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How Do You Brush a Cat’s Teeth?

The Best Ways To Care For Your Feline’s Adult Cat Teeth

How Many Teeth Do Domestic Cats Have?

Cats have 30 adult teeth and 26 baby teeth. Regular brushing at home combined with dental cleanings at the vet help to reduce the presence of plaque and tartar, both which kickstart inflammation and potential diseases. So how can you tell when your cat needs a good clean? 

As gross as it may seem, the smell of your cat’s breath is either a good indication of proper oral hygiene or prospective disease. Feline halitosis (as bad breath is scientifically referred to) can be caused by many different things. Most common is periodontal disease, a build-up of plaque that irritates the gums and can lead to infection. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, serving as a formidable base on which more plaque builds up. 

Is Bad Breath an Indication of a Bigger Problem? 

Although bad breath in cats doesn’t always mean something’s awry, bad breath can sometimes serve as a warning symptom for a much more significant health problem. If the root of the (tooth) problem is caused by oral cancers, this can severely impact both the comfort and life span of your cat.  

The smell of your cat’s breath can also predict conditions that extend beyond the surface of the mouth. A urine or ammonia smell coming from your cat’s mouth may signal kidney disease which requires professional care, so it’s best to take your cat into your local veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Brushing Habits

So, how often should you brush your cat’s teeth? Ideally, to prevent decay and infection a cat’s teeth should be brushed just as often as human teeth. We understand that daily brushing can seem unattainable and unrealistic – especially if you want to avoid invading your cat’s personal space and risking their wrath every night before bed! So, as a supplement to regular brushing, you can consider dental cleansing treats; just be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian to ensure they are an acceptable part of your pet’s individual diet.  

Preventative Care

During a cat’s annual health check-up, veterinarians will check your pet’s teeth and gums for signs of disease. Looking at their gums for redness, yellow tinting, swelling, bleeding, and inflammation can help your veterinarian rule out gingivitis, liver disease, and poor oral care. Many domestic cats don’t get regular veterinary care until they are injured, or they show definite signs of being sick, so be sure to help keep your pet in good health with once-a-year wellness exams. Remember, your pet can’t tell you their teeth hurt, and cats are notorious for hiding pain. Don’t wait until your pet is clearly in pain or distress before bringing them in!

Excessive Meowing

Why is your cat meowing more than usual?

The cat’s meow: A brief history lesson

The goal of a cat’s meow changes as cats move from infancy to adulthood. In fact, a cat can be extremely noisy after birth. Indicating to the mother that they are cold, hungry or scared, kittens use their newfound voice to bring attention to their needs.

As a cat progresses into adulthood, however, the intentions of their excessive
meowing begin to change from an indication of hunger to a more distressed, or
bored nature. As the ASPCA notes, adult cats don’t meow to communicate with
other cats. Instead, they meow to communicate with people. These vocalizations
include hissing, yowling, chirring, and shrieking, each of which is designated for a
specific time of need. Meowing is generally reserved for their youthful kitten days —
and for people.

As touching as it is to be the reason a cat meows, there might be more concerning
reasons why your cat is meowing all the time, one that can’t be explained by yowls
or hissing.

Is too much meowing a bad thing?

It depends. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Here are some of the reasons
your cat may be more vocal:

Sickness– If you are concerned that your cat may be warning you they don’t feel
well, take your cat in to see the vet as soon as possible. Many illnesses that affect cats have discomforting side effects, including hunger, excessive thirst, and even pain.
Medical conditions, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, hearing loss, and even old age
can cause meowing to increase.

Stress– Although sun-bathing and napping all day might not sound too high
pressure, cats have a way of taking in the energy of the household. Sudden
environmental shifts like moving, the addition of a new family member or the loss of
a relative can all trigger a cat’s anxiety. Left with no other way to express themselves,
cats resort to excessive meowing. Spending time with your pet during these
transitional periods to reduce their anxiety is a great way to minimize the noise.

Breeding– Cats looking to attract mates may turn to their animal instincts to attract
a potential partner. An attempt to lure a lover with a melodic meow may be the
reason your cat has been acting up. Spaying or neutering your cat can dampen their
need to mate.

Accentuate the Positive

Once you’ve ruled out any of these possible reasons your cat may be extra vocal, you
think about different ways to minimize an overly communicative cat through
positive reinforcement.

When your cat is quiet, praise her calmly and peacefully. Make sure you’re lavishing
plenty of attention on your cat throughout the day and following a regular meal
schedule. The trick to this strategy is to avoid punishing your cat for being overly
vocal—that will only induce more fear, prompting more meowing. Ensuring your cat
isn’t neglected is the top tip to reducing your chatty kitty’s tendencies.

Eliminate the Negative

Try to determine what triggers meowing. Is your cat excited? Nervous? Anxious?
Scared? If you can pinpoint the cause, your veterinarian can suggest
ways to help disrupt excessive meowing.

