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What's a good way to introduce a toothbrush to an adult cat?
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What's a good way to introduce a toothbrush to an adult cat?

No one ever brushed the cat's teeth when she was a kitten, so she isn't used to anyone messing with her mouth.  She is good about cooperating with me when I give her her allergy medicine before I feed her.  She tries to pull away, but she is still really good about it.  She clearly understands I am only trying to help her, even if she doesn't like it.  Her vet said I need to do this.  I agree.  Kitty has tartar and bad breath.  She is approximately seven years old, too.
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1212795 tn?1266238517
for god sake !
i have 9 cats.. 7 persians nad 2 turkish and i never have done this for them !! and they are perfectly normal !
but still i am interested to know what's the answer to your question !
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685623 tn?1283485207
Let's start with the basics...

Food, saliva, immune cells, and bacteria all work together and form the matrix that we know as plaque.  If not disrupted on the tooth's surface (by brushing or some sort of mechanical removal) plaque will eventually organize and form calculus (tartar).  The tartar actually helps to protect the bacteria that form more plaque and will work their way under the gum line and eventually work on weakening the bone that holds the teeth in place and even the jaw bone itself in severe cases.

It takes plaque about 48-72 hours to organize and minerlize into tartar, so that's why veterinarians recommend daily brushing of your pet's teeth.  Other things you can do include using a dental type of diet for your pet, using approved treats (like Greenies for Cats) or using water additives and/or sealants to help protect the teeth.

Some pets (through genetics or for yet unknown reasons) seem to produce plaque more slowly and will not develop dental disease as quickly.  Others seem to be prone to problems (example, many schnauzers have terrible dental disease).

In either event, the very first step is to have your cat's teeth professionally cleaned.  Your veterinarian can remove the tarter, clean under the gumline and then polish the teeth in order to help minimize the attachment points for the plaque bacteria.  Also, many veterinarian use a barrier sealant to actually help repel the bacteria.

As far as at home care, you can try to start with a small gauze square wrapped around your finger and dipped in something tasty, like tuna juice.  Allow your kitty to lick this and slowly work your finger along the cheek surfaces of her teeth.  It really only takes a minute or two to disrupt the plaque, so you don't need to spend a long time and stress her out.  After a week or so of using your finger with gauze, you can try a small toothbrush (soft bristles only) or a finger brush available at your veterinarian.  Again, use the tuna juice as enticement.  After another week or so, you can try graduating to a pet dentifrice (never use human toothpaste).

If your veterinarian has applied the barrier sealant after her cleaning, you can follow up with the sealant once weekly at home.

I hope this helps...I think it's great that you are taking such an interest in your pet's health.   More than 85% of all dogs and cats have some sort of dental disease.  What's worse is that 42% of cats that have normal looking mouths actually have dental disease that you can't see under the gumline.
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681148 tn?1437665191
Ah, now this would make buying a can of chicken broth worthwhile.  I don't keep that stuff in the house, but I could do it for the cat.
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541150 tn?1306037443
So..how is the task of brushing kitty's teeth going so far?
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681148 tn?1437665191
I still need to get some supplies.  Due to my own health issues, I haven't been able to get to the store to get them.  I will as soon as I am physically able.  I'm in the middle of a major fibro flare.
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740516 tn?1360946086
Hey ,this  really interest me - keep posting!
In fact I posted about once, Loreena was in the learning process when she got pregnant and I had to postpone the stuff.
She was accepting the brush but hated that cheap feline paste mint flavour.
Since the meat flavour one is big and a lot expensive I couldnt try that yet.
I brush kittens ones with a wet Qtip when I have time, for they get used to

Dr Thomas, is it ok using bicarbonate or something like that?
For Loreena,I mean,not for the kids...
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681148 tn?1437665191
The kitty loves the C.E.T. chicken flavored toothpaste.  The only trick I need to figure out how to get her to get her to give me a chance to get those back teeth a little bit better.  Silly thing goes nuts for that toothpaste and attacks the fingertip toothbrush like there is no tomorrow.  She is definitely not getting stressed out over getting her teeth brushed. LOL  She is having fun with it.
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685623 tn?1283485207
I am not sure how bicarbonate would affect a cat...I would probably avoid it, especially if it becomes really foamy.

Glad to hear that the cat is liking the toothpaste.   Don't worry terribly about being perfect on the back teeth...the action of her saliva and her tongue will help to cover those areas.
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