Brushing a Cat’s Teeth

Can you brush a cat’s teeth?  Would a cat even let you?  These are questions that I asked myself when I started to care for Pinky.  Being a first-time cat mom, I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything that I could to ensure a healthy and happy life for my cat.  Growing up, I remember my parents had purchased a little toothbrush and tube of special toothpaste for our dogs, so I figured that it might be a good idea to do the same for Pinky.

As you can imagine, it is not easy to brush a cat’s teeth.  A cat’s mouth is small and most pet toothbrushes are too large to maneuver in between the cheeks and teeth.  Cats are also much harder to train to stay still while brushing.  Despite these challenges, I was determined to provide some oral care for Pinky, thus when she was a few months old, I went to the local pet store and bought a tooth brushing kit.  The toothpaste is supposedly salmon flavored and I quickly discovered that it would be nearly impossible to brush Pinky’s teeth with toothpaste on the brush–all she wanted to do was lick it off!  Instead, I began training her to accept just the brush sans toothpaste, and used the paste as a reward when we had finished.  Patience really is key in this process, and for the first several weeks the most I could do was quickly lift up a lip, expose a canine and give it a little swipe with the bristles.  It took a few of months of this (brushing her teeth a few times a week) for her to let me start to pull back her cheeks to expose her back teeth, and that is where we are now.

So it goes something like this: I hold up her toothbrush and her toothpaste, calling for her to come.  Pinky will come trotting over and I lift her up into my lap so she is sitting down reclining on her back, supporting her body with my legs.  Then without adding any toothpaste to the brush, I first give a few swipes to her canines on both sides making sure to pause in between each side to rub her head.  Then I gently pull back her cheek and try to get her back teeth.

Pinky loves her toothpaste!
Pinky loves her toothpaste!
She gives me about three seconds before she starts pulling her head away, and then I do the other side.  Once we are done, I squeeze out some toothpaste onto the toothbrush and let her lick it off.  It really isn’t that hard and doesn’t take more than a minute or two.  I hope that in time, she will become even more tolerant and allow me to brush all of her teeth long enough to make a real impact on her health!

Armarkat Cat Tree Product Review

Before Pinky arrived, one of the most important items on my list of supplies to purchase was a tall cat tree.  Devon Rexes like to climb and be high up so I wanted a tree that was tall, sturdy, and also attractive.  Most of the cat trees that I saw in the pet stores were dark and rough, so I took my search online.

Amarkat Cat Tree

The Armarkat Cat Tree comes in several colors, varying heights, and multiple configurations.  I chose the ivory cat tree with just one cubby and an abundance of scratching surfaces.  The tree arrived in a very heavy box and it is a good idea to have a second person available to help assemble it.  The instructions that come with the tree are easy to understand and each part is labeled with a letter to make it clear what goes where.  It only took about 30 minutes to set up.

I’ve had this cat tree for nearly a year and a half now, and it has held up wonderfully to Pinky’s climbing.  There is very little visible wear and tear–the carpeted surfaces still look like new and there is just a bit of fraying of the ropes.  Pinky uses this exclusively to scratch and has never once attempted to scratch other household furniture.  I put a soft blanket inside the cat cubby and put a small round basket on the top shelf.  When the weather is warm she sleeps on top shelf and when it is cold she snuggles up in the cat cubby.

Playtime on the cat tree
Playtime on the cat tree

I am very satisfied with this cat tree.  It is reasonably priced at under $100, and not only has it held up to Pinky’s mad dashes to the top, but it is also aesthetically pleasing. So if you are looking for a tree for your cat, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this brand!


The Always Hungry Devon Rex

When I was researching the Devon Rex breed, I came across mention of them being “food hounds”.  My childhood cats seemed to have a normal appetite and were never really interested in human food, so I thought this description meant that Devon Rexes were only slightly more interested in eating than average.  How wrong I was!  These next few snippets may provide some insight into life with an always hungry Devon Rex.

