10 Ways to Maintain Cat Dental Health
Although your cat is most likely used to eating its kibbles, gnawing on rubber mice, and your assortment of kitty treats, she still needs sharp, clean teeth and healthy gums. Damaged teeth, palate, tongue and gums can cause many health risks for our furry friends. Some traditional tooth-brushing and the few steps below are all that’s needed to prevent and risks from possible poor dental health.
1. The Breath Test
Don’t be scared! One quick whiff! Your cat’s breath isn’t be the best smelling breath ever and it also shouldn’t be offensive. Digestive problems and gum infections like gingivitis can cause an extremely bad smell. If your cat has raunchy breath, take her to a vet for examination.
2. Lip Service
When your cat is facing you, gently push back her lips to see those pink, firm gums. If they are white, red, or even swollen, your cat may have a problem. The teeth should be white and free of any brown tartar. They should also not be loose or broken.
3. A Closer Look
These are problem indicators of cats’ mouths:
- Dark red line along the gums
- Red and swollen gums
- Ulcers on gums or tongue
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing food
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive pawing at the mouth area
4. Dangerous Swelling
At any sign of inflammation, you should take your cat to the vet right away. If untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation can also be a sign of an internal problem like kidney disease or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
5. Tooth Decay
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup on a cat’s teeth. Plaque hardens into tartar, gingivitis, receding gums, and tooth loss. Regular teeth cleanings are a preventative measure to keep these health risks from occurring.
6. Your Cat’s Tooth Brushing Kit
All you need are cotton swabs, a small toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. Salt water works wonders too. Use your vet’s recommendation for brushing supplies and whatever you do, never use people toothpaste as it is unhealthy for your cat.
7. Brightening Those Fangs
Baby steps are key to brushing your cat’s teeth at home:
- First get your cat used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Start by gently massaging gums with fingers and cotton swabs.
- After doing this a few times, put a tad bit of cat-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
- Next, introduce a toothbrush designed for cats. These are smaller than our toothbrushes and have softer bristles. If you can, get the kind that you can wear on your finger. They are handy for massaging gums.
- Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
- Getting a vet to examine her teeth before doing all of this can be helpful. A lot of cats have mild gingivitis and brushing too hard can hurt their gums.
8. Chew on This
Chew toys can satisfy a cat’s natural tendency to munch on things while making her teeth strong. They can also help floss, massage her gums, and scrape away soft tartar.
9. Diet for Healthy Teeth
If your cat has dental problems, ask your vet to recommend a kibble that keeps her teeth healthy and removes plaque buildup.
10. Know Your Mouth Disorders
- Gingivitis: This inflammation of the gums is mainly seen in older cats. It may start as a dark red line bordering the teeth. If untreated, gums may become sore and ulceration may occur.
- Periodontitis: If gingivitis invades the tooth socket, the tooth may become loose and an abscess may form.
- Stomatitis: This inflammation of the mouth lining may result from a foreign body in the mouth, a viral disease or dental problems. The cat will have difficulty eating and the inside of the mouth will appear red.
- Rodent Ulcer: A slowly enlarging sore or swelling on the upper lip.
- Salivary Cyst: If salivary glands or ducts that carry saliva to the mouth become blocked, a cyst may form under the tongue.
- Mouth Ulcers: Ulcers on a cat’s tongue and gums are sometimes caused by feline respiratory or kidney disease.
Cat Separation Anxiety – How to Prevent it When You’re Away
We all have schedules that we must attend to. Unfortunately, our cats don’t always take kindly to our engagements outside of the house. Particularly, cats that have a very strong bond with their owner may show signs of separation anxiety. Keep an eye out for out of the ordinary behavior when gone for any length of time.
There are measures that can be taken to help prevent a cat from rebellious behavior while away from home:
1. Recognize the signs
Of course, the most important factor in preventing separation anxiety is knowing when your cat is experiencing it. Maybe your roommate or even a neighbor has heard your cat meowing in the window constantly or making other types of vocalizations for prolonged periods of time. Look out for bald spots, scabs and hair loss as they could be a result of excessive grooming from stress. Lastly, urination on your belongings or near the front door are tell tale signs of separation anxiety. Anything abnormal in your cats behavior should be taken into consideration.
2. Meeting your cat’s needs
Cat’s love routine. Feeding habits, location, and time are key to a stress free environment. Cat food that reduces stool odor can also be helpful. Most importantly, keep up with the litter box. Don’t fall behind on scooping, determine it’s location, and try not to relocate it! A BreatheFree Litter Box Mate will both reduce odor and provide a comfortable environment for all of your kitty business.