While there are several reasons your cat may be vocally active, pinpointing the cause
can help you keep your cat healthy and happy, and you and your neighbors’ ears at
peace.

If you’ve found ways to encourage your vocal cat to be a little quieter, feel free to
drop a comment below with your tips and tricks!

How Many Breeds of Domestic and Wild Cats Are Out There?

Quick tips for identifying a cat’s breed, whether domestic or wild.

While many pet owners tend to know the general breed of their animals, cat breeds
can be particularly difficult to pinpoint. Why exactly are they so difficult to identify?

Overall, cat classifications vary from database to database, making it difficult to
determine just how many breeds of cats there are and what constitutes each breed.
Altogether, there are roughly 100 breeds of domestic cats and approximately 40
breeds of wild cats. Here are a few tips on how to tell your cat’s breed:

Coat length – Most of these beloved pets can be grouped into two categories: long
haired or short haired. From here, your furry friend can be placed into subcategories
based on coat color and pattern. Long hairs can include a variety of breeds such as
Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Maine Coon. Short hairs can consist of breeds such as Manx,
Bombay, and Bengal.

Fur pattern and color – Your cat’s coat pattern and color can be a significant
identifying factor when trying to determine the ancestral history of your pet.
Patterns can be displayed in a wide variety of colors, including calico, tabby, and
tortoise.

Tortoiseshell coats can include red, black, cream, orange, gold, and white colors.
Affectionately referred to as “torties,” this pattern can be found on a variety of breeds
such as Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.

Calico cats have coats that are mostly white with patches of orange, black, cream
and gray. This pattern can include breeds such as Scottish Fold, Persian, and Maine
Coon.

Despite what some pet-owners may think, tabby is actually not a breed. Tabby refers
to the cat’s coat pattern which can display dots, lines, swirling patterns or stripes —
all of which come together to form a distinct “M” shape on its forehead. Its fur can
include brown, black, red, silver, red and cream colors. This pattern can be found on
breeds such as Siberian, American Curl, and Australian Mist.

Facial structure – For the most part, a cat’s bone structure will fall under three
categories: triangle, round, and square. Siamese and Cornish Rex can be identified
by their famously triangular face that gives them sharper features. Felines with
round faces can include Singapura, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmilla. Square faces can
be found on breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.

While dogs have been bred for various purposes such as hunting, racing, and
herding animals, cats were not bred with the intent to serve humans. Cats were
primarily made to chase mice and look adorable. Due to this, although the exact
number of domestic and wild cat breeds is still unknown, there are still far fewer
recognized breeds of cats than there are dogs.

A recent study shows that cats actually came to domesticate themselves. Since mice
and other rodents were attracted to the agricultural crops created by humans, the
ancient ancestors of our beloved pets likely came into contact with humans daily.
Another lineage of cats from Egypt suggests that humans were intrigued by their
personalities and attitudes — just as we are today.

Cat-owners can agree that some of the most popular breeds include American
Shorthair, Siamese, and Maine Coons. However, if you fancy befriending a rare feline,
some of the more rare breeds include Burmilla, Peterbald, and Serengeti. However,
no matter how popular or unusual your breed of cat is — it will still come with its own
unique and quirky personality that you will be sure to love.

Cats May Be at Risk for Heartworm Disease

There’s a common misconception that cats are not affected by heartworm disease; we’re here to tell you that is false! So, if felines can get heartworm disease, is it the same as canine heartworms? Is it preventable? Let us help fill you in on the important facts surrounding how heartworm disease can affect our feline family members.

Feline and canine heartworm disease are the same in that they both are caused by a bite from an infected mosquito and can be potentially fatal. The difference is in the nature of the disease, and how it’s detected and diagnosed.

Heartworm Disease in Felines

Unlike dogs, cats are not a natural host for heartworms – which means the larvae will likely have a shorter lifespan. Fortunately, this makes it more difficult for heartworms to affect the larger organs, but can create significant heart, pulmonary artery, and respiratory problems. While it is less likely cats will get heartworm, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Studies indicate that a solid approximation would be 10%; so, for every 100 dogs that are heartworm positive, there will be 10 positive cases of feline heartworm.

In the cases feline heartworm, many cats will not show symptoms ultimately making it a difficult disease to detect. Often times, the symptoms – including coughing, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even weight loss – mimic those of other common diseases. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, please contact us immediately.

Here is an incredibly important fact: There are both oral and topical prescriptions that can help PREVENT heartworm disease from occurring; however, there are currently no approved drugs for TREATING heartworm in cats. So, if your cat becomes infected, any treatments to kill adult heartworms can cause incredible health complications for your pet. As the adult worms die and pass through the arteries to the lungs of your cat when attempting heartworm treatment, it can cause failure in the lungs and sudden death of your beloved feline companion.

Talk with us at your next appointment to review the risks for your cat, and to discuss prevention opportunities that may work best for your individual pet. As your trusted partners in pet healthcare, we want to help you ensure that your pet leads the healthiest and happiest life possible!