Cat Care Tips: March 2008 Archives

1. Start Early - a kitten will be more open to the daily brushing than an older cat. But cats are smart and they love attention so even older cats can be trained to accept the brush.

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2. Gauge Your Cat’s Mood Before You Begin – a playful cat is not a good candidate for tooth brushing! Wait until he is in a more relaxed mood.

3. Reward, Reward, Reward! – Cat’s respond to treats and grooming so include plenty of both in your brushing routine.

4. Stay Calm - even if you don’t think so, your cat senses your mood and responds to it, so if you are calm, your cat will be too.

5. Talk To Your Cat - Keep talking to your cat in a gentle soothing tone to keep in as calm and relaxed state as he can be.

Senior cats need their teeth cared for too – they are at higher risk for gum disease and liver damage, heart disease and the list goes on! It maybe stressful for you and your senior cat to get into a tooth brushing routine, but it is really necessary. And unlike old dogs, you can teach an old cat new tricks!

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There are products on the market that help keep their teeth and gums clean and to strengthen their jaw muscles.

I hear of so many senior cats that can’t eat properly because they don’t have the strength to chew. Not good. Get your cat a chew toy and brush his teeth.

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Cats and Teeth Cleaning: Top Five Tips for Healthy Teeth.

1. Brush your cat’s teeth daily. Just once a day will keep him from experiencing painful gum diseases and will also keep his liver, heart, spleen and other internal organs healthy.

2. Check for signs of trouble such as bad breath, bleeding or inflamed gums, or loose missing or broken teeth and tartar. If your cat simply will not allow you to brush his teeth, it may be too late – see a vet immediately because he may already have a dental disease.

3. Feed your cat high quality cat food and treats. Lower quality foods and treats contain too much starch and sugars that stick to teeth and cause damage and tartar build-up. Ask your vet about foods and treats designed for healthy teeth.

4. Get special cat toys designed for chewing, and that promote dental hygiene. Petstages has several different ones for teething kittens, adult cats and senior cats.

5. And most importantly, have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned by your veterinarian at least once a year. Sometimes cats need a professional cleaning every six months.

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Herbal treatment for cats' illnesses seems like a good idea, but beware of the risks. The truth is, most herbal remedies sold for cats are formulated for dogs and are actually toxic to cats. Cats can become really sick or even die with prolonged use.

Pretty scary huh?

It seems that cats process toxins and chemicals very different than dogs do, so even if it says it is safe for cats, you need to look out for....

You've spent some time getting your cat used to the toothpaste and you are relaxed and your cat's happy, so now it is time to go in with the brush!

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Hold on....not so fast. Introduce the brush slowly, put some toothpaste on the brush and let your cat chew on the brush - it'll floss and clean the teeth at the same time.

If kitty is getting suspicious, stop for the day but if you think you can get the brush right on his teeth, go for it.

Sometimes, all I have to do is just hold Neo's mouth open with one hand and brush with the other, but other days... it's not so easy...

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On those days, here's how I can brush his teeth. I have to hold Neo's whole body, otherwise he pushes me away with his powerful legs. So I sit on the floor with my knees up to my chest. I hold Neo's body on my lap (so he is facing to the right) and press my legs against my chest just enough to retrain him but not to hurt him of course.

Then that leaves both of my hands free - my left hand holds his mouth open and I brush his teeth with my right hand.

I work quickly and often he gets toothpaste all over his cheeks, but when I release him, I pet him and tell him what a good boy he is.

He is very forgiving.

Products you can use for brushing are outlined here

The final word on supplements. Do cats need supplements? or is this just something that health conscious humans think their cats need?

There are basic requirements that your cat needs daily to live a healthy life. Good quality proteins and amino acids are essential, especially taurine, without it, your cat will likely die or suffer serious medical conditions such as heart disease.

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Then there are vitamins and minerals that cats need in the proper ratio and in the proper form. And of course, Essential Fatty Acids - yes cats need fish oil too! Maybe that's why they like fish so much!

So with all these requirements, how do you know if your cat is getting enough? The bottom line is talk to your vet about it. So here are some guidelines for answering the question, do cats need supplements?

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