The truth about your cat’s teeth health: 4 common myths explained

Just like humans, cats begin their lives with a set of milk teeth, also known as ‘kitten teeth’. These fall out and are replaced with a permanent set of 30 teeth as the cat reaches adulthood. And just like us, these teeth can accumulate plaque.

However, while most of us humans are careful about keeping our teeth clean, dental hygiene for cats doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. Keeping their teeth and gums healthy is an important part of caring for your pet, so here we examine the truth behind four common myths about your cat’s teeth.

Myth #1: Dental issues are not common in cats

Striped tabby cat yawning and showing its teeth

Some cat owners may be surprised to learn that dental disease is extremely common in both young and older cats. In fact, the experts say that roughly 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three.

What you should do: Keep an eye out for drooling and bad breath as they are obvious signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Myth #2: You’ll know if your cat has a dental problem

Kitten sitting on the floor and yawning

Bad breath is a fairly reliable indicator that your cat has dental disease. But it’s not always that easy to tell if your pet has a problem – they are notoriously good at hiding pain!

Drooling, chewing on one side of the mouth only and dropping food are other things to look out for, but your pet may not show any outward signs of dental disease.

For this reason, it’s important to keep a close eye on your cat’s teeth and take them for dental check-ups at your vet, particularly as they get older.

What you should do: Don’t expect your cat to let you know if there’s a problem. Your yearly check-up with the vet will help to identity any dental issues.

 

Myth #3: It’s very difficult to brush your cat’s teeth

surprised long-haired cat lay on a wooden floor

Brushing teeth is the most effective way of preventing dental disease in cats (again, they’re just like us!). You might think your cat won’t take kindly to this activity, but it’s possible to brush their teeth without too much trouble. It’s easier to introduce a brushing regime with younger cats, so you’ll probably need a bit of patience and persistence if your pet is a bit older.

Putting a bit of toothpaste (designed for cats!) on your finger and offering it to your cat to lick is a good way to ease them into it as they get used to the flavour. After a few days, you should be able to progress to brushing. Grab a specialised toothbrush and some toothpaste – don’t try using any old thing you find in the bathroom cupboard!

What you should do: Get the right teeth brushing equipment for your cat and take the time to establish a dental care routine.

 

Myth #4: Dry food helps to keep your cat’s teeth clean

This is a common misconception that probably comes from the fact that wild cats would keep their teeth free from plaque by chewing bones. However, domestic cats usually don’t chew their dry food long enough for it to have an effect.

As a treat that will help to keep their teeth and gums healthy, you can give your cat a bone to chew on occasionally. Always use raw rather than cooked bones, as cooked ones can splinter and cause your cat a nasty injury.

What you should do: Don’t rely on dry food to keep dental disease at bay, but if you’re happy to give your cat a bone to chew on this can be good for their teeth.

Do you have any tips on keeping your cat’s teeth clean? We’d love to hear them! At PetSafe® Brand we’re always working to provide the best moments for safe pets and happy owners.

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It’s healthy to hunt: How to handle your cat’s natural instinct

Hunting is one of the most controversial aspects of cat behaviour. Even the most passionate cat lovers can find it difficult to accept their beloved family pet’s tendency to leave a dead bird or mouse on the doorstep every now and then!

The instinct to stalk prey is still present in most cats, despite the fact they generally receive plenty of food as domestic animals. Of course, cats were originally brought into cohabitation with humans for their fearsome rodent-killing skills. This ability may not be so important to us today, but the predatory habit remains a highly recognisable feature of our feline friends.

Wanting to limit the number of ‘surprises’ your cat brings home from its outdoor adventures is understandable, but trying to curb the desire to hunt too extensively is likely to leave your pet feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your cat stays healthy and happy while keeping its hunting behaviour under control:

Make sure your cat has enough food

 Grey and white cat in the kitchen trying to reach the counter top

Feeding your cat well won’t stop it hunting altogether, but their desire to chase down rodents will undoubtedly grow if they aren’t fed enough. Make sure your kitty has sufficient food at meal times and they may feel less inclined to head outside and see what they can find!

