Dental Health / Tooth Decay and Cats

The first thing to keep in mind when tracking cat dental health is to sort out the myths. There is the myth that wild cats never get dental problems. Well, wild cats live to be about 3 years old - while indoor cats live to an average age of 14. I'm sure there are LOTS of problems that we don't see in wild cats often, because in essence wild cats are dying at "age 13" if they were humans. Barely-teens don't develop many adult problems.

Studies have shown that cats don't get mouth issues in the same way that humans do. Humans tend to get cavities because something sugary sticks to the tooth enamel and then sort of "eats its way in" through the enamel. Cats tend to work in reverse. They tend to get tooth problems because something goes wrong in their jaw, and that problem works their way into the center of the tooth and then outwards. This makes a cat tooth issue MUCH more painful and important to fix. This also means that it's usually related to overall cat health - not to specific spots on teeth.

To learn what nutrition is critical for a cat, read the AAFCO Nutrition Guide for Cats. Cats have some very unique health requirements. For example, a cat that does not get taurine in his or her diet is likely to go blind. It is our responsibility as cat owners to provide a cat with all the nutrition he or she needs to live a long, healthy life.

Cats are meant to eat soft food that requires biting. They have sharp teeth - but they are not meant to "bite bone". In the wild, cats tear away juicy meat bits, then eat those bits. They do not gnaw on bones, they do not bite through thick hides. They enjoy eating meaty pieces - not puree. However they enjoy eating SOFT pieces, not crunchy dried things.

In the wild, the act of ripping and slicing helps to keep a cat's teeth clean. In your home, you'll want to get a feline brush and feline toothpaste, to help with proper dental health.

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Dental Health / Tooth Decay and Cats


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