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Many cat owners wonder if they should let their cat outside to roam free and explore. There are some concerns that cats may be bored indoors or aren’t getting enough sun exposure, or maybe they aren’t making any friends. But, there are also the dangers of letting your cat outdoors, such as animal attacks or unwanted pests crawling into your feline’s fur. In fact, most vets and the ASPCA strongly recommend keeping your cat indoors. Here are some good reasons why — and some ways to keep Kitty entertained in her palace.

Outdoor risks and common fears.

Cars: Although cats have great instincts and do their best to avoid cars, cars can sometimes come out of nowhere, and can be potentially fatal if your cat comes into contact with a vehicle.

People: Not everyone reveres cats as much as we do. Keep Kitty indoors — and safe from being a target of mean people.

Animal attacks and attacking animals: Cats, even well-fed ones, are prone to enjoy hunting birds and small animals. While it may seem harmless, loose cats kill millions of birds each year. Plus, cats may contract diseases from the birds or rats that they hunt.

Conversely, although felines are generally great hunters with great instincts, they’re also susceptible to being hunted. Cats are commonly attacked by dogs and wild animals, such as coyotes, foxes and other local predators (depending on your neighborhood). Little kitties can sustain serious injuries — or worse.

Diseases and poisons: Heads up: The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S., and that many of these cats carry diseases that could be passed onto your cat if they come into contact with each other.

Another risk to keep in mind is that outdoor cats may be prone to accidentally drinking poisonous fluids, such as gasoline, antifreeze or rat poison.

Parasites: There are also several, non-life-threatening parasites that your cat may pick up while exploring the outdoors, including — ugh — fleas, ticks, ear mites, ringworms and more. These awful bugs can be hard to get rid of, and may even creep into your home if they jump onto the sofa or carpet.

Ways to keep your outdoor cat safe.

If you really, really believe Kitty needs some outdoor time, try these ideas:

Ways to engage your indoor cat.

If you’ve decided to keep your cat indoors, but want them to reap some of the benefits of being an outdoors cat, here are some ideas to engage your kitty.

Friends for your feline.

You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may only be adopted with their brother, sister or companion. That’s because many cats — but not all — enjoy having a buddy. Playing, chasing and snuggling are all crucial to your cat’s need for exercise and love. Though you may be giving them tons of human love, it could be beneficial for your cat to play with other animals, too. This is much easier to do when your cat is still a kitten. Dig into our recommendations on how to introduce cats to other cats and to dogs.

Toys and scratching posts.

Allowing your cat to play with a variety of toys keeps them physically and mentally stimulated.

Like children, cats will get excited anytime they receive a new toy. Instead of constantly buying new toys, consider doing a toy rotation where you put some toys out for a few days while concealing other toys for those few days. When your cat eventually tires of her toys, you can swap the ones you concealed for the ones strewn around the house, so the toys feel brand new once more. See our recommendation for great toys for cats and how to DIY exciting toys.

In addition to playing, cats also have the natural instinct to scratch surfaces and sharpen their claws. Scratching posts are a great way for cats to have an appropriate place for them to stretch their claws. Consider having several types of cat scratchers strewn throughout your house, so your cat has options (ones that don’t include your furniture).

Making the perfect playground.

Instead of letting your cat outdoors to find their playground, try creating one indoors. You can arrange your shelves or cabinets for your cat to play on, or you can hop over to your local pet supplier to buy a cat tree. There are even DIY sites that walk you step by step through how to make your own cat tree at home.

If you don’t have enough space in your home for a cat tree, you can also create a hiding space for them with little to no money since cats love hiding in anything and everything that you bring home. Whether it’s a paper grocery bag or a shoe box from your latest splurge, let your kitty play around with cheap materials. You’ll be amazed at what will hold her attention and what he’ll find amusing by using only his imagination.

Does your cat need a new hiding place?                                           

Join the Paw Points® Reward Program, and earn enough points to score rewards like a FREE leopard kitty camper lined with soft microfleece for a cozy hideaway. Check out the Paw Points® catalog to find other rewards that will make your cat purr with joy.

