A few weeks ago, Miss. Kitty had a vet appointment for her yearly vaccines! She was a great little patient and didn’t even flinch when she got her shots. Her weight was perfect (same as last year! Vet said I am a great cat mommy! Yay!), her coat is exceptional and her overall health is great! EXCEPT………. for some plaque on her back teeth!
OK, OK, it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be! During last year’s check up, Kitty had some plaque. I was advised to try brushing and use some dental treats to keep it from getting worse or look into getting her teeth professionally cleaned. This year, it is still the same. Luckily, it has not gotten worse, thank goodness! However, now I am being a bit more proactive in getting her used to the brush!
So, in this post, I am going to give a few tips to anyone who is interested in trying to brush their felines teeth!
First thing is to find a toothbrush that your cat will tolerate. I have tried the ones that you put on your finger but I found that those are not as effective as an actual toothbrush. No cat wants your finger in their mouth!
I got this toothbrush and toothpaste at the vet office. The brush has soft bristles and the toothpaste is poultry flavoured. Both got two paws up from Kitty! DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE! Please check with your vet or local pet store to get a toothbrush and paste made especially for cats!
Before you actually attempt to brush, let the cat get accustomed to the toothbrush. I would let Kitty just bite on it and get used to it being close to her mouth. Then, I would put a bit of paste on the brush and have her lick it and taste it. She will try to chew on it which is great because she is slowly getting used to the toothbrush!
The problem area for Kitty is her back teeth. You can probably see the plaque! This is not an easy place to try to brush. She is more comfortable having her fangs brushed than me trying to get to that pesky back teeth!
It is very important to keep the cat in a comfortable position. For Kitty, it is sitting on my lap. I would hold her very gently and lift up her lip to reveal the teeth that needs to be cleaned. With a very calm and gentle hand, slowly rub the brush on the teeth. You can massage the gums gently as well.
Do not put pressure on the neck or hold on too tight. You know your kitty the best so as soon as you feel that they are getting stressed, stop what you are doing. Leave it for another day!
In the photos above, you will see that I am holding her neck VERY gently. It is just enough to support her head while I get those teeth cleaned.
You will soon learn that you can’t brush it all in one go. So take your time and focus on the problem areas first. Kitty tries to bite on the brush and I let her do that as much as she wants. Then, I brush a bit more. It is never more than a minute or two at a time.
Patience is key! Try to brush a bit everyday, even if it’s just one small spot. Use slow, gentle rotations. Kitty is a very patient cat so I have had better luck with her. If your kitty is not too enthusiastic at first, give them a dental treat and let them go on their way. Try again tomorrow!
It is important that you keep trying. Not many pet parents pay much attention to the health and condition of their pets’ teeth until something serious happens. Be proactive and pay attention to their dental health. Watch for bad breath and bleeding gums! Talk to your vet about it at your next appointment. Dental issues will cost you thousands of dollars so best catch things before it gets to that point.
As always, make sure your kitty is on a healthy diet and has access to lots of fresh water. Avoid food and treats that have artificial flavours and colours. Look for all natural, crunchy treats and use them in moderation. Dental treats are not a substitution for a good cleaning routine!
If you have any tips, experiences with your own pets’ dental health, please share them in the comments!
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