How To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth Without Losing a Finger

No matter how friendly your kitty may be, our domesticated cats are wild at heart– ready to snap into hunter mode when given the chance. And yet, as self reliant as our little furballs may be, they do still need our help to keep them safe and healthy. One major way that you can help your cat is through proper dental care. Cats in the wild only live 8 years at most—with good dental care as a part of good health care generally, your cat may live more than double that! But how do you convince your cat to let you brush their teeth?
Use a toothbrush made for cats

The Right Materials Count

The very first step is to get a toothbrush specially designed for your cat. Don’t try to stick a human brush in their mouth—you’re likely going to end up with a broken toothbrush and a pissed off cat. These cat toothbrushes are usually small, soft, and flexible. There are also cat toothbrushes that fit over your index finger if that feels more comfortable for you.

You will also need to purchase a kitty toothpaste. Unlike human, minty-fresh paste, cat toothpaste is often flavored like fish or chicken to make it more palatable for your cat. Be careful to NEVER use human toothpaste, as a number of the chemicals are toxic to cats.

Brush the Right Way

If you follows these steps, brushing will be a piece of cake:

  1. Hold your cat in your lap, or enlist a friend and have them hold your cat. Let your kitty get comfortable before you get started.
  2. Once your cat is relaxed, gently push their lip back up one side of the mouth and begin brushing the outer part of the teeth, moving down from the gum. Move along the entire top set of teeth this way.
  3. On the bottom jaw you may need to punch your cat’s two cheeks to get them to open their mouth. Once you’ve done so, continue to brush in the same way: moving the brush up and away from the gum.
  4. After you have brushed all your cat’s teeth, you don’t need to worry about rinsing their mouth, but make sure that you have a full bowl of clean water nearby.

If Your Cat Resists

Some cats have a harder time brushing than others. If your cat resists, you can try a few things. First, try the burrito hold: grab a towel and wrap your kitty up so that all that is showing is their head. This hold is gentle, but allows you access to their mouth without the danger of claws. You can also try brushing just a few teeth a day to make it easier on the both of you.