If you just adopted a little kitten or an adult cat (good for you on both scores!), you might be wondering about her behavior at a certain age. Is this normal? Should she have more or less energy? How long do I have to spend with my feline favorite? While every cat is unique — that’s part of why we love them — there are six pretty common stages to a cat’s exciting life.

Kitten (0­–6 months)

Newborn cats are actually called babycats. They’re born with their eyes and ears sealed shut. Babycats will begin to open their eyes at about 7–14 days, and their little ears will open very shortly after. Like a human baby’s, their eyes will be blue for a little bit, and gradually adjust to be green, yellow or remain blue. Try to resist a kitten at this stage: She or he is irresistibly cute.

This is also the stage where kittens are growing by leaps and bounds both physically and emotionally. It’s important to handle them a lot so they get used to it and love it. It’s also a great stage to introduce them to other cats and dogs, and to get them used to brushing, nail clipping, and yes, even brushing their teeth.

Right around three months, Kitty’s baby teeth will begin to fall out and her adult teeth will come in. So don’t be alarmed if Kitty is chewing a lot, or you find a spot of blood on her toys. This is normal.

You’ll find that while Kitty has insane bursts of energy and is extremely playful, she’s also snoozing a lot. That’s because her little body is working hard at growing — and it’s exhausting. Until about six months of age, Kitty will be in dreamland up to 16–20 hours a day. But don’t worry; she’ll be up and ready for action as soon as you fall asleep.

Junior (6 months–2 years)

Kitty is really feeling herself and exploring the world at this age. She’s still growing, and she might be showing some aggression, both with you and other cats. Remember, she’s still learning how to be a cat. And part of that is becoming territorial. When she gets a little EXTRA, try to engage her in fun and exciting playtime. Also, still irresistibly cute.

Prime (3–6 years)

Ah, yes. This is Kitty at her absolute finest. She’s grown into her adult body, she has tons of energy but also still sleeps a lot, though less than when she was a baby. She is both snuggly and cuddly and a rip-roaring ball of fire. It’s important to have dedicated play sessions with her (see our article about how to play with your cat at least twice a day. And even though Kitty’s having the time of her life, she still needs to go to the vet for regular visits to make sure she’s in tip-top shape.

Mature (7–10 years)

Kitty is all grown up — and calmed down. She’s gotten her ya-yas out and is a lovely companion who knows what she likes and doesn’t. But this is also the stage where she might put on a little weight. After all, she is the equivalent of being in her 40s and 50s. So it’s important to keep an eye on her diet at this stage, and keep engaging her in exercising playtime.

Senior (10–14 years)

Kitty has seen some stuff. After all, she is the equivalent of 70 years old at this point. She tends to start sleeping more, and loves to cuddle up with you. Cherish her.

Geriatric (15 years and over)

Kitty is an elder stateswoman at this point. She’s sleeping a lot, and may be experiencing some medical issues. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on her litterbox to notice changes in peeing and pooping. Incidentally, the oldest cat ever, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records, was a sweet kitters from Austin, Texas named Crème Puff, who lived 38 years and 3 days.

Rewards for every stage of life

You’ll be going through a lot of litter during your kitty’s fabulous life. Why not be rewarded when you purchase your cat’s favorite? Join the Fresh Step® Paw Points® program, and earn points for every purchase. You can then redeem points for free litter, coupons, and toys that will get Kitty playing whether she’s a kitten or a revered oldster.

Dogs and cats, living together.

Bringing a new kitty into your home is a great thing. You’re saving a life (you adopted, right?), and you're filling your home with even more love. But how do you make sure that Fluffy and Fido will tolerate each other — let alone become best buddies?

Give Kitty her own space.

Remember that when you first bring a new cat home, she won’t just be acclimating to a dog — she’ll be acclimating to a whole new home. Unless she’s a very confident critter, she’s likely to be a little freaked out. So enclosing her in a quiet bedroom or bathroom with food, water, toys and a bed for a few days is a good idea. Make sure to visit her often and give her lots of loving attention.

