Of all the odd cat health questions I’ve ever taken to my vet, asking how to brush my cat’s teeth must top the list. Not that it’s really so odd: when your consider cat teeth, health and maintenance go hand in hand.
I’d just never realized I would play such a fundamental role in my cat’s
dental hygiene. So, without further ado, the answer to that most perplexing of
cat health questions: How to I
brush the teeth of an animal that’s composed of fangs, claws, and a low
tolerance for human stupidity?
Dental care and toothpaste for cats
Before you run off to grab a cheap tube of toothpaste, consider this about your cat. Dental health maintenance does differ from species to species. Toothpaste used by humans can easily make a cat very sick: it just isn’t designed for them. Besides, how many of the cats you know enjoy that minty-clean taste? Cat toothpaste is designed to consider the cat’s special dental needs, and their sense of taste.
Sneaky Dental Care
The best advice on brushing a cat’s teeth? Get them started while they’re young. Kittens are much more adaptable than older cats, and are likely to take to brushing as just another part of the grooming schedule. With older cats, you have to introduce the idea gradually.
Start off by letting them play with the toothbrush. Hold it in your hand and gently tickle them around the jaw with it. That way, you’re getting their scent on the brush, making it familiar and part of their territory.
Now, once they’re used to the toothbrush, put some toothpaste on it, and let them lick it off while you hold the brush. If they don’t like the taste, try a different brand. As they come to associate the brush with a treat, slowly start brushing their teeth as they try to lick the paste. Be patient, and don’t rush the process.
And yet another of the great cat health questions: how often should I brush my cat’s teeth? About three times a week should be enough to keep the worst of the plaque and tartar at bay. Your cat may or may not go for that. Just remember that some brushing is better than no brushing at all.