Ask the Vet


Dear Dr. Schelling,

Why should I brush my cat's teeth? My cat won't accept the toothbrush, not to mention . . . how will I find the time?

Dear Kayla,

These two excellent questions are perfect for February, which is National Pet Dental Health Month.

As to why you should brush your cat's teeth . . . Imagine what would happen if you never brushed your own teeth! Plaque and food residue build up quickly, and over time these accumulated deposits damage your teeth and gums, causing odor, infection, pain, and tooth loss. This scenario is a reality for many housecats. Studies show that by as early as age three, 85% of cats have some form of gum disease.

So how do you incorporate kitty tooth-brushing into your already-busy life? It may be easier than you think. With some patience and practice, a one-minute daily routine can have a big impact on your cat's long-term health.

In this article I present more in-depth reasons for brushing your cat's teeth, and lay out a simple plan for getting kitty to accept—possibly even enjoy—this very worthwhile preventive health measure.

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Dr. Schelling is now on Facebook! Get up to date information on cat health, care, behavior and much more!

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I think my cat can read my mind. My cat is usually very independent and doesn’t love to be held. But whenever I’m sad or depressed, she comes over and lies on me and purrs. Can cats sense our emotions?


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Dear Ashley,

Yes, absolutely. We felines are very attuned to our human companions. We take great interest in observing you and can tell right away when something is wrong. Click here to learn more about how pets sense your emotions.

Note: This article does talk about dogs too, but I have forgiven that faux paw (barely!) because the info is good.


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FINGER TOOTHBRUSH FOR CATS: My humans have become quite adept at using the finger toothbrush to efficiently clean my teeth and gums. As a result, my breath is fresh (for a cat) and my bite is pearly white.

Plus he has catnip! Eventually, I lay down, victoriously, my defeated prey next to me (or sometimes under me). Don't take him away from me right away—I want to savor the moment, and also, you know, I'm no Fraidy Cat when the Braidy-Cat mouse is out!

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C.E.T. ENZYMATIC SEAFOOD TARTAR CONTROL TOOTHPASTE: I've come to think of toothpaste as a treat delivered in a different manner.

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21% of U.S. households have at least one cat.
You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense. -Jane Pauley
Finger Toothbrush For Cats C.E.T. Seafood Tartar Control Toothpaste