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Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health

Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health

Taking care of a kitten is a big responsibility. But in addition to nutritious food, a warm place to sleep and plenty of play time, did you know kittens also need their teeth cleaned on a daily basis? Seventy percent of cats show signs of oral and dental disease by age 3 — but that doesn’t mean your kitten has to be among them. Here’s what you can do to take care of your kitten’s oral health.



Your Kitten’s Dental Needs

There are three preventive measures you can take to ensure your pet’s oral hygiene doesn’t become a problem. They’re often referred to as the three D’s:



1. Defense

The first step in taking care of your kitten’s oral health is daily brushing. When you brush your kitten’s teeth, you remove plaque and slow the development of tartar. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a finger brush, which is available at most pet stores. Don’t forget to reward your kitten afterward with plenty of praise and play time!



2. Dentist

Just like you, your kitten could benefit from annual or semiannual teeth cleanings. Vets refer to the cleaning as a dental prophylaxis. Besides helping keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy, it’s the only way to remove tartar.



3. Diet

Dry food can be especially beneficial for oral health because the mechanical brushing action of dry kibble helps remove plaque and works to scrub your kitten’s teeth clean.



How to Tell If Your Kitten Has a Dental Problem

If you’re concerned about the health of your kitten’s teeth and mouth, keep an eye out for these signs of dental disease.



Look for Plaque and Tartar

More than 300 types of bacteria naturally reside inside your kitten’s mouth. And when she eats, small food particles and saliva combine with the bacteria to form plaque. If plaque is left on the teeth, calcium in your pet’s saliva hardens it, resulting in a hard yellow-brown deposit on her teeth called tartar.


Watch Your Kitten’s Behavior

Your kitten lets you know a lot about how she’s feeling through the way she behaves. The following behaviors can indicate an oral health issue or periodontal disease:

  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Excessive chewing
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Irritability
  • Reluctance to chew toys
  • Depression


Of course, a lot of these symptoms could signify other health issues, so it’s important to let a trained professional diagnose any health problems your pet may be having.

Nobody likes to deal with dental issues, your pet included. And even though your kitten can’t talk, that doesn’t mean she isn’t in pain. But if you’re armed with the three D’s of dental hygiene, your furry friend is sure to be happy and healthy for many years to come.

Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health
Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health
  • The Cat Personality Awards: The Unique Temperaments of Popular Cat Breeds
    The Cat Personality Awards: The Unique Temperaments of Popular Cat Breeds

    The Cat Personality Awards: The Unique Temperaments of Popular Cat Breeds

    This article is part of a series on how to spot signs of a healthy cat. You can learn more about the key signs here.

    Cats don’t lack personality; that’s for sure. They can be shy, outgoing, snuggly, independent, energetic, relaxed and everything in between. Yet some breeds tend to exhibit certain traits more strongly than others. Here are our picks for what we’re calling the Cat Personality Awards.



    The friendliest cat breed:

    Maine coon

    This larger cat has a big heart to match. They’re often very social and happy to chat with you, whether they’re curled up on your lap or following you around the house. They make excellent family pets because more family members means more people to snuggle and play with.
    Also outgoing: Ragdoll, Siamese, Burmese



    The most laid-back cat breed:


    Gentle and calm, this soft and silky-furred feline is friendly without being demanding. Ragdolls are usually totally cool sharing a house with other pets and kids. They don’t stress much about routine changes or even being carried around. Their motto? It’s all good.
    Other cool kitties: Scottish fold, Birman, British shorthair



    The most playful cat breed:

    Domestic shorthair

    Making up around 90% of cats in the U.S., with more than 80 colors and patterns, domestic shorthairs are a melting pot of different breeds. They were originally working cats used to hunt mice and other critters on farms. They still love to stalk, hunt and pounce on toys and play games with their owners — so expect to spend lots of energetic playtime together.

    Also ready to play: Siamese, Maine coon, Manx



    The most independent cat breed:


    This popular breed has been around humans since the 1600s, but is satisfied doing its own thing. Gentle, docile and quiet, Persian cats don’t insist on a lot of attention. They’re just as content sitting on your lap or observing what’s going on by themselves from a sunny perch across the room. They can be discerning in who they give their affection to, but you’ll be on their good side once you earn their trust.

    Also fine on their own: Russian blue, American shorthair, Norwegian Forest cat



    The most trainable cat breed:


    The idea of training a cat may seem hilarious, but the curiosity and intelligence of Abyssinians make them highly trainable. Some can even be taught tricks or to walk on a leash and harness. Training and playing games are perfect ways to direct their affectionate energy.
    Also eager to learn: Bengal, Siamese, American shorthair



    The cleanest cat breed:


    Owning this affectionate, hairless breed means you can spend more time cuddling and less time lint-rolling your clothes. They do require regular baths, but that just means more time to hang out together.

    Other neat freaks: Siamese, Russian blue



    The best cat for first-time owners:

    it’s a toss-up!

    Thinking of getting your first kitty? It’s hard to pick just one breed, so we’ve got three:

    • Maine coons are super friendly and charming, and adapt well in a variety of living situations.
    • Siamese are clean, love to talk and are very loyal.
    • American shorthairs are smart, playful and independent.

    Remember, most cats — especially those found in shelters — are a mix of breeds, which just means they often combine the best of all cat personality traits! Whatever personality you’re looking for in a cat, you’ll know it when you find your fuzzy soulmate.

    The Cat Personality Awards: The Unique Temperaments of Popular Cat Breeds
    Maine coon
    Ragdoll Cat
    domestic  shorthair
    Persian Cat
    Abyssinian Cat
    Sphynx Cat
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