3. Provide Stimulating Opportunities
Providing your cat with engaging toys while away can help stimulate it’s senses and reduce stress from separation. Make the most of playtime when you’re available to your cat as it helps balance its emotions and limit any frustration. PetFit.com provides a lot of tips on healthy ways to have fun with your cat.
4. Make sure your cat’s necessities are available and CLEAN.
Your rushed schedule may keep you from keeping the food dish full and/or the litter box clean. Leave yourself a note or get in the habit the night BEFORE your busy day, to make sure your cat has plenty of food and a good, clean smelling litter box. Without these necessities, your cat may sink into deep despair and may even begin to soil the house.
Remember, please contact your veterinarian if you feel your cat needs help coping with separation anxiety issues.
Scratching, Cat House Soiling… and Other Cat Communication Concerns
Have you ever wondered if your cat is trying to tell you something? Sure, she may not be actually speaking to you, but when she goes outside her litter box or shreds to the new couch to pieces – she is trying to send a message.
But how to decode it?
Believe it or not, cat behavior speaks volumes. And while you may be quick to change that “bad” behavior, we encourage you to stop and think about what it could actually mean. Most cat behavior issues are quite solvable once you know how cats think and why they are behaving as they are.
1. House soiling.
This is a common problem, and the #1 complaint among cat owners. But there is a method for this madness. Your cat doesn’t really want to go outside her litter box – but she feel she has no choice.
If the litter box is in the basement, perhaps it’s just too cold and uncomfortable down there.
Maybe the box is dirty and smelly.
Have you replaced the litter with a new brand. Better yet, have you replaced the litter at all within the past couple of months?
The answers to these questions may reveal the true answer to the house soiling question.
2. Constant scratching.
Cats scratch. It’s what they do. They are not trying to be bad or malicious. A cat’s urge to scratch is natural. There is also a possibility that she is stressed.
3. Getting up on the counter.
You may yell and scold every time your cat jumps on the counter, but think about it – she is constantly looking up at you from the floor. Have you ever thought that she may want to be closer to eye-level with you? It’s her way of telling you that she wants to be closer to you.
Chances are, after reading this, you’re feeling a little disappointed in yourself. Don’t sweat it. The good news – our cats love us unconditionally. They forgive and forget very easily. The next time you think she’s being bad, try to be mindful of what she may be really trying to tell you.
Keeping Kitty Safe During the Winter
People who care for indoor/outdoor cats always find the winter months to be a big challenge. The days are short and can be extremely cold. Some cats will simply refuse to go outside, while others are brave (stubborn?) enough to endure the elements.
Since we can’t say no to our darling cats that want to go outside, we have to stay informed about the winter threats they face. A romp out in the winter cold can quickly become a health and safety hazard – especially your cat accidentally becomes locked outside.
So what are the top winter hazards for cats? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Bang on the hood before starting your car.
Some cats like to seek warmth in a car engine compartment or in a wheel well – but outdoor cats can suffer terrible injuries or be killed. You can prevent this by happening by giving the hood of your car a big smack – or even beep your horn – before starting the engine. The noise will startle the cat and hopefully encourage him to scram.
2. Keep your garage clean.
Some cats like to take shelter in the garage – and stay there overnight. To avoid poisoning issues, take care to make sure puddles of antifreeze, gasoline, oil or other lubricants are cleaned up. They aren’t attracted to the taste of petroleum products like they are to antifreeze, but if they step in oil or gasoline, they may lick the stuff off and could poison themselves.
3. Provide shelter.
If you know your cat won’t want to come inside until she is good and ready, provide her with some shelter outside. Buy or build a structure where she can go to keep the weather out. The shelter will keep kitty comfortable… and give you piece of mind.
How do you ensure your cat stays warm during the winter. Tell us your tips and advice in the comments section!
Cat owners are quite savvy. They know that no cat litter is perfect. Each one of them has a set of drawbacks. But one thing is for sure – forget perfume-pleasing scents. Cat litter with high scent volume caters entirely to us – people. Not cats. Forget special formulas or alternative ingredients too.
Cats prefer unscented clumping litter because, quite frankly, it’s simply more inviting. But, it’s up to you to keep it clean. A cat will refuse to use the litter box after a while if it’s smelly and full of bacteria. In fact, according to veterinarians, most inappropriate elimination problems are man-made. That’s right. Poor cat litter choices (like ones that contain perfumes, dyes, or pellet), dirty litter boxes, and non-clumping litters may contribute to a house-soiling problem.
