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The 5 Basic Steps... to Brushing Your Cat's Teeth

Brushing your cat's teeth should ideally become part of your daily interaction with your feline friend. This should not be a chore for you or your cat but rather an enjoyable time that allows you to further the bond that you have with your pet.

By starting slowly and giving lots of praise, this daily bit of attention should be something that your cat starts to look forward to.

Remember, this should be fun for you and your cat, approach it as a game and be sure to praise your kitty throughout the process. Do not restrain your cat too much, this just makes them struggle. Keep sessions short and positive.

The first challenge is to get your cat used to having things put in her mouth. Try dipping your finger in some tuna juice, chicken broth or some marmite in a bit of water and then letting your cat lick this off your finger. Then try rubbing your tasty finger gently over your cat's gums and teeth. After a few sessions your cat should start looking forward to this and should come running at the mention of the words "Tooth Time".

The next step is to wrap a small piece of gauze around your finger, dip this in some tasty liquid and gently rub the teeth in a circular motion. Remember to keep praising your kitty. Do several sessions of this to ensure that your cat is comfortable with the texture of the gauze.

Once your feline is accustomed to the feel and taste of the gauze in her mouth, you can now start using a cat-specific toothbrush. Some cats take a while to get used the bristly feeling of the brush so be prepared to spend a fair amount of sessions on mastering this step. Let your cat lick something tasty off the brush so that she gets used to the texture.

The next step is to get kitty used to the toothpaste. Pet toothpastes are usually malt or poultry flavoured and most cats love the taste. Let your cat lick some toothpaste off your finger and then apply some to the gums and teeth with your finger. Keep on telling her what a good kitty she is.

Final step - a combo of toothbrush and toothpaste. Keep on praising and gently brush those teeth. For the first few sessions it's advisable to just clean the canines (the 4 long teeth near the front of the mouth). Concentrate on the gumline as this is where the most plaque tends to accumulate. Gradually increase the number of teeth that are being brushed. Try to brush once a day or at the very least 4 times a week.

Give yourself a pat on the back and a medal for good pet ownership. You're doing a great thing for your cat's future health and happiness!

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