The Complete Guide to Cat Teeth Cleaning: Creating Purr-fect Smiles

How to Clean Cats Teeth Guide

Has anyone told you brushing a cat’s teeth was like playing a game of Twister with a fur-ball filled with claws? No? Well, then let me introduce you to the reality of cat dental hygiene! It might sound like a challenge only for the bravest among us, but don’t worry. We’re here to arm you with knowledge (and a little humor) as you embark on this feline oral health adventure.

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Cats, unlike us, can’t brush their teeth twice a day, and they certainly can’t floss. But their dental health is just as important as ours. Cats can develop a variety of dental diseases that could lead to serious health issues if not addressed in time. The good news? You can prevent most of these issues with a proper teeth cleaning routine at home.

This guide’s recommendations result from our expert team’s thorough research, including user reviews, product specifications, and firsthand experiences. This rigorous process guarantees our reviews’ authenticity, guiding you to make informed decisions. Our reviews remain unbiased and credible; however, please note that we may earn an affiliate commission for purchases made through some of our links.

How to Clean Cats Teeth?

Cleaning your cat’s teeth involves regular brushing using cat-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush, providing dental health-promoting toys and treats, and scheduling regular dental check-ups with the vet. Consistency and patience are key to acclimate your cat to the process and achieve effective results.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Read on for a detailed guide packed with tips and product recommendations to help you keep your furry friend’s pearly whites in tip-top shape.

In this blog post, we’re diving headfirst into the world of how to clean cats teeth. Whether you’re a new cat parent trying to understand the ins and outs of feline dental care, or an experienced one looking to pick up a few new tricks, this guide is for you.

The Unspoken Importance of Cat Dental Health

Curious cat studying dental health infographic

Contrary to popular belief, those cute, tiny little chompers our feline friends sport are not immune to dental problems. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental College, by the age of three, most cats show signs of dental disease. Quite a staggering statistic, isn’t it?

Why Cat Teeth Cleaning Matters

So, why does cat teeth cleaning matter? Simply put, it’s an essential part of their overall health and well-being. Imagine the discomfort you feel when a pesky popcorn kernel gets stuck in your teeth. Now imagine that discomfort all the time, with no relief. That’s what a cat with poor dental health experiences.

Furthermore, dental diseases in cats are not only painful, they can also lead to other severe health issues like kidney disease and heart disease if left untreated. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs, creating systemic health problems. It’s a chain reaction, and unfortunately, the dominoes fall quite quickly.

So, when someone asks, “Is it necessary to clean cats teeth?” The answer is a resounding YES. Regular dental care is just as crucial for our furry companions as it is for us humans.

Brushing your cat’s teeth isn’t just an eccentric pet-parent habit! Regular cleaning can prevent oral diseases and pricey vet bills. #PetWellness 😺🪥

Common Dental Problems in Cats

Now, let’s dive into the common dental problems cats face:

  • Tooth Decay: Just like in humans, bacteria can lead to plaque formation in cats. Over time, this plaque hardens into tartar, leading to cavities and tooth decay.
  • Gingivitis: This inflammation of the gums is common in cats and can cause discomfort, difficulty in eating, and bad breath.
  • Periodontal Disease: When gingivitis isn’t addressed, it can progress to periodontal disease, affecting the tissues and structures supporting the teeth.

Now, let me tell you about Simba. Simba was a regal, orange tabby who ruled his domain with grace. His owners noticed he was eating less and was more lethargic than usual. A trip to the vet revealed severe gingivitis, which had led to a painful oral infection. The poor thing was in pain each time he tried to eat.

Luckily, Simba’s story has a happy ending. With proper medical intervention and a regular teeth cleaning routine put in place, he got back to his majestic self in no time.

Simba’s tale is a cautionary one – dental problems in cats are more common than we realize. A good dental routine can save your cat from discomfort and prevent unnecessary health complications.

Gearing Up: Preparing Your Cat and Yourself for Teeth Cleaning

Calm cat sitting beside cat teeth cleaning tools

Before we get our hands in the kitty’s mouth, let’s put ourselves in their paws. No, I don’t mean we start knocking random things off the table. I mean understanding how cats perceive teeth cleaning.

Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior

Cats are both predators and prey in the wild, and their behavior reflects this duality. When we try to clean their teeth, they may feel vulnerable, like a cornered mouse under the paws of a particularly curious cat.

Now, how do cats clean their teeth in the wild? Well, their ancestral diet consisted of prey, which provided a natural tooth cleaning service. Gnawing on the bones of their prey helped to keep their teeth clean. But our modern house cats don’t hunt (except for the elusive red dot), so they don’t have this natural teeth cleaning mechanism. Hence, we need to step in.

When introducing your cat to teeth cleaning, take it slow. Use lots of positive reinforcement and give your cat time to get used to the idea of having their teeth cleaned. Remember, their comfort is key to successful cat teeth cleaning.

Wild cats keep their teeth clean by gnawing on bones and grass. You can mimic this with toys, but nothing beats a good ol’ toothbrush! 🐱🦴#NaturalCatCare

Tools of The Trade: What You’ll Need

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why’ and ‘how’, let’s move on to the ‘what’. Here’s a list of items you’ll need to get started with cat teeth cleaning:

  1. Cat Toothpaste: Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which is poisonous to cats, so it’s important to use toothpaste specially designed for cats. These come in flavors like poultry or fish, which are more appealing to feline taste buds than minty freshness.
  2. Cat Toothbrush: Cat toothbrushes are smaller than human ones and designed to fit a cat’s mouth. Some can be slipped onto the tip of your finger for easier access and control.
  3. Dental Wipes: If your cat isn’t a fan of toothbrushes, dental wipes can be a good alternative. They’re gentle on the gums and effective at removing plaque.
  4. Dental Treats and Toys: These aren’t a replacement for brushing but can supplement your cat’s dental hygiene routine. They’re designed to help scrape off plaque as your cat chews on them.

Having the right tools can make the process of cleaning your cat’s teeth easier and more effective. Remember, it’s all about making it as comfortable as possible for your feline friend.

The Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Cats Teeth

Alright, my feline-fancying friends, we’ve come to the moment of truth, where the rubber meets the… gums? Here’s your foolproof, whisker-to-tail guide to getting those pearly whites gleaming. Don’t worry, it’s easier than herding cats, I promise!

  • Step 1: Laying The Groundwork

    Start by getting your cat used to having your fingers near their mouth. You can do this by rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger, while giving them lots of praise and maybe a treat. Do this for a few days until they’re comfortable with the process.

    Tip: Choose a quiet, relaxed time for this – maybe when they’re purring on your lap after a meal.

  • Step 2: Bringing In The Toothpaste

    Once your cat feels at ease with the first step, it’s time to bring in the cat toothpaste. Begin by dabbing a small amount onto your fingertip and allowing your feline friend to lick it off. After they’ve grown accustomed to the taste and texture, gently apply some directly onto their gums.

    Tip: Cat toothpaste comes in different flavors, so find one your kitty purrs for.

  • Step 3: Introducing The Toothbrush

    For a few days, let your cat sniff and play with the toothbrush to get used to it. Then, put a bit of toothpaste on the brush and let them lick it off. This will help them associate the toothbrush with the tasty paste.

    Tip: Never use a human toothbrush. They are too hard for your cat’s teeth and can cause injury.

  • Step 4: The Main Event

    Gently lift the corners of your cat’s mouth and brush one or two teeth at a time. Use small, circular motions and focus on the area where the tooth meets the gum. Start with the front teeth, then gradually include the back teeth over a few sessions.

    Tip: Most of the tartar builds up on the outer surfaces of the teeth, so focus there.

  • Step 5: Post-Brush Praise

    After each brushing session, give your cat plenty of praise and a dental-friendly treat. This will help them associate tooth brushing with positive experiences.

    Tip: Keep sessions short at first, then gradually lengthen them.

So there you have it! A detailed guide on how to brush your cat’s teeth. Remember, patience and consistency are key.

For our visual learners, here’s a highly informative video we’ve found that beautifully complements our step-by-step guide on how to clean your cat’s teeth. Sit back and enjoy!

