As crazy as it sounds, cats need to have good oral hygiene, just like humans. When cats were in the wild, they were able to keep their teeth clean from eating meat and bones. But if you have a house cat, they may not be doing as much hunting or eating out as their ancestors might have before. If you have an older cat, this might be a chore. But if you have a kitten, this process can be easy for you, and relaxing or fun for them.
Some of the most common issues or problems with your cat’s dental health are attributed to genetics (such as breed, immune system health), diet, age and poor maintenance of your cat’s teeth. But remember, that every cat is different, and that plaque control techniques should meet the needs of each individual cat.
Wet Food only diets can also contribute to feline dental issues. Wet food has a tendency to stick and stay on teeth, creating plaque and tartar buildup. This can destroy your cat’s teeth. A good way to battle this is to introduce kibble into their eating routine. The kibble will help to reduce some of the plaque and tartar due to the fact that it has a rough, hard texture. The kibble’s rough, hard texture serves as an intermediate cleaning tool between regular cleanings and trips to the veterinarian.
There are multiple indicators of dental problems in cats. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Decreased Interest in Food
- Increased Salivation
- Sensitivity Around the Mouth
- Yellowing Teeth
- Continual Bad Breath
If your cat displays any of the following, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Poor dental health can also be a sign of a more serious disease such as diabetes, which is why it’s important to visit with your vet as soon as you notice a change.
The best way to prevent and fight dental issues is to have a good cleaning routine. If you have a kitten, this is a great time to start training them to start familiarizing them with the teeth cleaning process. As you play with your kitten, spend some time sticking a finger on their gums and gently massaging. Some tasty treats following a successful cleaning will positively reinforce the experience. In their early months, this might even get them to fall asleep and become a great comforting event. As kittens get older and their adult teeth begin to grow in, introduce a toothbrush (either a finger brush or standard pet toothbrush). Cats are intelligent creatures, so keeping treats nearby will help keep them distracted and incentivized during cleaning.
If you have an older cat, a better strategy would be to provide them with dental treats.
The main thing you need to remember is that regular veterinarian visits are the only way to assist and prevent in fighting dental disease.
Don’t forget to check out our Dog Dental Care Blog!
The information given is meant to be helpful and/or education. It is, in no way intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Last Updated on February 21, 2018 by Lauren Murphree