Toothbrushing is just not in a cat's bag of tricks. With a little inducement, though, there are products that will get your cat to clean her own teeth without even realizing it!
Toys with uneven surfaces are good choices for a cat's teeth. Rough surfaces are the best, but as cat owners, we know that a cat's attention is not necessarily determined by the surface of a toy.
That's where inducement comes into play. Yes, I mean catnip. Or silver vine (aka matatabi). Or valerian root. Or tatarian honeysuckle. Whatever works to get your cat crazy enough to play with a toy that rubs his teeth and gums.
We all know about catnip, which you can purchase in many variations. But about 50 percent of cats don't react to catnip in any variation. There are alternatives to catmip that might make your kitty excited about his toys - especially those toys that help remove plaque from his teeth and gums. It's worth a try; he'll have a lot of fun with these toys and you will save big bucks by not needing as many visits to the vet's office for teeth cleaning.
Here are some of kitty's favorite stimulants and dental toys.
Nepeta cataria, or catnip (called 'catmint' as well), is one of a cat's biggest joys - at least for about 50 percent of cats.
Meowijuana is my cat's favorite catnip. It is dried from fresh premium catnip grown in the U.S. Meowijuana produces many cuts of catnip, some mixed with soothing plants such as lavender and passion flower. It comes in bud, leaf, and ground forms, as a spray, and even food treats, like Crunchy Munchies (Salmon, Tuna, and Chicken) that are good for your cat's teeth - just don't over feed them.
For kittens, you might consider getting one of PetStages' dental toys, like the Plaque Away Pretzel.
This toy already has catnip infused within its stuffing and it is covered with a cotton mesh that is abrasive to your kitty's teeth.
For adult cats I recommend toys that are a bit more abrasive for your cat's teeth, like the rope toys that are made mostly for dogs, like this PetPuppy Elephant Rope Toy made of 100 percent cotton.
Any cotton rope toy that's made for puppies might also be good for a cat about 8 months or above. Just make sure you use an enticing catnip sprinkle or any one of the powders or leaves included below.
2. Silver Vine (Matatabi)
Is this cat happy, or what?
That's a Meowy Janes Matatabi Chew Stick and a cat that just may be in heaven!
Silver vine, or matatabi, as it is otherwise known, is grown in China and Japan. It is the vine of the plant that excites many cats, and after the original excitement your cat enjoys from the silver vine, a nice calm, maybe even sleep, will follow. Silver vine is also used medicinally for people with many symptoms from arthritis to anxiety.
Matatabi is said to be three times more powerful than cat nip, and many cats who don't appreiciate cat nip, will love matatabi.
You can purchase matatabi in chew stick form (image above) which acts as an abrasive to your cat's teeth as she chews it, doing a pretty good job at removing tartar. You will have to keep an eye on your cat as she chews the sticks in case there are any sharp break offs. You can usually dull those with a file, but make sure to thoroughly clean the chew stick after filing.
Alternatively, you can buy a ground or powdered version of silver vine, like the Meowy Janes Silvervine Powder for Cats.
Silver vine powder can be used like loose catnip, as a sprinkle over your cat's toys to interest her.
Twin Critters makes silver vine chew sticks as well as ground silver vine in its Organic Silver Vine Lollipops Catnip Matatabi Sticks, seen below:
And look at these fun and artistic Twin Critters Organic Silver Vine Mice Lollipop Matatabi Sticks:
You won't need toys to put these cat Lollipops in; they are toys!
3. Valerian Root
Valerian is an herb commonly found in Europe and Asia. Its root is used medicinally for relaxation and sleep in humans, and it can make your cat sleepy too, after he’s played himself out.
Meowy Janes Valerian Root is ground coarsely, for stuffing into toys or sprinkling on your cat’s favorite sisal or rope toys.
This toy is made of silicone and it has openings on the bottom for any of the cat-stimulating leaves, stems, or powders. You can even put treats in them.
I would wrap small grinds and powders with a piece of fine mesh or other porous material - these teabags are great - so that the odors are released. Make sure the toy doesn’t have hanging parts your cat can easily chew off and swallow!
To refresh these natural scents in of any of your cat’s toys, you can massage the toy with your fingers; you should do this often. If your kitty has stopped responding, take the toy away for a few days, and replace the herbs.
When reading reviews of the dental toys, watch out for those that are too positive. All cats don’t like all toys and all cats don’t like all kinds of stimulating herbs. Also, look for answers to questions that are written by customers, not so much the manufacturer.
4. Tatarian Honeysuckle
Though native to eastern Asia, this herb also grows in the midwestern region of the U.S. Though some consider its bushes invasive, they are beautiful and, besides, cats love their branches. Though we seldom hear of this flowering vine as an alternative to catnip, one study suggests feline response to it is greater than catnip.
SKE Tatarian Honeysuckle Fine Wood Chips/Dust comes from Michigan-grown tatarian honeysuckle. Like the other cat stimulants, it should be hidden within your cats’ toys and not eaten or ingested.
5. Herb Mixes
If one or more varieties of herbs don’t stimulate chewing in your cat, you might try a blend. Most of the blends, like those below, are mixed with catnip.
Though not a toothbrush toy, SKE makes a Refillable Mouse Toy with 1/8 oz. of Your Choice of 5 Different Cat "Drugs"...
If you want to give your kitty a great gift, Meowy Janes Catnip Alternative Variety Box has all these herbs for your cat to try.
Just find a U.S. sourced, fresh herb inducement and a perfect cat toy that doubles as a toothbrush, and your cat won’t notice that her teeth are getting clean!
That's the buzz for today!