As I mentioned in a previous post, Clem gets really bad anxiety (which is bad because it could give him a UTI). Introducing new things into his routine takes A LOT of time and patience.
According to the VCA, cats are just like us when it comes to dental care - they need their teeth brushed daily to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation. Without this care, cats can develop periodontal disease.
Getting him used to a tooth brush was no easy task, but it was sooo worth it. When he was a kitten, I made sure to get him used to me touching his mouth with a toothbrush. It’s important to do this super super slowly and with his consent so he didn’t form a negative association. Next, I put a little bit of of the toothpaste on the brush, and let him get comfortable with the smell. Eventually I began to lift him onto my lap, and gently brush his front teeth. Gradually, as he became more used to the sensation, he let me brush all of his teeth. He’s pretty good about it now, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that his toothpaste is chicken flavored :)
When it comes to brushing/washing your cat, the research is kind of all over the place. Certain breeds of cats (I.e. any with long hair) definitely require more frequent grooming than a cat like Clem. Personally I brush Clem once or twice a week. Once again, we do this on a consent basis. I lift Clem into my lap when he’s in a good mood, and then I put on the grooming mitt and let him sniff it. I only start when he’s content/calm; sometimes, he sniffs the mitt and jumps right off me, but that’s ok! That’s just him telling me he’s not ready to be brushed just yet.
I have only ever bathed Clem once at the advice of a veterinarian, but it was really stressful for him because he HATES water. I could definitely do the same gentle training that I did with the toothbrush and the mitt, but it’s not really worth it for us since most healthy adult cats don’t needs baths. Instead, when I notice something stuck in his fur, I use the Burt’s Bee’s waterless cat wipes. Once again, I go in very gently and on a consent basis.