Swapping scents.

This part of the process is the same as introducing a cat to another cat. Give the dog a soft blankie the cat has been sleeping on and vice versa. That lets your furry companions get to know each other through smells. Take at least a day to do this.

Make the first introduction a quick one.

When it’s time for the big reveal, first make sure you have the dog on a leash. If the dog chases the cat, he’ll likely continue in that behavior and the cat will be afraid of your doggo. Worse, if the dog catches the cat, he could do serious injury — even if he just meant to play. Keep Fido on a short leash and let Kitty sniff and walk around the dog, but only for about 10 minutes. Ask Fido to sit and reward him with a tasty treat for calm behavior. Then it’s best to either crate Fido or put Kitty in a bedroom or other safe space. Keep repeating the process every day, increasing the time as the animals get calmer around each other.

Not around? Use the crate.

You can’t supervise your animals all the time. Otherwise, how would you keep them in Fresh Step® litter? Until you’re absolutely sure the animals are comfortable around each other, make sure you either crate the dog or put the cat in her safe space when you’re not there.  

It’s Jazzercise time!

One key to making sure your cat and dog are calm around each other are to make sure they’re properly exercised. Take Fido on long walks and let him run around, so he’ll be less apt to take his energy out on Kitty. Give Kitty lots of toys and playtime, to make sure she’s more up for snuggles than swats.

Is it time to call in a professional?

If you’ve followed all these steps and Fido and Kitty can’t seem to see eye-to-eye, it may be time to call an animal behaviorist. This person will give you strategies and methods to help the animals bond instead of brawl.

Help you and your cat live your best lives.

Rewards and fun distractions are key to making sure cats and dogs can live together in harmony. Join the Paw Points® Rewards program, and start earning points for buying your cat’s favorite litter. Redeem those points for engaging, fun toys that will help Kitty feel comfortable and happy in her new home.

What exactly is catnip?

Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is one of 250 species of mint.1

Why does it make one of my cats crazy and not even affect my other cat?

The essential oil in catnip can turn one lazy cat into one crazy cat only if the cat has inherited sensitivity to catnip’s effects. This trait doesn’t emerge until a cat is around three to six months old.1

Catnip sensitivity is hereditary and it’s estimated that approximately half of cats have no reaction, while the other half are highly affected by catnip.1

Why exactly is my cat crazy for catnip?

When cats who are affected by catnip get a whiff of it, the scent targets the “happy” receptors in a cat’s brain. However, when a cat eats the catnip, it tends to have the opposite effect. The catnip acts as a sedative and the cat will often mellow out, roll around, flip, rub themselves on furniture, or zone out, and some cats may even get aggressive and growl or meow.

Either way, these moods often last about 10 minutes, after which the cat will reset and become their normal, furry selves again.2 The cat won’t have another reaction to more catnip until about 30 minutes after they’ve had their initial dose of catnip.3

Does catnip get my kitty high?

Yes, in a way. The main ingredient in catnip is a stimulant that produces a “high” that, for your cat, is similar to either marijuana or LSD.2 This is why he looks like he’s in a trance after eating or sniffing catnip.

Can my cat overdose on catnip?

Although cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, they can get sick and have diarrhea or vomit from eating too much of it — whether that means they’ve consumed all of the catnip hidden in their toys, or too much catnip oil is rubbed onto them.2

Trust your cat to know when she’s had enough, and be mindful of how much catnip you feed her, too. After all, catnip is meant to be a treat, so be sure to only give her catnip in limited doses, not as her regular meals.

So, is catnip safe to feed my cat?

Yes, catnip has been proven safe for cats. In fact, people used to use catnip to brew tea and soothe upset stomachs (catnip doesn’t affect people the way it affects cats).4 Catnip isn’t toxic or addictive, and it can be used as a reward or training aid.