While there is some conflicting opinions about the use of litter box liners, we can speak from experience (and on veterinarian recommendations) that the supplemental use of litter box pads – like Breathe Free Litter Box Mate litter pads – work extraordinarily well in eliminating those litter box odors and bacteria that cats hate. Supplementing your cats litter box experience with a litter box pad – which is buried under standard clumping or unclumping litter – is 100% proven effective. Plus, it saves on cleaning times for us cat owners.
Owners of long-haired cats know all about hairballs. But did you know the scientific name for it is trichobezoar? That’s right. A hairball is basically a wad of undigested hair, moistened by bile and other digestive fluids. They are slender… or round… generally appearing like a small sausage.
As violent as your cat sounds getting a hairball up, hairballs are completely normal. As a cat grooms itself, she’s swallow a lot of loose fur. While most of this hair eventually passes through the digestive tract and is excreted intact in the feces, some of it remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a wet clump – the hairball.
Kittens, young cats, and of course hairless cat breeds… don’t develop hairballs. It’s typical, rather, in older cats that spend a good portion of their waking hours busy licking and grooming their coats.
Hairballs come up once every week or two… and it’s generally nothing to worry about. But, a hairball problem might be developing if:
>> Your cat is lethargic.
>> Refuses to eat for more than 24 hours.
>> Has repeated episodes of unproductive dry heaving.
In rare cases, the hairball may pass into the intestine, creating a potentially life-threatening blockage in the digestive tract. If your cat exhibits any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately.
You can also feed your cat a hair ball remedy – usually a mild petroleum-based laxative – once or twice a week.
Here at BreatheFree Litter Box Mate, we are committed to the health and well-being of all cats. That’s why we’ve created odor-absorbing litter box pads that is all-natural toxic free. Join us in giving our cats only the best for their future of their well-being.
We all think the world of our cats. And, of course, we think our own cat is THE smartest feline around. In truth, though, yes – your cat is smart. And then some.
Cats are extremely quick learners… and they have the uncanny ability to make intelligent decisions based on their senses.
Your cat does not thrive on opportunities to please you (just like a dog). Instead, their motivation comes from discovering sources of personal benefit (like capturing a bird or mouse.) They decide what they’ll do and when based on what it gets them. For example, you may think your cat comes when called out of obedience, but your habit of handing out a few kibbles of cat food as a treat is more likely the reason.
Cats are quick imitators too. They take advantage of YOUR habits and routines… and will try to train you at every opportunity. If your cat recognizes that you’re always willing to get out of bed and feed her when she makes noise, you can count on her making noise night after night.
Never underestimate your cat’s intellect. While she may not always appear smart or on the ball – trust us, she is. She’s always calculating…. even when she’s sleeping. And guess what? She also knows when her litter box is dirty too. Be sure to keep it clean by using a pad to remove litter box odor. BreatheFree Litter Box Mates keep litter boxes smelling clean and fresh for up to 30-days… guaranteed!
As much as we’d love to believe our cats are always happy and content, unfortunately that’s not always the case. Litter box problems are very common, yet often go over-looked or ignored. “House-soiling” is not just a small problem, it’s a serious issue that could put the health of your cat… and every member of your house at risk.
Here’s how to tell if your cat is having problems with the litter box:
- A pattern of urinating and/or defecating outside the litter box
- Urine spraying – evidence of urine marks around doorways, windows or new objects in the house
- Spending longer than a normal amount of time in the litter box
- Meowing while in the litter box
- Going to the litter box more often than normal
- Health issues ranging from diabetes to lower urinary tract disease
- A dirty litter box or inadequate number of boxes in the home. At least one box per cat plus one is recommended. The litter boxes need to be in different locations in the house – not all in one room.
- Litter box is located in a remote, noisy or unpleasant surrounding
- Litter box is inappropriate – covered boxes can maintain odors and large cats may not be able to move around enough in small boxes
- Wrong type of litter or sudden change in litter type
- Social changes, such as the addition of a new cat or the sudden presence of outdoor cats
If you change your cat’s litter box infrequently, travel a lot, or have multiple cats at home, you’re more likely to experience a “house-soiling” problem. Consider making adjustments to your litter box care routine. We recommend using litter box pads. Our BreatheFree Litter Box Mates litter pads go a long way in helping to keep the litter box clean, odor-free, AND bacteria-free. In fact, it comes highly recommended by some of our nation’s leading veterinarians and cat breeders! If the problem continues, see your veterinarian to investigate possible health problems immediately.
