Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Southern California
Yes, you should absolutely care for your cat's teeth. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this!
A cat can get many serious dental diseases that can lead to tooth absorption, loss, or refusal to eat (because the mouth is painful).
Most vets can do dental work on a cat - a full cleaning will probably require sedation, but my 17-year-old (who has multiple health issues including kidney failure) had a full dental cleaning a few months ago and was just fine with the anasthesia. I've made sure she has had regular cleanings all her life - she still has all of her original teeth - has never had to have an extraction - and the vets are always amazed at how healthy her teeth and gums are.
My cat will not tolerate any kind of brushing, so I have to stick with dental cleanings once or twice a year. "Dental" treats and chews are crap - it's like saying a human can clean their teeth by eating crunchy potato chips. The only things that can "naturally" clean a cat's teeth is a true "prey model" raw diet - where they eat small creatures with fur, bones, feathers, etc. that will scrub the teeth while they gnaw and chew.
My vet also applied some kind of gel to my cat's teeth at her last cleaning that is supposed to help keep the teeth clean and healthy. I am supposed to reapply it once a month. My cat doesn't really tolerate this either, but it's over much faster than my attempts to brush!
TL;DR, yes, taking care of your cat's teeth is very, VERY important for their overall health. I'd talk to your vet about a dental checkup and cleaning at your next visit!
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