Introducing a senior cat to having their teeth brushed?

Biomehanika

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My 12 year old girl Bitsy is going in for a dental in mid April (her first ever, plus her first ever time being under anaesthesia since she was spayed as a kitten before I adopted her!! I am super nervous) and I’d like to start brushing her teeth a few weeks after that once she is all healed and stuff. I know it’s a bad idea to start before, so I won’t do that. The vet says she will need a few extractions and that she suspects she has some resorptive lesions, so I would like to help prevent further issues for her once that’s all dealt with and her teeth have a clean slate so that she hopefully won’t need more cleanings under anaesthetic in the future when she’s even older.

Has anyone had success with introducing a senior cat to having their teeth brushed or did you try and they totally weren’t having it?? I know it’s something that is ideally started in kittenhood, but she is generally an easy to handle cat so I hope she’d be OK with it with a slow introduction/positive reinforcement. I started brushing my new-ish 10 month old kitten’s teeth and we are having some success with it, getting better every time, so I’ll hopefully have the technique down pat by then.
 
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Biomehanika

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I started with her licking tooth paste from my hand,checking out the tooth brush,and wiping her gums with my hand
On a senior cat? And now she lets you properly brush them without a huge fuss? That is promising and also how I started my kitten on it.
 

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My vet seemed disappointed that my cat Maggie was so easy to handle. My other cat let's me use my hands. Peaches I cannot even lift her up unless she is sleeping
 

iPappy

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I started with her licking tooth paste from my hand,checking out the tooth brush,and wiping her gums with my hand
This is what I do, too. I usually start with the canine teeth as they're easiest to access and work my way up to the rear molars.
For cats, sometimes a Q-tip works vs. a brush, as it's smaller and easier to actually get to the teeth with.
There are also water additives available that you could try to help keep plaque down.
How To Brush Your Cat's Teeth [Step By Step Guide] - TheCatSite
 
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Biomehanika

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This is what I do, too. I usually start with the canine teeth as they're easiest to access and work my way up to the rear molars.
For cats, sometimes a Q-tip works vs. a brush, as it's smaller and easier to actually get to the teeth with.
There are also water additives available that you could try to help keep plaque down.
How To Brush Your Cat's Teeth [Step By Step Guide] - TheCatSite
The thing I’m having the hardest time with so far on the kitten is getting to his little back teeth (the rear molars I guess? Both lower and upper). I have a veeeery tiny toothbrush (ryercat), so it’s not that, but the actual locating of those tiny teeth! I generally have to lift his little lip up which involves messing with his whiskers a bit and have his head at a certain angle to reach/see them at all. Maybe it’s just because I’m new to this but it’s very much the hardest part. Any tips I may not know of for that part specifically?
 

iPappy

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The thing I’m having the hardest time with so far on the kitten is getting to his little back teeth (the rear molars I guess? Both lower and upper). I have a veeeery tiny toothbrush (ryercat), so it’s not that, but the actual locating of those tiny teeth! I generally have to lift his little lip up which involves messing with his whiskers a bit and have his head at a certain angle to reach/see them at all. Maybe it’s just because I’m new to this but it’s very much the hardest part. Any tips I may not know of for that part specifically?
Just keep at it :) I'm assuming the kitten still has baby teeth? At this age, it's more about exposure and doing it often enough that they are comfortable with it vs. getting the teeth perfectly brushed.
 
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Biomehanika

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Just keep at it :) I'm assuming the kitten still has baby teeth? At this age, it's more about exposure and doing it often enough that they are comfortable with it vs. getting the teeth perfectly brushed.
I think he has all his adult teeth now, he’s about 10 months old so at that awkward age where I don’t know if I should still refer to him as a kitten or as a cat 😅
 

Cat McCannon

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The easiest way to brush your cat’s teeth is to feed them raw chicken gizzards. Liver & heart work almost as well.
 
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