Although, again, be mindful of how much catnip you’re giving your cat since, as mentioned above, excessive amounts may cause your cat to get sick, and maybe even have short spells of diarrhea or vomiting.1 Try not to indulge them more than every two or three weeks.2

Plus, if you give your cat too much catnip, his body may acclimate to it, and the exciting effects that it usually gets will wear off over time. If you spread out how often your cat receives catnip, he’ll still reap the benefits of it.

Should I put catnip in my cat’s food?

No. It’s best to save catnip to rub onto scratching posts, stuff into their toys, or sprinkle it into a new bed so she can adjust to a new environment.

Although catnip is available in spray forms, we’d recommend using the dry type that’s often found in a package. Plus, it’s always fun to shake the package and see how your cat reacts — she’s likely to get very excited!

Want to keep the treats rolling in?

Join Paw Points® and get your paws on some treats. Use your Paw Points® to get fun treats such as this awesome Catnip Chew Mice & Spin and Scratch. Check out the catalog to see all the fun, irresistible ways to make your cat feel special.


  1. Crazy for catnip. (n.d.). https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/crazy-catnip
  2. Coates J. (n.d.). Does catnip really get your cat high? Facts about your cat’s favorite plant. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jcoates/2011/june/cats_and_catnip-does_it_really_get_them_high_and_why-11271
  3. How does catnip work its magic on cats? (2007). https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats/
  4. Nepeta cataria effects on humans. (n.d.). http://nepetacataria.org/nepeta-cataria-effects-on-humans/

What’s your cat stressed about?

While you’re juggling your bills, finding enough time to go to the gym, food prepping for the week, and staying calm in traffic, your cat is sitting by the window at home twitching her tail. So you may be wondering: What do cats have to worry about? Though your cat doesn’t have to present to her boss or run to the post office before it closes, cats do experience their own kind of stress, which is a result of their anxiety and fear.

Cats can experience stress if there’s a change to their routine, a dirty litter box, new additions to their home, loud music or fireworks, and more. Most cats hide their stress, which may turn into a slew of health issues. Stress can compromise your cat’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to illness, depression, and could even compound and create behavioral issues. But we’re here to tell you how to spot if your cat is stressed — and what to do to make sure she’s back to her calm, happy self.

Signs that your cat may be anxious or stressed:

If you think your cat is stressed, here are some ways to help:

Give Kitty a fresh outlook.

Want to make sure Kitty always has lovely, clean litter? Join the Paw Points® Rewards Program, and score free litter and coupons. Check out the Paw Points® catalog to find other rewards that will make your cat’s new litter box fresher than ever, and minimize the stress in her life. Soon enough, you kitty will be one cool cat indeed.

Just like people, cats get sick, too. And one of the most common ways a kitty gets sick — and luckily, one of the most treatable ways if you catch it early enough — is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).1 A UTI (urinary tract infection (UTI) falls under the category of FLUTD.

As with people, an FLUTD can cause a kitty a lot of pain and discomfort, but often can be quickly fixed with a dose of antibiotics. But how can you tell if your cat is suffering and needs medical attention ASAP? Call a vet immediately if you notice any of the following:1

  1. Kitty is going to the litter box a LOT: A UTI makes her feel like she has to pee again. And again. And again.
  2. Kitty is straining to pee: Your cat might cry out because it hurts so much to pee. If you have a male cat, he might have developed a blockage in the urethra. This can be very bad for Kitty’s health, since those toxins are building up in his little body. Get him to the vet, STAT.
  3. There is blood in Kitty’s pee: Peeing blood is never good, for humans or cats.
  4. Peeing outside the box: Has Kitty suddenly gone free range? It might be that she has to go and can’t make it to the box in time.
  5. Woah, that stinks!: Is Kitty’s pee more pungent than usual? It could be a sign of an underlying UTI.2
  6. Kitty is licking a lot — like, a LOT — down there: Kitty isn’t just doing this for fun. It’s likely she’s trying to self-soothe in the only way she knows how.

Which cats are at risk for a FLUTD?

The answer to this is that a LOT of cats are at risk,1 especially if they’re indoor cats as the SPCA and many vets recommend. Here is the quick answer:

If it’s not a UTI, what could it be?

