teeth brushed, just try brushing a few times a week and giving a big reward when you’re done. Maybe do it before a meal and reward her with a tasty meal of canned cat food. Eventually, the quick daily tooth brushing can be a few quality minutes for you to spend together every day.
How often should you brush your cat’s teeth? Well, how often do you brush your own teeth? Ideally, your cat will have her teeth brushed every day. Though, even every other day (or a couple times a week for difficult cats) will go a long way in preventing dental diseases and plaque buildup. And even with regular teeth brushing, some cats may need annual or biannual professional dentals at your vet’s office—be sure to have her teeth checked every year at her checkup to keep an eye on things. Your cat—and her teeth—will thank you.
Never miss out on your oral hygiene by concentrating on your cat. Click on the following link to book an appointment today – https://dentistinperth.com.au/.
By Rachel Leisemann Immel