We got pretty lucky with Cole & Marmalade, not only are they extremely cute, playful, funny and affectionate, they’re also relatively easy going when it comes to the not so pleasant moments of being a cat, like having their claws trimmed and being groomed.
They also got along very well from the get go and here’s how we introduced them:
Of course they’re not purrfect and the thing they dislike the most is having their teeth brushed… This was something I didn’t even think about doing for younger cats until our vet suggested that Marm should get a dental cleaning when we discovered he had the beginning stages of Gingivitis
Because Marm is FIV+ dental problems are common and so after his chemotherapy treatments were over with and he was cancer free (YAY!), we scheduled his cleaning so we could better manage his dental health too… This is when we began to regularly try and clean their teeth.
The first product we tested was a dental spray and the boys were unamused by this method, it sounds quick and easy in theory but the sudden shock of the dental spray to their mouths was obviously not very pleasant at all!
Next up was a dental gel which you apply to their teeth and gums with your finger and the cats then work it around even more themselves when they lick their lips and try and get rid of the (more than likely) awful taste… This then works to remove plaque/tartar and freshen breath, you also have to keep your cat from eating 3o minutes before and after the treatment.
When we kind of had a routine figured out we took the next step by introducing them to a brush and kitty toothpaste! Obviously this was going to be more challenging, but it was also going to be the most effective, so little by little we started brushing their teeth.
It’s not something I look forward to doing and I know the boys would definitely rather be playing with their favorite toy or taking a catnap! … Nevertheless it’s something that we need to stick with to make sure we’re being good cat guardians. Now we try and brush their teeth 3 times a week and then on the other days use the gel instead.
It seems we may have started too late with Cole as well, since during his annual physical our vet suggested a dental cleaning would leave us with a nice clean base to work with moving forward… I kinda feel bad about not getting on top of this sooner but like I said it’s something most cat servants just don’t think about when their cats are only a couple of years old.
So in my opinion the best tip for new cat owners would be to get your cat used to being handled/examined on a regular basis and start hands on treatments like grooming, claw trimming AND dental cleaning early on… Always try and make these interactions positive by talking to them in a soothing voice, praising them afterwards and then having fun with a play session… (or if suitable dispensing cat treats!)
Sure there’s lots of other stuff to think about when a cat first comes into your life, like parasite control, spaying/neutering and diet, but to have a cat that is relaxed and used to the day to day care later in life is wonderful and I’m sure your cats would agree too! 🙂
Poor Marm! He’s spent so much time at the vet in his first 2 years of life, I’m determined to keep him cancer free, happy and healthy for as long as possible!