Even though your cat is showing all the signs of a UTI, it might not be his or her problem. There is a whole host of other issues with the same symptoms, such as:1

Additional conditions could include:3

Because these symptoms have such wide-ranging and potentially fatal causes, any cat that’s in discomfort in the litter box needs to see his friendly neighborhood vet ASAP.

How will the vet diagnose my cat?

Once you bring your cat to the vet, she’ll determine (or try to) the cause of the issue. The tests include things such as: 1

Yes, all this is yucky, but important.

If your cat has a UTI, not only is she in pain — pain which a visit to the vet will help with enormously — but if ignored, a UTI can easily lead to severe kidney problems.4 And that can lead to huge vet bills — or worse, a trip to the rainbow bridge before Kitty’s time.

Learn to recognize these signs. If you spot them, it’s time to call the doctor.

Is Kitty feeling low? Give her a treat.

After a painful UTI episode, Kitty deserves lots of love and treats — and maybe some extra litter.

Join the Paw Points® program, and every purchase will earn you points. You can then redeem those points for free litter, coupons and toys. Because when that UTI is cleared up, Kitty’s going to be back to her usual playful, happy self. Hurrah!


1. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). (n.d.). https://icatcare.org/advice/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease-flutd
2. Urinary tract disease in cats. (2014). http://www.vetstreet.com/care/urinary-tract-disease-in-cats
3. Feline lower urinary tract disease. (n.d.). https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/FLUTD.aspx
4. Common urinary & kidney ailments. (n.d.). https://www.vet.upenn.edu/veterinary-hospitals/ryan-veterinary-hospital/services/comprehensive-urology-care/common-urological-ailments

You’ve heard about reading tea leaves, right? It’s called tasseography, and it’s a method of fortune telling through interpreting patterns in the leaves.

Well, cats are having none of it. They want you to read about the here and now through clues they leave in the litterbox. Felines are notoriously good at hiding when they’re sick. After all, they can’t just tell you. But sometimes you just have to think inside the box.

These signs from the litter box are a good indication that it’s time to call the vet:

  1. Oops, I did it again: Is Kitty continually going outside the box? If you’ve already gone through the steps of cleaning the litter box (she likes a clean box), and using enzyme cleaner to dissuade her from going in the same spot — and still, she persists — it’s a good indication that she might be sick or stressed. Call the vet.
  2. Peeing, the Sequels: Is Kitty repeatedly visiting the box, trying to pee? Worse, have you noticed there’s blood in the pee? This is a strong sign she has a UTI, which are very painful for cats (and humans). She needs a vet’s help immediately.
  3. Off schedule pooping: Cats typically pee a couple times a day and poop once a day. If Kitty is visiting the litter box a lot, or visibly straining when trying to poop, she might be constipated. And if it’s just a mess in there, and Kitty has diarrhea for more than a day, it’s time to call the vet. Her tummy is upset, and she might (ick!) have worms. Basically, any drastic change, either going to the bathroom a lot more or a lot less than usual is cause to call the vet.
  4. Size matters: Fresh Step® clumping litter is a great choice not only because it cleans up easily, but also because it helps you monitor the size of those clumps. If you notice that clumps are smaller than usual, it might indicate that there’s a bladder infection going on. If they’re much larger than usual, and you see Kitty drinking a lot of water, she might be suffering from kidney problems. Again, time for a vet visit.

Sure, you may not be able to perform tasseography and read the future. But with litterography (that’s a term we just made up and we’re going to use it all the time now), you’ll be able to read the litter box clues — and get your faithful furry companion to the vet just as she needs it.

Need more litter than usual? Join the Paw Points® program, and every purchase will earn you points. You can then redeem those points for free litter or coupons. Fresh litter — and good kitty health — for all!

Say hello to your new furry friend.