Just look at the striking difference a little at-home care can make in this cat teeth cleaning ‘before and after’ image, courtesy of the Arm & Hammer Dental Kit. It shows us just how effective regular brushing can be, transforming a cat’s oral health significantly. With a bit of effort, your feline’s teeth can look this clean too!

Impressive cat teeth cleaning before and after results
Cat teeth cleaning before and after results from Arm & Hammer Dental Kit

Now, the pros of cat teeth cleaning are clear – healthier teeth and gums, fresher breath, and potentially avoiding painful and costly dental procedures down the line. But let’s not brush (pun absolutely intended) over the cons: some cats may find the process stressful, and it does require time and commitment from you. However, with gradual introduction and positive reinforcement, most cats will get used to it.

Pros of Cat Teeth CleaningCons of Cat Teeth Cleaning
Prevents Dental Diseases: Regular brushing helps prevent periodontal diseases, tooth decay, and other oral health issues in cats.Time-consuming: Cleaning your cat’s teeth thoroughly can take quite some time, especially if your cat is not used to it.
Promotes Fresh Breath: It helps get rid of foul-smelling breath in your feline friend.May cause stress to the cat: Some cats might find the process stressful, especially when they’re not used to having their teeth cleaned.
Saves Money: By taking care of your cat’s dental health at home, you can save on expensive vet bills for professional dental cleaning.Requires patience and consistency: It’s not a one-time thing; cat teeth cleaning needs to be done consistently to be effective.

Product Spotlight: Top Cat Teeth Cleaning Products

In the world of cat teeth cleaning, not all products are created equal. Just as you wouldn’t use sandpaper for a facial, you wouldn’t hand your cat just any old toothbrush or toothpaste. So let’s delve into the jungle of cat oral care products, and spotlight the cream of the crop!

The Best Cat Toothbrushes and Toothpastes

First off, let’s talk about toothbrushes and toothpastes. These are your main tools in the fight against tartar and bad breath.

  1. Petrodex Dental Kit for Cats, Malt Flavor – This dental kit features a long, angled toothbrush perfectly designed to reach those tricky corners of your cat’s mouth. Its soft bristles ensure a gentle cleaning experience for your feline friend. The kit comes with a palatable malt-flavored toothpaste that even the pickiest of cats will find hard to resist. On the downside, some cats may not be fans of the malt flavor, but with persistence, they can learn to tolerate, if not enjoy, it.
  2. Arm & Hammer Cat & Kitten Dental Kit with Tuna Flavor Toothpaste – This kit packs a punch with its double-headed brush design, which allows for thorough cleaning of both small and large teeth. The tuna-flavored enzymatic toothpaste helps break down tartar and reduces bad breath. However, the double-headed brush may be a bit too big for kittens or cats with smaller mouths.

When it comes to cat dental gels, the TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care Gel for Cats is a standout product. It requires no brushing – just apply it to your cat’s teeth and gums, and its natural ingredients will work to break down plaque and tartar. This is a fantastic option for those cats who really can’t stand a toothbrush, but it may not provide as thorough a clean as traditional brushing.

TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care Gel for Cats
Choosing the right tools for your cat’s oral care is a game-changer. Cats can’t spit, so pet-friendly toothpaste is a must! #PetCareTips 🐾

Cat Teeth Cleaning Treats and Water Additives

Sometimes, brushing alone isn’t enough, or it’s simply not an option if your cat flatly refuses it. In such cases, cat teeth cleaning treats and water additives can be a great help.

  1. Greenies Dental Cat Treats – These treats are a firm favorite among feline aficionados. Not only do they help reduce tartar buildup, but they also freshen your cat’s breath. The crunchy texture helps clean teeth, and they come in flavors that cats love. However, like all treats, they should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
  2. Dental Fresh Oral Hygiene Solution Water Additive for Cats – This tasteless and odorless solution can be added to your cat’s water to help freshen breath and prevent gum disease. It’s a great way to supplement your cat’s dental care without the fuss of brushing. On the flip side, some cats may be picky about changes to their water, so introduction might take a bit of time.

So there you have it – the toothbrushes, toothpastes, gels, treats, and additives that are leading the charge in the battle for your cat’s dental health.