Keep your cat inside at night

Grey and white cat lay on a rug in front of the fire

Cats are largely nocturnal and tend to be more successful hunting at night when there are more potential targets around and they can move with even greater stealth. Many owners don’t like to confine their pets to the house all the time, but keeping them in at night and letting them roam free during the day can keep a lid on their hunting exploits.

Put a bell on your cat’s collar

 

 

Adding a bell to the collar that jingles whenever your cat moves is another way to limit their hunting prowess. The sound should alert birds and other prey if your cat is creeping up on them, although particularly gifted hunters may still find a way to make a catch!

Provide an alternative at playtime

 Kitten playing with FroliCat Pounce

Playing with them is one of the great pleasures of cat ownership. It’s possible to use play sessions to keep your cat stimulated and put its hunting skills into practice, without any poor animals being harmed!

Toys like the FroliCat® CHEESE™ Automatic Cat Teaser are ideal for this kind of play. Two mice pop out of each side of the Swiss cheese block, providing surprises that can keep your cats engaged and on the hunt for long stretches of time. The Play While You Are Away mode also allows spontaneous playtime throughout the day.

Alternatively, the FroliCat® POUNCE™ Rotating Cat Teaser is another popular toy of this type, with the unpredictable movements of the mouse encouraging your cat to watch, chase and pounce.

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Christmas is coming! How to spend quality festive time with your pet

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Which undoubtedly means lots of fun for all the family. However, looking after pets can be a challenge amid all the socialising, present buying and general hustle and bustle of the festive period.

To help you through we’ve put together a few tips on spending quality time with your cat or dog at this time of year.

Here’s how to make sure their Christmas is as enjoyable as yours:

Exercise as normal

hound in Christmas hat relaxing on the sofa

Regular walks provide a great opportunity to relax with your dog and keeping the routine will help them to stay healthy. This means they’re less likely to become unsettled by all the extra activity around the house.

The social calendar can get very hectic at Christmas. But it’s important as a dog owner to try to stick to your pet’s normal exercise schedule as much as possible.

Watch what they eat

Two poodles sitting at the table with plates

Christmas can bring additional temptation for animals with all the exotic and unusual food lying around, but most of it will be harmful to your pet. Remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs – and they can easily choke on turkey bones.

Even when the party is in full swing, keep an eye on what your pet is eating. Watch out for our upcoming blog about how to make it a pet-friendly Christmas dinner.

Take care with decorations

Ginger cat in Chrstmas hat surrounded by presents

Decking the halls is a great Christmas tradition, but take some time to make sure your decorations are pet-proof.

This is particularly important if you have cats that love to climb and explore the house, but mischievous dogs can easily get tangled up in light cables or create some other festive calamity if you’re not careful.

Secure all your decorations to the walls and keep them out of the way!

Get them a present

Bulldog under Chistmas tree surrounded by presents

We know you wouldn’t forget anyway, but just in case – here’s a reminder not to leave your pet out of the Christmas present fun! Giving your dog or cat a gift is a great way to make them feel involved in the celebrations and keep them happily occupied over the festive period.

If you’re a dog owner, why not choose an Automatic Ball Launcher for your pet to unwrap on Christmas Day? Alternatively, the FroliCat® POUNCE™ Cat Teaser could be an ideal festive treat for your feline friend.

Make sure they have their own space to relax

Two German short-haired puppies cuddling Christmas teddies

This is an important one, especially if you’re planning to entertain a lot of guests over the Christmas period. Large groups and unfamiliar sounds can sometimes unsettle even the most sociable pets, so creating a quiet and comfortable space they can retreat to if necessary is vital.

You can kit this area out with your pet’s bed and some favourite toys for them to play with. It’s nice to seek refuge from the Christmas madness from time to time!

Do you have a story to share on making Christmas a safe and exciting place for your pet? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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