Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I tried brushing my cat's teeth. The results might surprise you

Liam the pug tries to lick excess toothpaste off of Eamon the cat's mouth
Liam often tries to lick excess toothpaste off Eamon's lips.
Two times a day, I give Eamon a bowl of Rad Cat. This stuff looks a lot like wet, soggy hamburger, and in order to eat it, Eamon just licks the plate. He doesn't have to do any sort of chewing whatsoever. In theory, he doesn't need any teeth at all in order to eat this food. But cats use their teeth for all sorts of other things, including carrying toys and fighting off predators. Eamon might like to keep his chompers. And that's a bit of a challenge.

As a result of this diet and his age, Eamon's teeth have been simply terrible. His breath is awful, and since he drools when he purrs, he developed the ability to leave puddles of rank-smelling fluid everywhere he went. When I looked in his mouth, I could see that his teeth were covered with brown plaque.

Eventually, I know he'll need a dental cleaning. I wondered, however, if I could stave that off for a few weeks or months by brushing his teeth. Eamon is pretty mellow, and he is very food motivated, so I thought I might have a shot at success.

As it turns out, Eamon loves to have his teeth brushed.

I've been brushing his teeth at night, right after I brush my own teeth, and he's taken to running into the bathroom when he hears me brushing my teeth. I use a malt-flavored toothpaste he seems to like, and I use a tiny toothbrush made for cats. My brushing sessions take about a minute, and I focus my efforts on the outsides of his back teeth. I use soft, round motions and he seems to like the feel. Often, he purrs when I brush his teeth. When he's done, he whirls around my legs for a bit as a thank you.

I'm happy to report that his teeth look a slight bit less brown, after a week of brushing, and his breath isn't nearly so horrific. I think he will still need a dental cleaning soon, but in the meantime, I'll keep up with my brushing.