Beyond Brushing: Alternatives to Brushing Cats Teeth

Cat enjoying teeth cleaning toy as alternative to brushing

Let’s be honest, brushing your cat’s teeth might not always be a walk in the park. Even with the best tools and techniques, there will be days when your cat gives you that look that says, “No way, human!” and scurries off into the nearest hiding place. So, what do you do on those days? How do you keep those pearly whites clean? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Let’s explore how to clean your cat’s teeth naturally and without brushing.

How to Keep Cats Teeth Clean Without Brushing

Just because you’re not brushing doesn’t mean your cat’s dental care needs to be compromised. There are plenty of ways to maintain those chompers without causing a hissy fit.

  1. Dental Diets: Just as you’d eat an apple to naturally clean your teeth, there are cat foods designed to do the same. These diets have larger kibble pieces designed to clean the teeth as your cat chews. They also contain ingredients that help break down tartar and plaque.
  2. Raw Bones: Cats in the wild clean their teeth by gnawing on their prey’s bones. While this might not be feasible in your home (and certainly not appealing), you can offer your domestic cat raw chicken necks or wings under supervision. They not only help clean the teeth but also provide mental stimulation.
  3. Water Additives: As discussed earlier, water additives can be an excellent choice for those cats who aren’t fans of the toothbrush. They’re odorless and tasteless, making them undetectable to most felines.
  4. Herbs: Certain herbs like parsley and mint are known to freshen breath and can be added to your cat’s diet. They won’t replace brushing, but they can provide some minor benefits and make your cat’s breath more pleasant.
  5. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is antimicrobial and can help clean your cat’s mouth. A small dab of oil can be added to your cat’s food. However, it’s high in calories, so use it sparingly.

Are Cat Teeth Cleaning Toys Effective?

Just as a child might use a teething toy, cats can benefit from dental toys designed to clean their teeth as they play. Such toys are made of materials that are slightly abrasive, helping to scrub away plaque as your cat chews. However, these cat chew toys should never be seen as a replacement for regular teeth cleaning, but rather an excellent addition to a well-rounded dental care routine.

As for the question, “Can I pick plaque off cats teeth?” – I wouldn’t recommend it. While it might be tempting to pick off visible plaque, you could accidentally damage your cat’s gums or teeth. Always consult with a vet if you’re unsure about any aspect of your cat’s dental health.

Remember, the goal is to keep your cat’s teeth clean and its gums healthy while making sure it feels comfortable and safe. Alternatives to brushing can help maintain your cat’s oral health, but brushing remains the gold standard in feline dental care.

Maintaining Your Cat’s Dental Health: Preventive Measures and Diet

Cat eating dental health-promoting diet

Good dental health doesn’t stop with the toothbrush or the alternative solutions we’ve discussed. It’s an ongoing effort, and maintaining your cat’s dental health requires vigilance, consistency, and a dash of creativity. Let’s dig into the ways diet, toys, and habits can all contribute to maintaining your furry friend’s sparkling smile.

Diet: A Cornerstone of Cat Dental Health

Much like us humans, a cat’s diet can significantly influence its dental health. So, what food cleans cat teeth?

  1. Dental Diet Foods: As mentioned earlier, some cat foods are specially designed to promote dental health. These foods often have larger kibble that requires your cat to chew, helping to mechanically clean the teeth.
  2. Raw Bones: Again, supervised chewing on raw chicken bones can help scrape off plaque naturally. Never use cooked bones as they can splinter and cause injury.
  3. Fresh Meat: Fresh chunks of meat require a cat to chew thoroughly, helping clean the teeth in the process.

A study shows that a cat’s diet plays a significant role in its oral health. Specifically, young or adult cats on a dry diet have healthier teeth compared to older cats on a wet diet. The study also highlights that cheek teeth (molars and premolars) are more prone to dental issues, regardless of the cat’s age.

While it’s crucial to understand that diet plays a substantial role in maintaining dental health, it’s not the magic bullet for every dental issue your pet may face. A balanced approach that combines a diet suitable for dental health, regular dental checkups, and good oral hygiene practices at home will provide a more comprehensive solution for ensuring your pet’s optimal dental health.