Wouldn’t it be easy if you could bring home your new cat, introduce him or her to your other cat, have them shake paws, and then they’d all get along? Unfortunately, that’s not an entirely realistic scenario. Cats are extremely territorial creatures, no more so than with other cats. So, what’s the best way to introduce the new cat in town to their fuzzy roommates?

Help them find common ground.

Introducing your pets to each other gradually will minimize the risk of either animal becoming scared or even too aggressive. Your animals may do some initial sniffing or they may just stare at each other. It’s also possible they will simply growl or hiss at each other. Don’t worry — this is also normal. The introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Cats can be territorial, and we’ll discuss what to do if there’s initial conflict between the two animals. Here are three ways to introduce your new cat to your old animal.

1. A space of their own. Your new cat will likely need some time to adjust to you and their new living situation. To help him acclimate without overwhelming him, keep your new cat in a small room with his own litter box, food, water, scratching post, toy and bed for several days to a week. You can separately feed your newcomer and your other pet(s) on opposite sides of the door to this room. This will allow the animals to associate an activity they enjoy, such as eating, with one another’s smells. However, be cautious not to put the food too close to the door, otherwise the cats might get upset by each other. As time goes on, be sure to gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets are able to eat calmly while standing opposite each other with the door in between them. Be sure to spend equal time with your new kitty in his room as you do with your older cat in his room to ward off jealousy.

2. Familiarize each other with their scents. Getting each cat acquainted with the other's scent is a big part of getting them comfortable with each other. Now that you’ve begun the process of getting the animals used to each other’s smells, it’s time to kick that up a notch. Swap their blankets, beds or toys that the animals use. If there are more than two animals in the house, do the same for each animal. Once they all feel comfortable with this step, it’s time to open up the barrier door and let your new cat wander around the space while confining your usual pet(s) to the new cat’s room. You may want to pace the new cat and allow him into one or two new rooms at a time over a few days.

This is another opportunity for the animals to experience each others’ scents without meeting face-to-face quite yet, and it allows the new cat to get to know his new surroundings without the other pet(s) scaring him off or frightening him when he's exploring. You can repeat these exercises several times a day, or whenever you’re home to supervise. If you need to leave the house, place your new cat back in his room and the usual pet(s) back in their respective spaces. If the animals seem calm and collected with these experiences, you may prop open the dividing door to let the animals see each other; again, this is to be done only when you’re around to supervise.

3. The big reveal. If your animals are responding well to the door being propped open, it may be time to introduce your pets to each other gradually, face-to-face. If you’re lucky, the cats may do some sniffing and licking, which means it’s all been a great success. Or they may also sit and stare at each other, or they may growl and hiss at each other and walk away — and hopefully not go on the attack. Again, this is to be expected. This may go on for a few days and then you may break out a toy and find that they’re happily playing together, best friends at last.

If you’re not lucky, your cats may be very stressed and show signs of agitation, such as flattened ears, growling and crouching. To ward off a rumble, you may clap your hands together loudly or throw a pillow or toy to provide a distraction before the agitation turns into a fight. If the cat standoff continues, herd them into separate parts of the house once more to calm them down. The calming down process may take up to 24 hours, so be patient. If your cats have acclimated to each other, then congrats! You’ve successfully integrated your new cat with your old cat and have triumphantly added more fuzzy cuddle time into your life. If the kitties are still circling each other angrily, don’t fret. Follow the next step to continue your bonding process.

Keep calm and bond on.

If your cats are still side-eyeing each other across the room, it’s best to continue repeating steps 1 and 2 until you, and your cats, feel comfortable moving onto step 3. In the meantime, try keeping your previous pet’s routine close to what it was before the new cat on the block arrived, and make sure all the cats have a safe haven to escape to if they’re feeling scared or upset. Don’t ever try to break up a fight by picking one of the cats up, or you might end up as collateral damage. If after a few weeks the cats are still fighting, even after you’ve started the introduction process over again, you may want to consider getting advice from a vet or animal behaviorist.

Want to thank your animals for graciously sharing their space? Join Paw Points® and reward them with toys or something like the Double Diner food dish, so your furry friends can eat together, side by side.

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.