Keeping You Cat’s Teeth Clean With or Without Brushing
Lately we’ve been getting a lot of questions about cats and their teeth. Should you brush your cat’s teeth? Why and how often should I do this?
Why? Just like you and I, nasty stuff builds up on your cat’s teeth. The bacteria and plaque cause many issues including infections. These can be quite painful to Mr. Kitty and as we know, cats won’t complain when they are in pain. You might notice them eating less, especially with the hard food, but you often don’t know there’s a problem until it’s gotten bad. This can lead to infections that spread to other places and may require surgical removal of teeth. Let’s work on avoiding that!
Google cat toothbrush and you will find a lot of products! There are two basic kinds of toothbrushes. There is one type that resembles the toothbrushes we use. There are also kitty toothbrushes that slip on the end of your finger which I think are easier to use. The toothpaste will usually be flavored with tuna or liver to make it more palatable for kitty. Never use human toothpaste. There is a lot of stuff in there that could make him sick.
These products are paw-some but how do you get kitty to cooperate?
It’s best to start when they are kittens. If you have a kitten, play (gently!) around their mouth to get them used to it. If your cat has learned to tolerate you touching his teeth, he will handle this a lot better! But what if you have an older cat?
Give it a try and gently see if you can get near those teeth. Go slow and careful so kitty doesn’t get anxious. If you force it, anxiety will build up and your kitty will learn that coming near his mouth is a negative experience. Once your cat tolerates a little touch, see if you can touch the teeth or try for a bit longer. We have to work up to things with cats! I would hold off on buying that toothbrush until you know your cat will tolerate it.
What if my cat won’t let me near his teeth? Some of my kitties are more skittish and there is no way my hand is going to be allowed to touch those teeth. No worries! All is not lost! They make some a-meow-zing treats like Greenies that help get tartar off of teeth. There are also products you can put in the water that help reduce build up. Next stop is the vet!
Even if you can brush your cat’s teeth thoroughly, they still need dental checkups with the vet. Hey! I brush my teeth every day but I still go to my regular dental appointments. Our fabulous felines are no different! By going regularly, the vet can identify issues and will clean those teeth a lot better than we can at home. I’ve seen many people who didn’t get regular dental checkups because … well … no one wants to spend money unless it’s necessary. I’m all about saving a buck but infections and surgical teeth removal are going to hurt my wallet a lot more than preventative care! I’m also saving my kitties from lots of pain and that is always high on my priority list!
Spend some calm time with kitty and see if you think brushing those teeth is a possibility. If not, take a look into products that will help those teeth out and definitely make an appointment to visit the vet and get those teeth cleaned. Your kitty will be healthier and happier and that is the goal of every cat parent!