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Hi,

I was recently on several web sites that describe and explain how to brush a cats teeth. I also looked at videos on how the whole thing is done. It dosn't look too obvious to perform, to say the least...

I have a few cats (Chipcat-Filou, Elphin, Rasta, Gino and Airell), who I think would be co operative enough to allow me to do this to them.
Yet, with some of my other cats (Katla, Stibule, Tonali), this would be quite impossible, considering their caracter...

My question is: Do any of you brush your cat's teeth? What products do you use? Which would you recommend? What is your experience with this? (both positive and negative), do you have any first hand advice on how to start brushing adult cat's teeth when they never had this done before!

I don't think I have been willingly negligent concerning this matter, I simply did not know the importance of it until I came across some newsletters and other subjects of this discussion.

As a child, we always had cats, both indoor and barn cats, but we never brushed their teeth! Back then, things were very different...

Since it's never too late to get into good habits... I would like to start today!

From what I understand of what I read on the internet, this is a good preventive measure to take to avoid costly dental surgery and painfull treatments.

Any advice would be greatly welcomed!

sandyrivers
 

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We brush our cats' teeth :) Both were adult when we started (one was over 1 year, the other was over 2 years). They now come running when they hear their dental drawer opening :mrgreen:

We used über-high-value (to our cats, YMMV) freeze-dried meat treats for rewards; if you give treats routinely, keep the "best" ones exclusive to toothbrushing for best results. We took one small step at a time until they were comfortable enough to move on to the next: rewarded for sniffing the toothbrush, licking the toothpaste, being held and having the toothbrush (with paste) pressed against their canines, having their canines brushed, canines + upper premolars and molars brushed, and finally all teeth brushed. We were rather generous with rewards at first, cutting back as they mastered each step.

You should only need to reward at the end of the current sequence... the first day ours got a reward for sniffing the brush, the next couple days they had to lick the toothpaste for a treat, the next day was for canine contact, etc. Now ours only get a treat after all their teeth are brushed.

(In case you're wondering, we ended up not having to fuss over their incisors; they both took to rubbing against and biting the brush with their incisors on their own ;) But you could add a couple 'incisor' steps in there if you need to.)

You'll have to gauge your own cats' reactions; they won't all progress at the same rate! If one's having a bad day, back up a step with them. Make sure each cat leaves each day's attempt on a high note, don't push them too fast. The idea is to convince them that having their teeth brushed is The Best Thing Ever... or at the very least will end with The Best Thing Ever if they cooperate, and of course that the whole thing is their brilliant idea :mrgreen: If they get frustrated, it won't go well...

Up to brushing their canines was quite easy for ours; I think I actually moved a bit slower than I could have. Getting them to stay still for their back teeth took a bit longer, but still not too bad, just a little squirming. The canines and incisors are easily accessible, getting to the back teeth will take a bit of practice on your part, so take your time and be happy with minimal progression each day.

I hold ours in my lap, facing away from me, with my left hand under their jaw (using my thumb or forefinger to push lips out of the way), and holding the brush in my right hand (I'm right-handed). If you (or they) are not comfortable with a somewhat restrictive hold, you might try practicing just holding them in a comfortable position (and rewarding them for patience, of course!) before you actually try to make contact with their teeth. Ours prefer a snug hold; if yours don't like being restrained at all you could try having them beside you, instead of tucked into your lap.

I don't really think this needs to be said, but I'm going to say it anyway: make sure you're using a toothpaste specifically sold for cats! Human toothpaste is an absolute no-go; some sold for dogs might be OK, but check the ingredients (dogs can handle ingesting some things that cats can't). Remember cats won't spit like we do, so be very cautious with the 'homemade toothpaste' recipes for humans, too; assume they'll swallow whatever you use. Most of the benefit will come from the mechanical action of brushing anyway, so even using plain water is an option. You could even add a touch of tuna water, for the very fussy :roll: We've used toothpaste from Beaphar, and another from Petosan; not sure if you have those brands where you are, though.

I'd recommend using an actual toothbrush right from the get-go, not a silicone one (either on your finger or the ones sold for babies). At first, we started with one of those silicone finger brushes, but they're just too big for both my finger and our cats' mouths; once we switched to an actual toothbrush it was much easier all around. I found a small, soft-bristled children's toothbrush very easy to handle. Alternatively, the small round brushes made for cleaning behind (human) molars and around oral appliances are also easy to use (use the 'soft' or 'ultrasoft' bristles). Most of the pet toothbrushes we've found are either too big, or cost more than human brushes 8-O

ETA: almost forgot... wear a shirt you don't really care about when brushing their teeth. No matter how careful I am, I ALWAYS seem to get a bit of toothpaste and/or drool on my shirt! And I can tell you from experience that 'enzymatic' toothpastes can bleach fabric :wink:
 

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I brush my cats teeth everyday. However, I don't have any training experience to share. My cats are mellow and let me do literally anything to them. So I skipped all the training and start brushing immediately. They weren't happy at beginning, but let me do my job. Now they are used to it.

However, I do want to remind ppl that when you are brushing your cats teeth, pay extra attention to the largest pair of morlar at the very back of cats mouth. They are hidden deep and not so easy to reach, so might be missed by many owners. I, for one, didn't brush that deep for a year. At this years annual checkup, when the vet pry open my cats mouth, we can clearly see that all other teeth are sparkling white but half of those molars are yellow with quite a bit tartar. Took me a month to get rid of those. But now I make sure all teeth are properly brushed.

PS: I never hold my cats in my arms when I brush them. I usually do it on the floor or cat tree, wherever my cats are. They never drool and there is no toothpaste dripping.
 

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Hi,

Wow! Thank you for the advice.

I got each of my cats a toothbrush... the lady at the pharmacy gave me an odd look, as I baught 8 baby size toothbrushes!

I am taking things slowly, but I can say that my cats were very intrigued by the toothbrushes.
Especially since I was holding and playing with the toothbrushes and pretending they were MINE, and not really for them... reversed psychology works sometimes!
Everyone came to see what these new 'toys' were, and I just let them have a look and a smell at them, and then quickly put them away...

So slowly but surely, I will introduce them to their very own toothbrush.

I know this will be very easy with some of my cats...Chipcat-Filou will practically open up and say ahhhh if I ask her! As well as Elphin and Rasta. But Stibule, Tonali and Katla will be a bit harder to manage... Not sure yet about Gino and Airell.

I am sure that with time and a lot of patience, I will eventtually be able to brush their teeth.
It will take them and me to get use to the whole procedure, but slowly we will get there!

sandyrivers
 

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Hi,

Just wanted to mention that for the first brushings , I will not be using any cat toothpaste.

As I will be slowly introducing them to the tooth brushes themselves...

When they will be ok with me playing in their mouth, I will then add specially formulated cat toothpaste.

sandyrivers
 

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All online tutorial says introducing the toothpaste first, then toothbrush. Give them some paste on your finger and let them lick it, then rub the paste on their teeth with your finger. The final step is to apply paste with toothbrush. But I guess if introducing toothbrush first works better for your cats, then no need to follow books :)
 
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