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Video: Richmond couple designing their own cat toothbrush and toothpaste

After paying for expensive dental surgery for one of their three cats, Samantha McConnell and Melanie Eng discovered a dearth of cat-specific products

A Richmond couple has responded to what they believe is a gaping gap in the pet supply market – by designing their own cat toothbrush and toothpaste.

Samantha McConnell and Melanie Eng have three cats of their own in Henry, Jasper and Rylie.

And when they found out after a routine check-up at the vets that one of them, Henry, needed expensive surgery for a rotten tooth, the pair started paying closer attention to the dental care of all three of their “children.”

Products designed more for dogs, than cats

It was only then that the couple say they discovered how limited the choice was when it came to brushes and paste specifically designed for cats.

“There’s lot of pet dental products, but most are geared towards dogs and typically dogs are much larger than cats,” explained McConnell, who’s ironically a registered nurse in dental anesthesia – for humans.

“The really small toothbrushes are still too big for cats and likely cause pain and discomfort…it’s a bit like trying to brush your teeth with TV remote.”

So, they set about designing their own cat toothbrushes and invested a ton of savings into the initial design phase, before kicking off a crowd-funder earlier this week to take the project to the “plastic injection” stage.

Cat toothpaste still a work in progress

“That’s the costly part. We needed the crowdfunding to take it to the next level,” added McConnell, who founded RYERCAT along with Eng.

“We’re still working on the toothpaste as there are more hoops to jump through. We also need more cashflow for the toothpaste.

“Every toothpaste on the market right now is geared towards cats and dogs and the problem with that is that, anatomically-speaking, their receptors to taste are very different. Cats cannot taste sweet.

“Most of the toothpastes are full of sugar to make it taste nice for dogs, but that actually really upsets a cat’s tummy. And some of the ingredients have cancer-causing issues with cats.

“We thought this is ridiculous, so set about making our own.”

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