SOURCE: FLUTD: Thinking Outside (and Inside) the Litter Box
Whether your feline friend is an indoor cat, outdoor cat, or both (like mine!)…. you are going to want to take some extra precautions as we head into the cold winter months. Yes, even folks who live in warmer climates have to prepare.
Surprisingly, there is a lot to keep an eye out for if you want your cat to be at her best during the cold months. Veterinarians recommend limiting outdoor activity… especially if the temperature is well below freezing. Chances are she won’t want to spend a lot of time outside, but if she does go out… watch for signs of frostbite. Frostbite occurs most often on ears, the tail and foot pads where pale, glossy, or white skin will begin to appear.
Other things to do this winter:
– Keep your cat well fed and hydrated. A well-nourished cat is better equipped to cope with the harsh weather.
– Cats love curling up in a warm place for a nap. Prevent potential burns and fires by protecting your cat from open fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. Warm engines are also a favorite place for outdoor cats, so honk the horn or bang on the hood before starting your car.
– Antifreeze has a sweet taste cats like but it’s toxic enough to cause serious illness and even death. Make sure your car isn’t leaking any fluids and keep containers safely locked away.
– Keep the litter box clean and odor free. If your cat is used to doing her business outside, she may resist using the litter box for a little while. Go the extra mile to keep the box clean by using BreatheFree Litter Box Mate litter pads to get rid of litter box smell and bacteria.
– Extra TLC goes a long way into the winter. Give your cat a cozy place to sleep by offering some bedding in a warm place, free from drafts.
How are you preparing your cat for winter?
Cat owners are no strangers to all those myths out there. You know the ones…
>> Cats have nine lives.
>> Cats are lactose intolerant.
>> You should never brush a cat’s teeth.
The list goes on and on.
Is there any truth to any of these common cat myths? We set out to do some investigating of our own and discovered some interesting answers.
Here are the most common cat myths… and the REAL truth behind them.
Myth #1 – Cats can’t tolerate milk.
A cute cat quietly lapping at a saucer of milk. What could be more natural? The truth is many cats get diarrhea from milk and too much milk can quickly add up to an obesity problem. Your best bet is sticking with a saucer of water.
Myth #2 – Never brush a cat’s teeth.
Routinely brushing your cat’s teeth not only freshens breath, it also limits the risk of oral disease and gives you a chance to notice anything unusual happening to teeth and gums.
Myth #3 – Garlic can get rid of worms in cats.
Garlic may cause anemia in cats and should be avoided.
Myth #4 – Cats need their whiskers for balance.
Cats use their whiskers as “feelers,” but not to maintain balance. How a cat positions its whiskers can also be an indication of mood. Whatever you do, don’t cut a cat’s whiskers or pull on them. Whiskers are rooted deep in the skin where nerve endings are abundant.
Myth #5 – It’s OK to give my cat table scraps.
Did you know that a piece of cheese for a 10lb cat is like eating almost three full chocolate bars? Table scraps are empty calories for cats. They need precisely balanced nutrition for their specific life stage and special needs to remain healthy.
Do you have any cat questions for us? Send them our way… and don’t forget to try Breathe Free Litterbox Mate…. the best way to get rid of litter box smell on the planet!
Whether we like it or not, all of us age. Even our cats. In the blink of an eye, your cat can go from being a spry young kitten, to an aging beauty. If you thought your cat won’t exhibit signs of age – think again.
Symptoms of old age are inevitable in our feline friends. In fact, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, 50% of cats at 15 years of age ( the equivalent of 85 in human years) exhibit signs of brain aging.
While dementia and other geriatric conditions are common in humans, cats have their own ailments and signs of cognitive brain disorders – like:
- Decreased interaction with humans and other pets
- Less desire to eat
- Urination or defecation outside the litter box
- Decreased problem-solving skills
- Less awareness of their surroundings
- Inconsistent sleep-wake cycles
- Loud crying – especially during nighttime hours
It’s important not to give up on your cat if he’s showing signs of old age. Living with the senior set can be fun! You will just have to be a little innovative. Think of ways to safely mentally and physically stimulate your cat. A stimulated cat will keep any behavioral problems at bay.
