There are a lot of responsibilities involved in caring for a cat. Providing food, water and shelter is just the beginning. Grooming is an obvious necessity. It’s the less visible needs like dental care that are often overlooked.
Everything with teeth needs a tooth brush. There’s a variety of brushes, scrubbing pads and sponges on the market that are especially meant for your cat. The condition of the animal’s gums and how comfortable both of you are with the process with determine what kind of tool you should chose.
Pads or sponges are best for an animal for sensitive gums and for people who have trouble holding on to a brush. These options are usually disposable. If you decide to go with a brush, make sure to get one that’s specifically made for cats. They’re smaller, longer and have softer bristles.
It’s very important to use toothpaste that’s designed for animals. Many of the ingredients in traditional pastes can upset your pet’s stomach and may even be toxic. Veterinarians recommend toothpastes that contain chlorhexidine or hexametaphosphate.
If dental care is a new concept for your cat, you might want to give it a chance to get used to the idea before you go digging around in its mouth. Try wrapping your finger in a piece of gauze dipped in tuna water or some flavor your cat will enjoy. This will help it get accustomed to someone poking around inside its mouth. The texture of the gauze will mimic that of the tooth brush. Give the cat an opportunity to smell and lick the tool you’re about to put in its mouth.
Most feline toothpastes come in flavors cats enjoy, like tuna or chicken. The taste will help relieve some of the anxiety your pet may experience. Talking to the cat during the brushing process will be soothing as well. You may want to brush only a few teeth at first. The large, upper canines are the easiest for you to reach and the least invasive on the cat. Work up to more thorough brushings as your cat becomes more receptive.
You should try to brush your pet’s teeth daily, as you do your own. The hard part is just getting started. Once both you and your cat get used to it, it will become a quick part if your daily routine. If daily brushing isn’t possible, brushing every other day is enough to remove plaque before it hardens. You cat’s oral care can also be managed with diet. Studies show that hard, crunchy food can help reduce plaque. Avoid feeding it table scraps or sweet treats, as sugar increases plaque and tarter production and can cause digestive or other health problems.
Cory enjoys writing about dogs and other pets. Find more of her articles at Pets 247, a pet resource website where you can find online pet store resources, savory dog food , pet directories, pet forums , reviews and more.