While the modern house cat doesn’t have to hunt for anything besides that pesky ball on the end of a string, it’s still vital to your kitten’s overall health to have healthy teeth and gums. Like humans and dogs, cats are sometimes prone to gum disease and other oral conditions, which could lead to more serious health risks. You can help prevent these conditions with a little extra care. Here’s how to do it.

While this may sound like a daunting task, over time, it can become an enjoyable experience for you both. Keep in mind that you absolutely must lavish praise and give treats for good behavior to keep your kitty calm and positive. It’s also important to remember not to restrain your cat too much and to keep sessions short.

    • At first, just use your finger.

Dip it in something your cat likes, such as tuna water or chicken broth. Then gently rub over your cat’s gums and teeth.

    • After kitty’s comfortable with this,

place a gauze around your finger. Gently rub the teeth in a circular motion with your gauzed finger. Repeat this for the number of sessions it takes your cat to feel comfortable with this procedure.

  • Your cat will eventually adjust to this.

At this point, you can start to use a toothbrush. To begin, let your cat lick some flavor she likes off of the brush so she gets used to the texture of the bristles. From there, add the pet toothpaste (which also comes in tasty flavors for your cat). Keep talking in a happy voice during the process and keep praising her for being so calm. At first, you may just want to brush the upper canine teeth (the large ones in the front of the mouth). As time goes on, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing.

Like all pets, the extra love you show your kitten will do great things for her health. If you continue to have difficulty getting your cat to sit still for this process, talk to your veterinarian.