It’s a given that we brush our teeth daily (should be twice
per day!) but we’re never as sure when it comes to our pets. I mean, Should I
brush my cat’s teeth? Really?
Whatever questions or doubts you may have, teeth are teeth
and animals are no exception. Believe it or not cats are just as susceptible to
bad breath, gum diseases and tooth decay as us humans are.
Hot fact – did you know that up to 85% of adult cats have
some degree of dental disease? Shocking isn’t it!
How do I recognise signs of dental disease in my cat?
Firstly, bad breath is a typical indicator that your cat’s
teeth and mouth need some attention. Just like humans, it’s no different a
Other signs can be any redness or swelling on the gums
surrounding your cats teeth. Excessive salivation and staining of his/her fur
can also been signs that something is not right.
If you are unsure, please take your cat to your vet as soon as possible as they are qualified to diagnose any issues to save you having to worry. Really, you should be taking your cat to your vet for a checkup every 12 months at least anyway and they will pick up on any dental issues there and then.
So, just how do I brush my cats teeth?
It’s never going to be easy, let’s get this straight now!
They are animals an don’t understand – but the best way is to get your vet to
show you the best way to handle your cat whilst brushing, as well as how to
brush their teeth effectively.
One good way is a finger toothbrush that fits over your
finger and you gently rub their teeth. This is a gentle way to do it and gives
you more control as well.
But use a toothpaste that has been especially developed for cats – don’t be tempted to use your tube of Colgate – the fluoride can make your cat very ill! These special ones have more palpable flavors such as meat or malt and are fine for your cat to ingest.
If you cat shows signs of stress or is struggling to get away, don’t persist. Break off and have a little rest and then do some more. Talk in a soothing voice and comfort your cat – this will help keep them more relaxed.
If you keep up this good routine – your cat will have
healthy teeth and pleasant breath!
Being a new cat owner you are probably over the moon and nervous all at the same time – how the heck do you look after a cat properly? How independent are they really? Help!
Needless to say you probably have lots of questions about caring for your new furry companion, but worry no more – all you need is right here in this article to get you going. It’s really not that difficult, trust us.
Cats are awesome, simply put. They are fun, playful, independent, loving, curious, smart and often entertaining. Thankfully, cats are also fairly low maintenance compared to other pets and you just need to master the basics of feeding, litter trays, grooming and overall health. Once you have these down, the rest is plain sailing.
First up – and the most important one of all (obviously), feeding!
1.) Feeding Your Cat a Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that feeding your cat the right diet is essential to their happiness and overall wellbeing, just as it is for us humans.
If you have adopted your cat – then knowing what brand/type of food they are used to eating prior to adoption is a great place to start (as long as it’s healthy of course). If you want/need to transition your cats diet to something else – then doing so slowly and gradually to ween them off what they are used to eating is key. Otherwise you will just have bowls of food left going stale on your kitchen floor….
Kittens under 1 year old should ideally eat a special kitten formula as they are still growing (rapidly) and need a highly nutritious diet to support their development into adulthood.
Please note – if your cat is overweight or too thin, it is advisable to consult your local vet to help you choose the right food to get them back on track!
It can also be hard to choose between wet and dry food. Cats are notorious for not keeping themselves hydrated enough by drinking, so wet food is a good choice to help with that – however it goes off quickly. Dry food is a good choice if you are not around much in the day and it can be left out for long periods and still be as edible as when it was put out.
How often to feed cats? This depends on the cat. They will let you know when they are hungry but be careful not to overfeed them. If you notice them gaining weight then this is a sign you may need to cut back on frequency and/or portion sizes!
2.) Type of Food Dishes and Bowls Is Important!
Yep, believe it or not – choosing the right type of bowl/dish for your cat’s food is important.
Because the cheaper ones like plastic can retain odors and not as easy to clean. Stainless steel and ceramic dishes are much better.
Always buy a few so that you have a clean one to hand when washing the others. Cats are very clean creatures after all.
As mentioned before, cats need to keep hydrated so keep a water bowl available and change the water twice per day if you can.
2.) Litter Tray/Box
Have at least one per cat that you own (they don’t like sharing, for obvious reasons..).
Also consider the type of box if you get one of those – they do help keep odors contained but some cats can feel confined in them and don’t like them, then you just end up with a little surprise outside of it somewhere. Keep an eye out and let your cat tell you what he/she is liking or disliking.
If in doubt, always err on the side of extra large trays and boxes as this gives your cat a larger area to choose from and they feel less restricted.
Types of litter are varied also – clumping, non-clumping, wood pellets etc. Your cat will let you know what they prefer so try the cheaper one first and then go from there until you find one that your cat gets on with. Where possible – go for ‘low dust’ or ‘no dust’ options as a dusty atmosphere is neither pleasant for you or your cat!
Always try and scoop the tray twice per day to keep it clean and prevent bad odors lingering. Wash once per week also.
3.) Brush Your Cat Regularly
Buy a cat brush and make sure you brush your cat often. This not only relaxes your cat but helps to remove dead hair, dirt and skin keeping your cat healthy.
Plus, it’s quite relaxing for you as well.
Playing with your cat is important as not only does it keep them entertained and happy, but also helps keep them mobile and exercised at the same time.
Plus, it helps build the bond between you and your pet.
You really don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive cat toys either – most cats will go nuts for a piece of string dragged around the place. They love it!
5.) Claw Maintenance
Most trusted sources will tell you about the importance of keeping your cats claws trimmed, but cats are perfectly able to do this themselves if you give them the tools to do it.
Buying a decent scratching post is a good idea, preferably one that is tall enough they can reach up and stretch out their back on as well. Cats love to claw on things and this is a great way to keep their claws in check.
Besides, if you don’t – they can always find a sofa corner instead 🙂
6.) Find a Good Vet
Last but not least – always, always register your cat with a vet as soon as you can and take them in for an initial checkup. Your vet can make sure your cat is in good health and also administer any medications he/she might need (such as worming, fleas etc).
So there we go!
That is a quick-start guide to owning your first cat, see – it isn’t that hard!
Just keep an eye on them, look after them and they will bring you joy for many years to come.