My cat (9yrs old) will absolutely not allow me to brush his teeth; not even a consideration for him. He'd bite my finger off before I could stick the kitty toothbrush in his mouth. 8O
However he will occasionally chew on the toothbrush for a bit (just a minute or two) on is own, more or less playing with it, if I put something yummy on it and sort of poke at his mouth with it. I don't let him play with it unsupervised though cuz it somehow seems like a good choking shape.... perhaps not, but my opinion. I don't think his occasional chewwing on the kitty tooth brush does much to keep his teeth clean.
My very easy going kitten (9 months old), on the other hand, does allow me to brush his teeth. Not for very long, but long enough to go over all of his teeth fairly thouroghly. When I first adopted him and took him to be vetted by my vet, she strongly encouraged me to brush his teeth to ease the pain of new teeth erupting and to teach him early on not to fear brushing of his teeth, explaining, as most of us know, how gum disease is a strong source of health problems in aging cats.
I bought a few "cat toothbrushes" from a local pet store (I've seen them at major pet stores and online) that is like a little "finger glove"; it fits over the tip of your finger, past the first joint, and is thick enough to somewhat protect your finger(tip) from when they bite down on the toothbrush (sometimes they like to mash their teeth against it).
It definitely accomplishes the job of cleaning their teeth, but only for the cats who are willing to have their teeth brushed. 8O
Good grief...I really need to try again, but the first time I did, it seemed like there was no way they'd let me. My problem is that I need to find a toothpaste that they like, but all the stores around here carry them same thing! :?
Tooth brushing is the best way to prevent gingivitis. Did you know that 75% of cats over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease? Brushing your cat's teeth helps slow the process.
It is also wise to get a dental cleaning when your veterinarian advises it. This may be every 2-6 years depending on your cat's genetics. My cat Levi needs a dental cleaning every year as well as teeth pulled, even though I brush every day. He just has horrible genes. Lucas, on the other hand, is three years old and still has pristine white teeth.
I brush their teeth every day. With kitty toothbrushes, but I got a tip that soft human kids' ones are great too, so I'm planning to try that. And brush them VERY gently, as their gums are much more tender than humans'. They're in my lap, back to me, head tilted all the way up in left hand, brush in the other hand.