It’s important to keep your cat’s pearly whites fresh and clean. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to treat dental problems and they don’t all involve a trip to the vet. So these are our top tips on cleaning your cat’s teeth.
In the wild, cats chew on bones and grass to help remove plaque from their teeth (among other reasons). This provides an excellent excuse to leave at least part of the lawn unmown! A small patch of grass for a cat to graze on will be greatly appreciated. Varieties of grass have become a popular choice for gardeners, but be careful to avoid grass that produces awns (also known as oats) or grasses that are particularly sticky or clingy as they can become stuck in the cat’s windpipe.
‘Cat grass’ seeds can be easily bought, as can pots of cat grass. Pots are particularly useful of course for indoor cats or for cats who have access only to small paved courtyards (of which there are plenty in Brighton and Hove).
There are various ranges of dried food that claim oral health benefits. Generally the biscuits tend to be larger than the usual cat biscuits, requiring more chewing. The vet may prescribe special diet biscuits for your cat if it is suffering from severe gum disease (gingivitis). While the specialist biscuits are pricey, they tend to be quite effective in keeping dental problems at bay.
If you have a cat that really loves attention, then brushing their teeth will be lots of fun and very effective. Your dental nurse can explain the details of tooth brushing for cats.
An alternative is cat chews – you have probably seen dental sticks for dogs at your local supermarket and wondered why there’s none for cats. Well there are, but most supermarkets don’t stock them. A search online will reveal cat dental treats. You can also buy from local pet stores toy catnip mice that are designed to give your cats’ teeth a clean.
If your cat is eating less, unable to chew or has very bad breath you should visit the vet and have it checked out.