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As I understand it, cleaning cats' teeth is something that should be done at least every few years. I have some kitties who tend to get a plaque build-up on the enamel of their teeth, which I can get off with my fingernail. Others refuse to let me in their mouth, and I have no recourse but to have their teeth cleaned professionally. I know a woman with an Abyssinian who brushed that cat's teeth every night. She said that the Abby's were known for bad (weak) teeth because of the intense inbreeding. She said she'd been doing it since he was a kitten, so he didn't know any different and didn't put up a fuss. I have yet to have a kitty just lay there while I tried to brush his or her teeth... (And frankly, I have yet to gag at the smell of that awful meat flavored toothpaste...)

You can technically not have a cat's teeth cleaned, but chances of their running into problems later are increased. They wind up needing to have teeth pulled, or other dental work done (one of my friends had to have a root canal done for his Persian).

According to what I've read, if they eat a lot of hard food (the crunchies) and not a lot of soft (canned) food, the need for cleaning is less frequent, as the hard food helps clean their teeth.

TMF Psyche

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