ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — This cool cat has traded in his catnip for some bling. Sebastian, a 1-year-old Persian with long black hair, sports gold crowns on his two bottom canines, which grew sticking out from his lips in an underbite similar to a bulldog's.
His owner, dentist David Steele, said he gave Sebastian gold crowns to help strengthen the fanged feline's teeth. Steele said he was worried the unique canines would break off or become a problem.
"It's possible to work on animals the same way we do humans," he said. "I did it to strengthen (Sebastian's) teeth, but it had an excellent cosmetic result. The cat gets a lot of attention now. Everyone is tickled to death when they see him."
Sebastian's two gold teeth protruding from his furry face make him seem a little menacing, like a hip-hop star's guard-cat or a movie villain's pet. The feline didn't seem too happy with his new look at first.
"He's normally around me all the time," Steele said. "After I put the crowns on, he didn't 'speak' to me for two days."
When Sebastian was tranquilized about a month ago to get his coat trimmed, Steele used the occasion to take impressions of his teeth. He then sent those impressions to a company that prepares crowns for his human patients.
"They called back and asked me what I was up to," Steele said.
Two weeks ago, veterinarian Larry Owen tranquilized the cat at the Alexandria Animal Hospital about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis so Steele could do the dentistry work, which took about 15 minutes to complete.
Owen said putting gold crowns on teeth can be done for any pet with a dental problem.
"Mostly, though, it was a fun thing to do," Owen said. "(Steele is) always up to something or trying something new."
Steele said he has put a crown on a cat once before, after the animal was hit by a car. He also put a gold crown on his Boston terrier.
Steele said the cost for each gold tooth is about the same as for humans — about $900 each.
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