According to the Pets Need Dental Care, Too campaign, periodontal disease in cats appears as tartar buildup on the gum line, inflamed gums and bad breath. Purebred cats can be especially susceptive to a oral resorptive lesions, a common and painful cause of tooth loss. Ouch!
In honor of the occasion (and, I admit, in fear of the disease), I just brushed Olive's teeth for the first time. As far as I can tell, I didn't completely traumatize her, so I wanted to share my strategy with you.
I used C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs and Cats in an oh-so-tantalizing poultry flavor — screw mint — with a special cat toothbrush from my vet.
Olive's really friendly, so she doesn't shy away when I touch her. I gave her a few pets and then offered her a little toothpaste on my finger. She loved it.
Next, I put a little toothpaste on the brush. She was eager to lick it off, and when she did I gently used the bristles to clean just a few teeth. I didn't want to scare her, so this week I'll repeat the process to get her used to it.
The outlook is cheery, though; she just stole the toothbrush from my desk and trotted off happily with it.