Is Your Cat Getting More and More Chubby?

This is Raja, our overweight cat!

Raja started out a reasonably svelte 12 lbs when we got her from a local shelter at age 7. Then, barely 2 years later, she was up to a hefty 15 lbs!

Diet cat foods were no help. Then, I happened to read a book: "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it changed everything.

We invite you to follow our quest for a healthy weight-loss plan for this funny, personable and very talkative cat.

Hopefully, together we can help all our cats live healthier and thinner lives!

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2008-06-03

Does Dry Food Clean Your Cat's Teeth? Truth vs Myth

Cat with tootbrushI have received email questions about wet cat food vs dry cat food and keeping a cat's teeth clean, so I thought I'd mention my findings about this issue. Up until last April, I didn't have any concrete evidence yet with our cat, Raja, that a total wet food diet was good or bad for her teeth.

Since we took her to the vet in April, I am happy to report that after nearly 8 months on a wet food diet, her teeth are the same as her last yearly vet visit. I pretty much expected this result because according to Dr. Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M. in her book: Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life the idea that dry food will clean your cat's teeth is simply a myth perpetuated by the pet food industry.

Here's an excerpt from that chapter:

"Myth #4: Dry Cat Food Cleans a Cat's Teeth... While this idea has a momentary appeal, the truth is that the evidence in practice refutes this idea. Today, most cats eat dry cat food, yet veterinarians continue to see tremendous numbers of patients with serious dental and periodontal disease. Clearly, these diets are not protective against these conditions..."

"In fact, dry kibble, like human snack foods, becomes a very sticky paste when mixed with saliva in the mouth, and adheres to the teeth and gums to a greater extent than does wet food, which is swallowed more completely after chewing. The processed carbohydrates and sugar in the dry kibble paste can then support bacterial growth... If anything, dry foods may even promote plaque and tartar formation, with the resultant gum disease and enamel erosion." (emphasis is mine)

So, it looks like feeding wet cat food will delay the onset of dental and periodontal disease, but what about brushing? We all know we're supposed to brush our cat's teeth, but how many of our pets will let us? I know Raja won't, we've tried!

Here's an article I just found that describes a way to do it that sounds like it might just work:
Brushing Your Cat's Teeth: (from Cat's International website)

"The steps involved in getting your cat to accept having his teeth brushed is much like the gentle and gradual process involved in introducing him to nail-clipping. Long before the toothbrush is ever brought out, Kitty must be comfortable sitting on your lap while you tenderly massage his mouth and lip area. (You can sneak this into your petting session.)

When your cat is comfortable with the muzzle handling, then start to rub the teeth and gums with your index finger. (Be sure your fingernails do not poke into the sensitive gums!) It is best to start with the canines (fangs) and those teeth just behind them.

If Kitty is OK with this then you can wrap a piece of cheesecloth around your finger. If will probably be more acceptable to Kitty if it is smeared with something delicious. Some cats like the taste of the poultry toothpaste that is formulated especially for cats. Do not attempt to open Kitty's mouth until he is completely comfortable with these steps.

Some very relaxed kitties will accept the introduction of a finger toothbrush (made especially for pets) or a 2-row child's toothbrush into his mouth, but don't push it. Every step of this procedure should be positive and accompanied by praise and rewards. Any impatience on the owner's part will only delay the successful performance of this procedure.

If you don't think you have what it takes, then it is better to let your veterinarian take care of your cat's dental hygiene."

Please let me know how this works for you or if you have any other ideas for cleaning kitty's teeth. Thanks!

So there you have it. Yet another problem caused by dry cat food solved by switching to canned food!

When will pet food makers catch on? They won't until we stop buying dry food and start demanding high quality low-carbohydrate wet food instead.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox, for now at least...

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I've read a report by a feline veterinarian that the dental health of your cat's teeth are more likely to depend on genetics than on the food you feed your cat!

    ReplyDelete

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