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Dental Care for an Adorable, Grumpy Kitty

This is Mr. Meowgi, but at home, we call him Mowgers. I brought this little judgy ball of fur home about 3 1/2 years ago when my husband told me to go ahead and get a cat if I was ready. I had lost the most wonderful cat ever during my last week of veterinary school, and was ready to fill the void, but I needed the right cat to “speak to me”. Apparently tiny baby Mowgers spoke to me - a 4-week-old stray, with some head trauma.

So angry. So small

I’m a sucker for cats with facial and head trauma- no normal faced cats in this home. Mowgers has been an interesting cat. He hates me. He loves my husband. I hate that he loves my husband. I watch them have “moments”. According to my husband (who, keep in mind, has never had a cat before), Mowgers sometimes purrs when he holds him. The only sound Mowgers makes when I hold him is a nice deep growl, sometimes with a high-pitched whine thrown in. Thank goodness his face is just the best thing ever- because me and this cat do not have a loving relationship.

Mowgers and his baby brother, Phil

For some reason one day while Mowgers allowed me semi-close to him, I decided to check his teeth. I have no idea why - the only interaction I’d had with his teeth before was when he was biting me for no good reason. But I’m a veterinarian, so I have a habit of doing some random palpations and physical exams to animals that I meet, even outside of work. Seriously, my mother asks me if I’m “palpating” her dog every time I pet him.

Anyway, back to the stupidly, brave move I made to check Mowgers’ teeth. Much to my surprise, my young, healthy, grump face had tartar! And a lot of it! Now I had a decision to make- ignore this finding or be a big girl and deal with it.

Offending tartar. In the middle of his tooth, cause why would we do anything normal?

I’m going to be a big girl and deal with it. I think (hey- it’s scary!). I know Mowgers needs a dental exam. I know he must not have been blessed with the best dental genes, and they saved them all for whatever DNA combo created that face. I know as a veterinarian that doing a dental exam now, when he’s younger, is the right thing to do. It will be a quicker procedure, and hopefully set him up for a healthier mouth for a much longer time. I know that if I continue to wait (I’ve already waited a year since I found THE TARTAR), Mowgers will be living in discomfort.

Bet you can imagine how much he loves me doing this.

Our pets are braver any given day than we are, especially when dealing with discomfort. They hide things so very well- they rarely cry, and they keep eating even when their mouths are septic tanks. But just because they are eating and seem happy, doesn’t mean that mouth isn’t uncomfortable.

I’m going to schedule that dental exam. I’m going to be nervous all day just as any of you would be- it’s scary to have your pet have a procedure. I know I’m doing the right thing for him, and while I may not be able to turn that frown upside down, I may be able to salvage his teeth so he can bite me for so many more years. I’m going to trust the dental team - I know they take their jobs making healthy mouths so seriously. I know they will treat Mowgers as their own and be diligent and make the right decisions for him and me.

I’m going to keep you all abreast of the journey of Mowgers (and his crazy veterinarian mom) and his dental care. Perhaps following him will encourage you to be brave just like me and choosing to move forward with dental care for your pet.