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CAT CARE > Cat Behavior > How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

5 easy steps to having a cavity-free cat.

You might not think about this; but brushing your cat’s teeth is important, and can avoid hefty dental bills and lost teeth down the road. But brushing a cat’s teeth seems like a good way to lose a hand. No fear! We’ve got a host of ways to make feline dental hygiene safe, easy — and yes, even something your cat will look forward to.

Step 1. Reel them into the routine. If you’re not in the habit of feeding your cat by hand or being near their mouth, they’re going to have to get used to you wanting to stick a toothbrush into their canines. To introduce the idea, start by dipping your finger in tuna water, chicken broth, or any other liquid that your cat may enjoy, and let your cat lick the liquid off of your finger. Once your cat has begun licking the liquid off of your finger, you can rub your soaked finger gently over your cat’s gums and teeth. After a few times of doing this chore, your cat should begin looking forward to this routine, easing up any future tension of you having to enter their mouth.

Step 2. Get used to the gauze. Once they’re reeled into the routine, place gauze around your finger and repeat the process. Dip the gauze into tuna water, chicken broth, or any other liquid that your cat may enjoy once more, and gently rub their teeth in a circular motion with the gauze on your finger. This process will get them used to the texture of a toothbrush and train them to feel more comfortable with the act of brushing their teeth. Repeat this process a few times until your cat seems used to the texture. Always remember to give them verbal praise and lots of petting throughout the process.

Step 3. Begin with the bristles. Now that your cat is used to the flavored gauze, begin introducing a toothbrush, dental sponge, or a pad into their palette so your cat is used to the consistency of these items, especially the brush. After a few trial runs, when you see that your cat is used to the item you are using, you can jump to step #4.

Step 4. Time for toothpaste. You’re finally ready to begin using toothpaste with your kitty. Pet toothpastes either have a poultry, malt, or other flavors that your cat will enjoy. Get your cat used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. You can even let them lick some off of your finger and then use your finger to begin applying some to your cat’s gumline. Again: remember to praise and pet your cat throughout the process.

Step 5. Brush, brush, brush. After your hard work, you’ve earned the opportunity to begin brushing your cat’s teeth. Hurray! You can start by brushing one or both upper canine teeth (the large teeth in the front of the cat’s mouth). These teeth are the easiest to clean and will give you and your cat some practice. Similar to before, when your cat seems comfortable with having their teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Be sure to pet your cat and talk to him or her in a friendly voice as you continue easing the toothbrush over their teeth and cleaning their pearly whites.

Since you’ve done the work to get your furry friend in the habit of dental hygiene, they’ll now be more amenable and used to you brushing their teeth and keeping their mouth healthy and clean. They may even thank you with prolific purring.

Clean teeth deserve a reward.

You should be proud of yourself and your cat. Not a lot of people think about brushing their cat’s teeth, and pay for it down the line with big vet bills and a painful mouth for Kitty. Join the Paw Points® Rewards program, and you’ll quickly earn enough points to redeem for a fun toy — or entries to our amazing, ever-changing sweepstakes. And that calls for a nice, big smile.

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