Do I Need To Brush My Cat's Teeth? by Bonnie Tatton, VT

Cats like us require dental care and daily brushing. The best age to start your cat on a brushing routine is when they are still kittens, however with a little determination and patience we can start brushing teeth at any age.

Do I Need A Special Toothpaste?

You have to purchase special pet toothpaste as human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and can be harmful to your cat. CET (Clean Every Tooth) toothpaste, is the toothpaste we recommend and is available here at North Hill Animal Hospital and comes in a variety of flavors.

Do I Need To Do The Inside Surface of the Teeth?

Thank goodness NO! Plaque and tartar tend to build up more on the outside surface of the teeth. Their tongue removes most of the plaque that builds up on the inside surfaces.

How Often Will I Have to Brush my Cat’s Teeth? 

The best would to clean your cat’s teeth every day. Once you and your cat are comfortable with the brushing it should take less than 2 minutes.

Here are some tips which may be helpful when starting to brush your cat’s teeth.

The first thing you will need to do is find a quiet place in your home and try to pick a time when you are able to take your time and not have to rush. If you have someone that could assist you with holding that may be beneficial. Start off slowly, do right side of the mouth one day then left side the next day until you and your cat are comfortable.

  1. Initially, start brushing with just a little bit of water or tuna juice on a soft bristled handheld toothbrush or finger toothbrush, sometimes a Q-tip may work also. This will help your cat get used to having a toothbrush in his/her mouth before introducing a toothpaste.
  2. Gently pull back lips slightly, you do not have to open their mouth.
  3. Dip your brush into the tuna juice or water and gently move the toothbrush in a backwards and forward motion where the gum meets the tooth. Don’t forget the teeth in the very back.
  4. Once they are used to having this done (which may take several weeks) then you can start to add in the CET.