When Aífe was one or two years old, we went to the vet for a routine checkup and some vaccine boosters at the San Francisco SPCA. The vet started the examination, and I felt reasonably confident that all she would find was an acute case of adorableness. I was not expecting to be asked -
“Hmm… Are you brushing her teeth?”
I was like, “Um, nooooo… Do people actually do that?” I remembered being told a lot at Aífe’s adoption about claw trimming. What kind of clippers work best, how to avoid cutting the quick below the nail, why declawing is a hideous and cruel practice. And they mentioned a few other bits of grooming and health-related information. But I didn’t remember a word about tooth brushing, and had never heard of anyone doing such a thing.
As it turns out, a lot of veterinarians recommend that everyone brush their cats’ teeth. And there is good reason for it. Cats, like all of us humans, are prone to plaque buildup and gum disease. Especially if they eat wet food, like Aífe does, because it sticks in the teeth more than dry food. I've had a couple vets say that dry food is the way to go, but the majority of experts I've talked to or read agree that cats should eat food that is as close to their natural diet as possible, which – being hypercarnivores, like the rest of their Felidae family – is pretty much pure dead meat. (Aífe also likes to eat avocados, cheese, milk, ice cream, coconut oil, refried beans, ribbons, humus, onion nets, and plastic bags, but that’s another story for another time.)
I would never neglect the care of my kitty on purpose. Once the vet told me I needed to brush her teeth, I decided I would.
Easier said than done.Read More