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Not too long ago my cat, Snoopy, had to go to the vet to have a couple of teeth removed. I spent the whole day worrying over him, and was so relieved to get to the vet in the evening to pick him up. The relief didn't last for long. While I was cooing over Snoopy and tickling his chin through the bars of his carrybox, I became aware that the vet was saying something awful to me. "...and as well as changing his food, you'll have to brush his teeth of course."
Let me tell you a little bit about Snoopy. He's five years old, and he's a big cat. He's not fat, he's just huge. He was the runt of his litter, so when at 8 weeks old he was tiny, small enough to fit in a wine glass, and I didn't think twice about letting him play with my hands with his soft teeth and claws. Five years on and he can still be a little bitey and scratchy. I don't blame him for this, it's my fault, and it's never aggressive - he just thinks that's how we play.
So you can understand my concern over the words "brush his teeth". But it got worse. The vet went on to explain that I should put a little of the toothpaste she was waving at me on my finger and rub it on Snoopy's teeth. Oh joy.
The toothpaste in question is Logic gel, for use on cats or dogs. It looks just like a tube of human toothpaste, but the gel is a funny beige colour. It comes with a small applicator for cats and small dogs, so you don't have too much coming out of the tube at once. For cats it says to use 1cm of gel - I take this to mean squeeze out a 1cm long helping.
So, back to Snoopy...I was a coward. I waited a few days before attempting this. However, on reading the pack I discovered that I could put the toothpaste on Snoopy's paw and he would lick it off, which was a suitable way of giving it to him. But as the vet had told me to rub it on his teeth, I thought I'd better try that.
At this point it occurred to me that this was going have more problems than just Snoopy trying to eat me. How on earth was I going to hold him, keep his legs from flailing, open his mouth and get the gel on his teeth? Nevertheless, I got a towel, snuck up on him and wrapped it around him. That annoyed him straight away and the squirming started. I got a bit of the gel on my finger, and approached his face...in trying to open his mouth with the same hand the gel was on, I got it all over his face.
Snoopy ran off in disgust and proceeded to noisily wash his face. I then realised maybe there was a reason the instructions gave an alternative to rubbing the gel on a cats teeth.
The following day (for this is to be done daily), I put some gel on my finger, and wondered about how to get it on Snoopy's paw. Cats don't just come along with their paws held out for toothpaste like kids do for sweets. Also, Snoopy isn't the brightest of cats and would more than likely traipse it all over my carpets instead of licking it off. So I approached him, talking nicely to him, and held my finger with the gel out to him...he sniffed, and then SLURP, it was gone!
It seemed I had cracked it...not only did I have a way of giving him his toothpaste which meant I got to keep my fingers, but he seemed to like it!
Snoopy has been getting his toothpaste every day, and it's like giving him a treat. He really enjoys it. One day he knocked it off my finger, but undeterred he licked it off the carpet.
If you find your vet giving you this for your cat, or if you choose to use it yourself, my advice is to feed it to the cat from your finger! Safe and painless.
Time will tell if it works in terms of protecting against further tooth problems, but I'm happy in the knowledge that I'm doing all I can to spare him further problems. I'd prefer to get the gel directly onto his teeth, but it is apparently just as effective letting him eat it. The gel mixes in with his saliva and gets onto his teeth that way.
It could be a couple of years before I know if this has had the desired effect, and the vet did warn me that Logic is more effective on some cats than others. At 5 years, Snoopy is quite young to have had teeth problems, particularly with a mainly dry diet, so it may be that he is more susceptible to teeth issues.
I got my 70ml tube of Logic from the vet for £5, but having done a quick search it seems to be available online. I think this tube will last around 6 months, given the small amount we use each day. And I think that it is absolutely worth it if it spares Snoopy having to have more teeth work done.
I use something called plaqueoff on my animals which you sprinkle on the animals food. My dog and 3 cats all have no problem eating it and I have noticed in the few months I have been using it my old cat's (about 13) teeth have dramatically improved.
MizzMolko 09.09.2009 18:38
I don't think my cat would have having any of this - he could probably do with it but he'd run away at the sight of the tube, lol! Eleanor x
mum2boys82 09.09.2009 13:29
Thanks for the advice, might need this for my tabby tom soon! Rebecca Xx