Just like you, your cat can experience tooth decay, abscesses and gum disease. Unlike you, your cat won’t show any symptoms until the dental problem is serious. The animal hospital uses anesthesia on cats to do a thorough examination and tooth cleaning. Helping your cat have good dental hygiene by brushing it’s teeth daily will prevent your pet from going through the drama of going to the vet. Here is how you can get your cat into the daily habit of brushing. Teaching Your Cat to Brush is Not Going to Happen Who are we kidding? Your cat is not going to brush it’s teeth any more than it will learn to program your Tivo. What you will be doing is gradually and incrementally getting your cat accustomed to you messing around in its mouth. If they come to enjoy the additional attention from you, then that’s a bonus. Be prepared for them to reach a level of just tolerating your actions, which is still effective. Getting Started Talk with your veterinarian about the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your cat. Don’t use the human equivalents. You need a softer brush for your cat and the toothpaste for them is usually fish or some other meat flavored. It’s possible that you could both use the same bacon-flavored toothpaste, but it’s best not to share when it comes to dental hygiene. Your vet can also show you some techniques for brushing your cat’s teeth. Since your vet won’t have their fingers near the sharp, pointy parts of your cat when you do this, they will give you all kinds of advice. Listen carefully, but you’ll end up with your own technique once you and your cat get into the routine. D-Day (Dental hygiene day) For the first few days you’ll need: a bowl of slightly warm water a finger (your choice) a box of bandages (possibly for your finger) an infinite amount of patience 1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your cat on your lap. If they aren’t a lap cat, put them on a table or counter where you can stand next to them. 2. Dip your finger into the warm water and slowly place it in your cat’s mouth and massage their teeth and gums gently. This sounds simple, but may not be so in practice. If it doesn’t work the first time, break it down into even smaller steps: Bring your finger in front of their mouth – They might think you’re playing with them. Put your finger into their mouth – Remember those sharp, pointy things. Massage their teeth and gums gently – A totally...

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