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Brushing cat teeth

How to Brush Cat’s Teeth:

Brushing cats’ teeth is not something most cat owners do, and in fact very few cat owners realize that this is a necessary part of caring for a cat.

Most people are under the impression that cats and dogs, unlike humans, do not need dental care, and are able to keep their teeth healthy naturally. However, “natural” is rather relative, and no pet is truly living a natural life. Dogs can be given bones and chew toys to keep their teeth healthy to a certain extent, but with cats there is no such option.

Daily brushing is not really necessary, but it is generally advisable to brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week.

To begin with, it is important to get your cat used to having its teeth handled. Cats are rather picky and stubborn about being handled, and will generally only allow a touch that they find pleasurable.

It is however possible to get your cat to like the whole process. You should start by using your finger after dipping it into chicken broth or some similar fluid or paste. Allow your cat to lick your finger, and gradually start to rub your cat’s teeth and gums intermittently. Always remember that you should never use force when brushing your cat’s teeth, and that progress may be slow – it could take up to a week to move from one step to the next. (Initially, you need to “brush” your cat’s teeth daily – once your cat allows proper brushing, a weekly schedule is fine.) In addition, remember to always end every session on a positive note, for example by using a really tasty treat.

Next, start rubbing your cat’s teeth and gums with a finger wrapped in gauze, once again after dipping it in the chicken broth, and moving from licking to rubbing. Once your cat is really comfortable with this, you can finally get out your toothbrush. Use a special pet toothbrush – typically one that fits on your finger. First allow your cat to simply lick the paste off the toothbrush – cat toothpastes have interesting flavors and can be ingested safely. If your cat enjoys the paste enough, this step can even be used as the reward at the end of a session of rubbing with gauze. Finally, once your cat is comfortable with the rubbing, the paste, and the brush, you can start actually brushing your cat’s teeth. If necessary, you can also ask your vet for advice on cat teeth cleaning and brushing.
  Submitted on May 7, 2010