Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Did you know that brushing your cat’s teeth is a great way to keep her mouth healthy? Of course, if you tell Fluffy this, she’ll probably just blink, yawn, and then nonchalantly start licking her paw. However, if you approach her out of the blue with a toothbrush, you may end up, well, bleeding. Here, a Rochester, NY vet tells you how to brush your kitty’s teeth … without having to visit the ER.


Never use human toothpastes or toothbrushes on Fluffy: they aren’t safe or suitable for her. Stick with products made for pets. When picking toothpaste, choose a yummy flavor, like chicken or tuna, to make the process more appealing for your furball. You may also want to try a ‘pet finger toothbrush,’ which is a small bristled glove for your finger.

Part 1: Purr Activation

Choose a time when your cat feels like snuggling. If your kitty is a lap cat, wait until she’s settled in on your lap. Start by petting her. To get her used to having her mouth handled, gently handle her lips, and rub her gums and teeth. Offer ear scritches and praise. If Fluffy gets annoyed, stop for a while, and try again later.

Part 2: Tools

Next, put a bit of pet toothpaste on your finger. (We know, this isn’t fun, but it’s just for training.) You can wrap some gauze around your finger if you like. Be sure to offer Fluffy cuddles and compliments to sweeten the deal. A new toy, or some catnip won’t hurt, either!

Part 3: Finger Toothbrush

When Fluffy is used to toothpaste, start using the finger toothbrush. You don’t have to do her whole mouth at once: just do one part at a time. Keep giving your furball praise and attention, so she knows she’s being pampered.

Part 4:

If you’ve made it this far, your feline buddy is likely fairly well used to having her teeth handled. You can begin using a pet toothbrush on Fluffy if you like.


Keep an eye out for signs of dental issues. Some common ones include drooling, tartar buildup, bad breath, poor grooming, grumpiness, hiding, bleeding gums, and reduced appetite. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Please call us, your Rochester, NY pet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We’re dedicated to providing great care!

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