Purrfect nose, ears and teeth!
Though a cat is very good at grooming herself, it is pet parents’ duty to take care of her nose, ears and teeth.
Care for the nose…
It is very rare that the nose of a cat needs any special attention. A healthy cat will not have a runny nose and it is usually quite moist. This is mainly because the cat frequently licks its nose but it can be due to the fact that a cat’s tears will flow through the lacrimal ducts (Increased lacrimation can sometimes cause lack of vision – talk to your veterinarian about that). Cats with a congested nose should be taken to the veterinarian as soon as the congestion is noticed. In some breeds with short noses, such as Persians, a nasal secretion can form or create crustiness at the edge of the nostrils. This can be removed with a cotton bud or soft cloth soaked in cool boiled water. Do this for as long as the secretion is seen.
Care for the ears…
Ears should be touched as little as possible and no more than once a week using a soft cotton bud and very carefully and slowly move the cotton bud in the ear to remove any build up of wax. Do not push the cotton bud too deeply into the ear. This wax does not need to be removed too often as it can encourage the wax to build up. If you are a little nervous about cleaning your cat’s ears then next time you visit the veterinarian get her to show you how to clean the ears. Your vet will usually check the ears whenever he sees your cat so you can be aware that there are no problems.
Start early: One solution is to limit tartar by cleaning the cat’s teeth but that exercise needs to be started at a very young age so the cat becomes very calm and at ease when this is done.
Tools needed: A soft tooth brush is better than a very hard one – and again – your vet can show you the best way to clean the teeth. Human toothpaste is not suitable but some special cat toothpaste has been developed.
Bad breath: The cat has a carnivorous diet – often mainly meat – and this can create an odour to its breath that is not always pleasant. The odour needs to be distinguished between bad breath and damaged teeth. Some cats suffering with a kidney problem can develop bad breath that is different to the diet the cat is given.
Tartar problem: Tartar that accumulates on the teeth from decomposing food debris can damage the teeth and gums. Tartar can build up and create a real and very unpleasant problem for the cat.
Take care of food: Cats who are fed large amounts of soft food can develop poor teeth and gums and that is why it is wise to feed your cat some dry food that needs more chewing and helps to remove any tartar from the teeth.
Regular vet visits: From time to time – especially as the cat ages – regular cleaning and scaling under a light general anaesthetic by the veterinarian should be considered from time to time. We all know what a bad tooth ache is like – very painful and unpleasant – and it is just the same for your cat. So, take care of your cat’s oral hygiene too!
(Joan E Henderson is based in Australia and she has judged furry felines in many other countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand.)