Of all the things cat-owners need to do for their cats to keep them happy and healthy, caring for their teeth is usually not at the top of the list – or on it at all.
However – just as with humans – plaque can build up on your cat’s teeth as well. The teeth can begin to rot and the gums can begin to get sore. Before you know it, your cat will be upset and in pain, having to gum down wet cat food.
Here are some simple steps to help cat-owners keep their feisty fur ball smiling forever.
1. Brush Regularly
Cats need to have their teeth brushed fairly regularly. This can be an unpleasant affair for all those involved.
You can't just dive right in with a toothbrush; you have to slowly get your feline accustomed to having you mess around in their mouth. Start slowly by dipping your finger in tuna juice or chicken broth and rubbing it on their gums. When your cat is okay with that, move up to gauze, again soaked in tuna or chicken. Eventually, you will be able to move up to a small toothbrush. However, as some cats will never get used to a brush, the gauze coated with special cat toothpaste will work just as well if your cat is fussy.
2. For The Overly-Fussy, Try Alternatives
If your cat simply will not allow your finger, gauze or a toothbrush anywhere near their mouth, you will have to try an alternative. Try a dental gel, rinse or spray. A dental gel can be fed to the cat directly or in their food. Also, you can get dental chews or dry cat food formulated to reduce plaque. If you can't find a decent one on your own, your vet should be able to recommend one.
3. Check The Gums
Even if you brush regularly, you need to check your cat’s mouth for signs of feline periodontal disease. This includes inflammation, swelling and the bleeding of the gums, as well as drooling and bad breath. This can result in pain when your cat eats. In the worst case scenario, it will cause them to stop eating all together. Your vet will give you a special ointment to help the early symptoms and suggest that you brush your cat's teeth more diligently.
4. Avoid Wet Food
There is a myth that feeding your cat dry food only will completely prevent periodontal disease without brushing. This is not true. Dry food will slow down the progress of periodontal disease and with proper brushing it may even prevent it. This is because dry food does not have all the excess sugars that wet food does. However, feeding your feline only dry food is