  • Due to allergies (see my earlier post on this issue here), Pinky doesn’t sleep in the bedroom at night.  Instead, she has a nice comfy cat tree right outside the bedroom door.  Every morning around 7:00 AM, Pinky starts walking back and forth in front of the front of the door, meowing as if to say, “Feed me, feed me!”  Once I walk out, I give her a loving stroke on her head and then go to the kitchen to get her breakfast ready.  She trots along happily behind me and then jumps up on the counter to watch.  She can hardly contain herself and always steals bites as I’m scooping it in.
  • Mmmm cooking oil
    Mmmm cooking oil

    I always have to be careful when I am cooking in the kitchen because Pinky normally hops up on the counter to watch what I am doing.  She is getting better about this, but a few months it ago it was really difficult to cook when I had to constantly fend off attempts to sniff or lick all the ingredients!  I also have to be diligent about cleaning up after cooking otherwise I will find her sitting in the wok licking the sides or standing in the sink licking plates.

  • If only I could fit my head in!
    If only I could fit my head in!

    Peacefully enjoying a snack is not easy with a hungry Devon Rex around!  Pinky especially likes potato chips and she will try to snatch them out of my hand as I take them out of the bag or bring them to my mouth.  If I accidentally drop one, she will be on it immediately, holding it down with her paw and licking the flavoring or simply eating it if the piece is small enough.

So that’s some of the behavior you might expect if you get a Devon Rex! I’ve nearly given up trying to keep her off the counters or away from us while we are eating.  If anyone has any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Devon Rex and Allergies

Looks beautiful, but sure to make me sneeze!

I have had allergies for as long as I can remember.  I am allergic to dust mites, pollen, certain types of grasses and trees, rabbits, hamsters, cats and dogs.  To deal with the year-round allergy symptoms, I take an over the counter allergy medication and have been doing so for years.  Even though I may at times sneeze, have a stuffy nose or itchy eyes, I couldn’t imagine giving up having pets.

When I moved away from home and was in a position to have a pet of my own, I began researching the Devon Rex cat.  This was a breed that had intrigued me ever since I saw one live at a cat show when I was nine years old.  I read that sometimes allergy sufferers can cope better with a Devon Rex because of their short fur, and descriptions of how this breed is very human oriented made them very appealing to me.  After a few weeks of researching and looking for breeders online I finally found one with a litter coming soon and in a few months I became the proud parent of an adorable white Devon Rex that I named Pinky.

In order to live comfortably with her, there are a few rules that I try to follow:

  • Vacuum the house once a week. This is probably something that I should do even if I didn’t have a cat, but I’ve found that it is especially helpful with allergies and definitely makes the floor look cleaner.  The one I have is this, and it gives me great satisfaction to see all the dust, dirt and hair that is collected in the wind tunnel when I am done.
  • Shower her two to three times a month with anti-allergen cat shampoo.  She smells so clean after her showers and since I started her when she was a kitten she accepts bath time without too much complaining.
  • Keep her out of the bedroom when I am sleeping.  As much as I love to sleep with Pinky curled up next to me under the blankets, I’ve found that keeping her outside the bedroom at night helps with my symptoms.  She has a nice tall and cozy cat tree right outside the bedroom door and I give her a treat on her tree every night when it is time for her to go sleep.  In the mornings she waits patiently in front of the door letting out a few meows here and there until I get up and open the door.

Although I will never be fully free of my allergy symptoms simply because I am allergic to many items that I am often exposed to, I’ve found that following the above rules diligently has helped me be able to enjoy the love and companionship that pet ownership provides.

Pinky the Devon Rex Says “Hello, World!”

Happy Birthday, Pinky the Devon Rex!
Happy Birthday, Pinky!

Hello everyone, and welcome to Cat Cubby! I would like to take a moment to introduce Pinky, my Devon Rex cat. Pinky recently turned one year old and is the first cat that I can truly call my own. She came to me all the way from Michigan in June 2015. I had been interested in the Devon Rex breed ever since I saw one at a cat show I attended in the fourth grade and it only took me 16 years to finally get one! I have completely fallen in love with this breed’s mischievous personality and endless affection and would like to share as much as I can about living with one. Thus, I started this blog to document our adventures together, so look out for the upcoming stories and product reviews 🙂 Enjoy!