If incontinence or house soiling becomes an issue – re-evaluate your litter box. Is it in a bad place? Is it messy? Smelly? You may want to invest in a new litter box, and get your hands on litter box pads from Breathe Free Litterbox Mate. Litter box pads are proven effective in removing litter box odor and bacteria, which may be causing your cat’s house soiling issue. You may also want to increase the number and size of litter boxes to help with your cat’s increased waste elimination – another common behavioral change in senior cats.
Do you have an aging cat in your home? How have his/her habits changed?
As cat owners, we know and understand how much our feline friends like to hunt and attack mice and other garden animals. And, no doubt, you’ve seen a carcass or two lying in your yard. This is completely normal.
Those unwanted gifts. You know the ones…. the dead squirrel, mouse, chipmunk, bird… left prominently where you can see it.
What do these gifts mean? Are our cats actually presenting us with – what they think -something special?
Cat researchers are not entirely sure. They say cats leave dead prey for their owners for one of two reasons:
- As a sign of affection for their owner. The cat may think that you, too, will enjoy attacking and playing with dead prey.
- As a result of a parenting instinct. Cats have a strong tendency to provide food for their family.
What’s also interesting is the manner in which cats go about hunting down their prey. If you’ve sat and watched your cat stalk a garden animal, you know your cat likes to wear its prey out. They chase the creature until it’s utterly exhausted. Then the real fun begins – the batting around and playing.
Whether or not you like theses little “prizes” your cat brings home, please remember to clean it up quickly. If you don’t dispose of the dead prey, your cat will think that it’s OK to keep gathering them.
If you really want to discourage your cat from killing creatures in the garden, you could give your cat a collar with a bell – which will act as a warning for any unsuspecting birds.
C’mon… tell us. How does your cat interact with prey outdoors? Share your experiences and we may post them on Facebook page! Check it out… and learn about our cat litter pads – the ONLY cat litter product guaranteed to get rid of litter box odor – Breathe Free Litterbox Mate.
Nothing is more exciting than bringing a new kitten home. A tiny furry friend adds so much excitement and wonder to a home. No doubt you have food, a pretty water bowl, and maybe a fancy collar on hand… but what about a litter box?
Ahhhh, that litter box will be a mystery to a little kitten. Knowing what to do with it won’t come naturally to kitty… or YOU, the new pet owner.
As experts at getting rid of litter box odor, here are some help tips on how to get your kitten used to a new litter box.
If you have one kitten, then all you’ll need is one litter box. But if you have a big brood… you’ll always want to have one more litter box than you have cats. For example, if you have four kittens… you’ll need five litter boxes. Yes five!
If you have a two-story home, you’ll also want to keep one litter box on each level of the home for your new kitten.
Just because your kitten is small, doesn’t mean you’ll need a small-sized litter box. Your kitten will grow and she’ll need plenty of room to turn around in. If the box is too small, your cat simply won’t use it and will eliminate elsewhere. But if the litter box is too big, you may also have a problem as a small kitten may not be able to physically hop into it.
Medium, or standard-sized boxes are best for both kittens and cats.
Location is Everything
Never put your cat’s litter box next to her food bowl or bed. Cats do not like to eliminate where they eat or sleep. Instead, put the litter box in a quiet low-traffic area, such as in a spare bathroom.
Type of Litter to Use
This is all about preference – both for you and your kitten. Cats, by nature, dig and scratch in soft soil outside, often burying their waste. The litter you provide substitutes for the dirt found in the yard. There are a number of litter materials to choose from, including clay-type litters and those made from plant materials. Some cats will refuse to eliminate on certain substrates while others prefer different materials for urination and defecation. It’s all a matter of tastes.
Clay is a good absorbent of moisture and odor and a reasonable substitute for fresh soil from the yard. Large granular clay, though economical and absorbent, is often dusty and tracks about the house. Small granular “clumping” litters (also made of clay) have become popular recently due to their excellent absorbency, clumping properties – which lead to the formation of firm balls when moistened – and their ease of disposal. These litters also make litter boxes easier to keep clean.
Keep it Clean
A clean litter box is a MUST. You kitten will simply refuse to step for inside the litter box if it’s smelly and dirty. Clean it daily, change the litter often… and invest in INEXPENSIVE litter box pads. Our Breathe Free Litterbox Mate litter pads are 100% guaranteed to eliminate litter box odor and bacteria – or your money back.
With a little guidance and TLC, your new kitten will be litter box trained in no time!
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