How to Brush Your Cats Teeth

When introducing your cat to having its teeth brushed, patience is key. Ensuring that the experience is pleasant for you and your cat will require time, trust, and rewards for your feline friend. Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have all your supplies ready.

Your local experts at Feeds’ n Needs will help you find everything you need to start brushing your cat’s teeth!

What You’ll Need

  • Cat toothbrush or finger brush
  • Pet safe toothpaste
  • Q-tip or cotton bud
  • Your cat’s favourite treats
  • Towel or blanket (optional)

Cats respond well to routine, and they may benefit from having their teeth brushed at the same time every day. Choosing a time of day when your cat is typically calm or hungry can make them easier to work with, as they will likely be more eager to accept treats and gentle pats as a reward for their cooperation.

How to Brush Their Teeth

Step 1:

  • Choose a quiet time and place, such as a small room where the door can be closed to prevent your cat from escaping. You can place your cat on a countertop or table covered by a towel or sit with them in your lap. With the cats back toward you, ensure you can keep a gentle but firm hold on them. If your cat is particularly nervous, you may wrap them in a towel or blanket and have someone hold them to make sure they’re secure while you brush their teeth.

Step 2:

  • Introduce your cat to the feeling of having their mouth touched by gently moving their lips and running your finger along their teeth and gumline. If your cat tolerates this well, reward them with treats and some gentle scratches if they enjoy it.

Step 3:

  • Once your cat is familiar with your fingers touching their mouth, introduce the pet-safe toothpaste by placing a small amount on your finger and letting them lick it off. If the cat refuses to lick it from your finger, you can try putting a bit on the tip of their nose; they should instinctively lick it off.

Step 4:

  • Using a Q-tip with a small amount of toothpaste on one end, gently rub the applicator tip along the outer surface of the cat’s teeth. Starting with the back teeth and working forward, rub the toothpaste into the teeth using circular motions. Your cat will likely only tolerate a few seconds of this at first, so focus on only a few teeth during your sessions until your cat grows more comfortable. Reward your cat’s cooperation with lots of treats.

Step 5:

  • Introduce the toothbrush to your cat by allowing them to lick a bit of toothpaste from the bristles. To ensure you have a secure grip on your cat while brushing their teeth, spread your hand wide and place your palm over the top of your cat’s head towards the back of their skull. Your thumb and second finger will grip around the cheekbones just under the eyes, allowing the cat’s mouth to fall open gently. Ensure your index finger is lifted to avoid covering the cat’s eyes. Now that you are holding your cat securely, use the same circular motions working from the back towards the front, and begin to gently brush the outer side of the cat’s teeth. As your cat gets more comfortable with each session, you can increase the time spent brushing each side until you can brush for 30-45 seconds per side.

Tooth brushing is unnatural for cats and can be stressful for them to adapt to, so be patient and do not rush the process. Taking as many days as necessary to get your cat comfortable at each step, reassuring them in a soothing voice and rewarding them with treats throughout is essential to helping them form a routine and making each experience a positive one.

Stop in at your local Feeds’ n Needs to pick up some well-deserved treats and toys for your cat, and be sure to ask our experts any questions you may have about your cat’s dental health!

For more information and resources about pet dental health, check out some of our other blogs:

Emily Ernest

Store Manager, Port Williams NS