6 Tips for Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

We all know that brushing your cat’s teeth can be strenuous for you and for your little friend. You should brush your cat’s teeth every day, or at least once a week. Cat’s mouths’ can have many of the same dental issues as humans, including gingivitis, oral cancer, and more. Brushing can help keep these more serious problems at bay, saving you time, money, and pain for kitty. The following tips should make brush time easier and could even make it fun for you and your fluffy pal.

Red tabby cat sleeping isolated on white background.1. Make them comfortable: As with any cat-related task, it will be much easier if you approach your kitty when they are already at ease. Sit on your favorite chair and pet your cat until they are calm and comfortable with you. Sometimes catnip can help calm a kitty, so if your feline is known to relax on the nip, don’t hesitate to give them some. As with clipping nails, cat owners know that the only way to do this efficiently and without scratches is to approach the cat only when they are already in a calm mood. If you start and make kitty so angry that they are in distress, take a break and try again another time.

Another helpful way to keep kitty calm is to swaddle them, or hold them in a blanket so that their limbs aren’t exposed. You want to wrap them tight enough that they can’t hurt you, but loose enough that they’re not getting hurt themselves.

2. Use cat-friendly tools: You should only use toothbrushes and toothpastes specifically designed for cats. You should never use human dental products on your cat. You can purchase these tools at almost any pet-supply store, but if you’re not sure, consult your veterinarian for the best resources. They may even sell products in the veterinarian’s office, saving you a whole step.

maine coon cat and toothbrush in studio3. Let them get used to the taste: Let your kitty taste their cat-friendly toothpaste. Many of these toothpastes offer cat-friendly flavors. If you allow Fluffy to enjoy the taste on their own, they may not put up as big of a fuss when you begin to brush. You may want to try different brands to see which brand brings the least amount of fuss from your feline.

4. Brush gently yet effectively: The best way to get through brushing your cat’s teeth is to be gentle and get all the right spots. Lift up your kitty’s lips and gently brush the cheek-side of the teeth, as most cats won’t allow you to brush the inside of their teeth. Make sure to get in the back near the molars, as this is a common place for plaque to build up. Even though it may seem tedious and your cat may fuss, taking these short-term precautions will save you time and money in the future, and possibly elongate your pet’s life.

Close-up of a veterinarian holding a cat isolated on white5. Take your kitty to have a professional cleaning: Cats should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. If your feline is too fussy to do this at home, you may want to consider taking them for a professional cleaning every few months. With regular brushing, you can remove plaque from your kitty’s teeth. Plaque collects on human and kitty teeth each day, and can be easily removed with regular brushing. Tartar, however, must be removed by a professional. Tartar is the hard, yellowish substance that builds up due to mineral deposits in saliva. Both plaque and tartar can cause an array of oral issues, including cavities, gingivitis, and other problems down the road.

6. Reward them: If your cat is food-motivated, a nice treat after the trauma of toothbrushing will make them forget all about it, and could possibly help them associate the act with getting a treat afterwards. Other forms of rewards are petting, playtime, catnip, and whatever else you know makes your cat happy.

Brushing your cat’s teeth and clipping their nails are necessary procedures to do in order to keep your cat healthy, happy, and feeling good. The best way to get these tasks done efficiently and quickly is by being in-tune with your cat’s moods and temperament. No cat is too feisty for fresh breath, so be patient, and keep at it!