It doesn’t matter if you have a crossbreed or a pedigree cat, you need to look after their teeth on a daily basis. It’s thought that around eight out of ten cats suffer from tooth and gum problems by the time they’re three, but since they can’t tell you they’re in pain you need to look for the signs.
You might notice that they’re struggling to eat properly, they’re drooling, have smelly breath, they’re pawing at their mouth or their gums are bleeding. Your vet will be able to take a closer look and they might recommend that your cat has some teeth removed if they’re in a bad state. Tooth extractions can cost hundreds of pounds and aren’t covered on most pet insurance policies.
Prevention is better than cure
If you start caring for your cat’s teeth now, you should reduce their chances of needing teeth removed in the future. Feeding your cat a good quality, dry cat food should help prevent plaque and tartar build up. Wet food doesn’t encourage chewing and provides no abrasive action against their teeth so it isn’t as good at preventing plaque and tartar build up. If you don’t want to switch from wet food, why not mix in a small amount of dry food?
You can also buy toothbrushes and toothpaste that has been specially designed for cats. Your cat should like the taste of the toothpaste and you don’t need to be worried about rinsing their mouth afterwards. You should never use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride which is toxic to cats.
The younger your cat is, the easier you should find it is to get them used to having their teeth brushed. Even if your cat objects at first, keep trying, it’s for the good of their health after all. Be wary though if it looks like your cat is going to retaliate, you don’t want to get bitten (if this happens you must make an appointment with your doctor straight away for treatment). You can always add Virbac’s Vet Aquadent (or a similar product) to their water to help fight dental plaque if brushing their teeth is a no-go.