Toys and Habits: Encouraging Dental Health Through Play

Toys can be a fantastic way to subtly promote dental health while providing your cat with plenty of entertainment. Dental toys designed for cats, like the ones we discussed earlier, can be beneficial. When choosing a toy, look for ones that are durable and encourage active chewing.

Habits, on the other hand, can be a bit trickier to form. Consistency is the name of the game here. Making dental care a routine part of your cat’s day can have a significant impact on its dental health. Set a specific time for teeth cleaning, and stick to it. Eventually, it’ll become second nature.

Preventive Measures: Keeping Dental Problems at Bay

Prevention is better than cure, and this saying applies aptly to cat dental health.

  1. Regular Vet Check-ups: Regular vet check-ups are crucial to catching dental issues early. Your vet can perform a thorough dental examination and recommend any necessary treatments.
  2. Daily Teeth Cleaning: Brushing your cat’s teeth daily, or at least several times a week, is ideal. Consistency is essential here.
  3. Healthy Diet and Adequate Hydration: A balanced diet and fresh, clean water can work wonders on your cat’s dental health.
  4. Monitoring Dental Health: Watch for signs of dental issues like bad breath, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, or changes in eating habits. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, get your cat to a vet ASAP.

So, there you have it! Diet, toys, habits, and preventive measures all play vital roles in maintaining your cat’s dental health. With the right approach and commitment, you’ll have a cat with a winning smile and fresh breath, making those kitty kisses even more enjoyable.

Professional Help: When and Why to Seek It

Examining a cat's teeth at the vet

No matter how vigilant we are with our feline friends’ dental care, there are times when professional help is inevitable. Certain dental issues can be beyond our ability to address at home, requiring the skilled hands of a veterinarian. Let’s unravel when and why you might need to seek professional help.

Recognizing the Signs for Professional Help

Cats are masterful at hiding pain, which makes it challenging to know when they’re suffering from dental problems. Some signs indicating the need for professional help include:

  1. Bad breath: While no cat’s breath smells like a bouquet of flowers, exceptionally foul odor can indicate an underlying issue.
  2. Change in eating habits: If your cat suddenly shows reluctance to eat, especially hard food, it could be experiencing dental pain.
  3. Visible tartar or plaque: If you notice brownish-yellow deposits, especially near the gum line, your cat likely needs professional cleaning.
  4. Red, swollen gums or bleeding: These are signs of gingivitis and should be addressed by a veterinarian promptly.
  5. Loss of teeth or loosening of teeth: This could signal severe periodontal disease.
SymptomsPossible Dental Issues
Bad breathUnderlying health issues, dental decay, or gum disease
Change in eating habitsDental pain or discomfort making it hard to chew
Visible tartar or plaqueNeed for professional cleaning
Red, swollen gums or bleedingSigns of gingivitis
Loss of teeth or loosening of teethSevere periodontal disease

The table provides a clear overview of the symptoms to watch out for in cats and possible dental issues they might be indicative of. It’s crucial to remember that timely professional help can prevent further deterioration of your cat’s dental health.

Let’s illustrate this with a real-life case. Missy, a 7-year-old calico cat, was always a hearty eater. One day, she suddenly became picky, preferring wet food over her usual kibble. Her owner also noticed that she had unusually bad breath. On closer examination, the owner found red, swollen gums and visible tartar build-up. Missy was taken to the vet, where she was diagnosed with early-stage periodontal disease. After professional cleaning and a course of antibiotics, Missy was back to her old self, happily crunching on her kibble. This case underscores the importance of being alert to changes in your cat’s behavior and seeking professional help when needed.

An interesting study highlighted that while 67% of cat owners recognized signs of dental disease, less than half practiced regular preventive care, with only 7% performing daily tooth brushing. This points to a gap between knowledge and practice, underlining the need for more effective owner education on cat dental health.

The Cost Factor: Cat Teeth Cleaning Cost

One common question cat owners often have is, “Why is professional cat teeth cleaning so expensive?” The average cost can range anywhere from $300 to $700, depending on your location and the complexity of the cleaning.

