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Unread 07-31-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dental Hygene

Hello,

I am a first time cat owner, and I am wondering about dental care for cats.
Do the Greenies work well for dental care? Should I attempt to brush my cats teeth? If so, how often? And what products do you recommend to use?
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Unread 07-31-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Stay away from greenies. You can learn to brush your cat's teeth and your cat can learn to tolerate it. You want to use an enzymatic toothpaste such as c.e.t. made by Virbac. Most pet store toothpastes are useless and a waste of your money you need an enzymatic paste, that will break down bacteria.

This is how I trained my cats to teeth brushing, I do it nightly with the c.e.t. poultry flavor (there are two other flavors to choose from)

I started by just getting them used to me rubbing my finger lightly along their lip line, either side. Most cats like this any way. (if you are planning to use a brush, you might start this with the brush. I have always just used my finger)

While doing this, I was putting the c.e.t. toothpaste on a paw for them to lick off, and get used to the taste. (they actually like it!)

This helps them associate the finger (or brush) rubbing along the mouth with the taste of the c.e.t.

Then, I started making the action more purposeful, putting them in the holding position, which is: me on my knees, feet crossed behind me, cat between my knees facing out.

Using a little more pressure which parts the lips, I'd be rubbing their teeth and gums instead of the lips, while they get used to me restraining them while doing it. After the action, again, putting a little paste on the paw.

So now they are associating the holding and rubbing action with the taste of the c.e.t.

From there, I put the c.e.t. toothpaste on my finger, (or brush if you are using a brush)hold them in position, and rub it into their teeth and gums.

This was a bit messy, so lately I've learned to use my other hand to kind of pry open the lips so I can make direct contact with the molars and gumline.

All this took time of course, but cats can get used to any sort of handling if it's done gradually and gently enough.


Oh,I forgot to mention..I always wash my hands before starting and between each cat.

Welcome to the forum, and welcome to the wonderful world of living with cats!
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Unread 07-31-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Oh wow thank you for the advice! This sounds wonderful, because I want to make sure my cat is as healthy as can be.

Last night, Moses was being super sleepy and I managed to trim his nails for the first time. I've only had him for 3 days, so I wanted to let him get used to me, so that he wouldn't hate me right away from the nail trim. I applied those plastic nail covers after the nail trim, because he pretty much claws at everything, but I'm actually not sure if they are the best thing for cats. They don't seem to bother him though.

I am hoping that if I brush his teeth he will be in that sleepy stage, where I can do more with him than he will usually allow.
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You're welcome! The soft paws really aren't a long term solution.

The best thing to do is to make sure Moses has his own furniture for scratching and teach him to use it.

That's great that he is allowing you to trim his claws already, and it bodes well for the dental care routine being a success.

Get or build Moses and good sturdy cat tree. It should be at least three feet high (the taller the better) so he can stretch out his full length to scratch on it. When you catch him scratching on the couch, gently pick him up and take him to his OWN furniture and move his paws in a scratching motion on that.

In addition, cats are the original copy cats, so if you yourself scratch on his furniture, he will want to copy you and do it too.

Establish an Interactive Game time routine right away.

Every day or evening at the same time devote at least a half an hour to just playing with Moses. Try all sorts of Games and toys when you do this, he will let you know what he likes and what he wants you to do, just pay close attention to his body language and facial expressions.

You can start the session with a short grooming time, combing/brushing him every day will help keep hairballs and shedding to a minimum.

Doing this at the same time each day, he will soon look forward to it and expect it. Cats thrive on routine. Knowing he is going to have this special Bonding time with you every day, after you brush your teeth or turn off he kitchen light or whatever, will go a long way toward keeping him happy and healthy and mentally stimulated.

If you want ideas on Games to play with him I will be happy to share some. How old is Moses? What is his history?
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Moses is about 4 months old. I forgot to ask about his exact birthday when I adopted him from a lady who was fostering a bunch of cats from two different litters. He is not neutered yet, so that is something I am going to do pretty soon. I just haven't figured out where I want to take him yet. I thought I could sign up for the Banfield $200. deal where they neuter and vaccinate him.

Oh another thing is that I have had that plug thing with the phenols since I brought him home, since I didn't want him to stress out too much. I am not sure how he will behave if it is not on, but by the same token it is only in the bedroom.

I am currently feeding him some random Friskies seafood mix since that's what he was eating before I got him, and I'm gradually switching over to "Taste of the Wild."

He has a cat tree that he has used a few times, I just haven't purchased treats to reward him. I'm not sure what the best treats are or if cats should even receive treats. It sounds a bit more like a dog thing.
He has 4 toys, and the funny thing is that he was afraid of the foofoo thing on the end of a stick, then he got used to it and started playing with it (even while on his back), then he was frightened of the foofoo thing again later on.
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Quote:
I am currently feeding him some random Friskies seafood mix since that's what he was eating before I got him, and I'm gradually switching over to "Taste of the Wild."

I'm a little confused here, in another thread you said you are feeding Blue Buffalo.

A Feliway plug in diffuser is a good idea. I recommend you leave it plugged in for three weeks, then unplug it. Wait a week and see if you notice any differences in his behavior. If he seems to be settling in well, put the cap on it and save it for some potentially stressful situation down the road. If you notice any new signs of stress or anxiety, you can plug it back in and keep it going a while longer. It's effectiveness does depend on the size of the area it is in.

You can use treats (I recommended what kind in your other thread) for rewarding things like scratching on his cat tree and not your furniture. They can also be used as rewards for accepting nail trims.

Incorporate the tree into your Interactive Games every night, by tossing his toys he likes to chase up on it, and dragging his string on a stick like toys up it. This will help him to know it is his.

If you're sure he doesn't like a toy, give it away to some other cat.

By the way cats LOVE cardboard boxes, and you can make him a box fort. Just get a big box (12 x 18 inches for example) and turn it on it's side with the flaps hanging down.

Also give him a smaller box to sit in and curl up tight in. If you take the flaps off the smaller box he may enjoy chewing on it.
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Ah sorry the dry food is "Taste of the Wild" but the wet food is Blue Buffalo in all different flavors.
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