The cost is high because cat dental cleaning isn’t as simple as human dental cleaning. It typically requires general anesthesia, blood tests, professional scaling and polishing, and sometimes, extractions. The process also involves multiple trained professionals, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

Before a professional cleaning, your cat’s teeth might have noticeable tartar, bad breath, or signs of discomfort. After a thorough professional cleaning, the tartar is gone, breath is fresher, and your feline friend will likely feel much more comfortable. The improvement in your cat’s quality of life is well worth the cost.

Bear in mind, routine at-home dental care can significantly cut down the need for professional cleanings. Prevention and early detection are your best bets in managing these costs.


Well, there you have it, fellow feline enthusiasts! An in-depth look at cat teeth cleaning, from understanding the importance of cat dental health to preventive measures, home care, and when to seek professional help. Remember, no one said cat teeth cleaning is a walk in the park. But with patience, proper tools, a dash of humor, and the tips and tricks we’ve discussed, it can certainly become a manageable, even enjoyable, task.

Our furry friends rely on us for their wellbeing. Maintaining their dental health is not only crucial for their overall health but also an essential part of responsible pet ownership. Whether you’re starting with a kitten or you’ve got an adult cat who’s never had their teeth brushed, it’s never too late to embark on this journey.

Hopefully, this guide has empowered you to take control of your cat’s dental health, one tooth at a time. So, ready those toothbrushes, arm yourself with tasty cat toothpaste, and let’s make “cat breath” synonymous with “healthy cat.”

Do you have any cat teeth cleaning stories or tips to share? Want to know more about cat dental health? Check out more content on our blog for more insights and tips on cat care. Here’s to happy, healthy, purr-fect smiles for our feline friends!

Now, are you ready to turn your cat’s hisses into purrs? We’d love to hear about your journey. So, don’t forget to leave a comment below and share your experiences with us.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I clean my cat’s teeth naturally?

While toothbrushes and toothpaste remain the primary and most effective method, there are natural alternatives. Try giving your cat dental-friendly chew toys or treats designed to mechanically remove plaque. You might also consider water additives that help in reducing plaque and freshening breath. A balanced diet, especially with hard food, can also contribute to cleaner teeth.

What is the easiest way to clean a cat’s teeth?

The easiest way involves gradual and patient application of a cat-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. You should introduce the taste of the toothpaste first and get them used to the sensation of having their teeth brushed. Some cats may resist at first, but with consistent effort and lots of rewards for good behavior, they usually get used to it. Regularity is key!

How often should a cat’s teeth be cleaned?

Professional recommendations typically lean towards daily teeth cleaning for cats to prevent the build-up of plaque, which can quickly turn into tartar, leading to dental diseases. However, if daily brushing proves too challenging, aim for a few times a week. This routine, combined with regular dental check-ups, can keep your feline’s teeth healthy.

Is coconut oil good for cleaning cats teeth?

While coconut oil has been touted for various health benefits, including some antibacterial properties, it should not replace cat-friendly toothpaste in your feline’s dental care regimen. Using coconut oil could be an additional measure for maintaining dental health, but it’s not as effective as brushing in removing plaque and tartar.

Why are my cat’s teeth so dirty?

Several factors can contribute to dirty teeth in cats, including inadequate dental care, poor diet, and certain genetic predispositions. Age also plays a significant role, as older cats are more prone to dental diseases. Regular teeth brushing and professional cleaning from a vet can contribute significantly to your cat’s oral health.

How much does it cost for a professional cat teeth cleaning?

Professional cat teeth cleaning can vary in price, ranging from $300 to $800. This cost typically includes pre-dental blood work, anesthesia, monitoring, and the dental cleaning itself. However, prices can also increase if additional procedures such as extractions or x-rays are needed. Prices may also vary depending on the vet clinic and its location.

Are cat dental chews effective?

Yes, cat dental chews can play a role in reducing plaque and tartar buildup. They are designed to work mechanically to scrape off plaque as your cat chews on them. However, these should be seen as a supplement to a regular teeth brushing regimen, not a standalone solution. They are most effective when used as part of a comprehensive dental care plan.

Can cat dental problems cause other health issues?

Indeed, untreated dental issues in cats can lead to more severe health problems, such as heart, kidney, and liver diseases. Bacteria from dental diseases can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs, making regular dental care crucial not just for your cat’s oral health, but also for their overall wellbeing.

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