Cats and Baths are two things that don’t seem to have a great relationship. Baths aren’t usually required for cats, but there are some exceptions. A bath might be a good idea if they’ve been rolled in something they can’t wash off themselves or if their long hair has become matted.
Baths are something that most cats despise, and they can be quite stressful for them. Instead of getting their entire body wet, clean an isolated area if possible.
However, there are times when bathing your cat is unavoidable, and in those cases, there are ways to make the process more pleasant for both of you. If your cat requires a bath due to contact with toxic substances, take them to the veterinarian first.
Grooming is a natural behaviour that cats learn around the age of four weeks. It’s not unusual to see a mother licking her kittens or kittens grooming each other.
When is a bath unavoidable?
A bath is a viable option if your cat has come into contact with a skunk, has significant dirt on them, is struggling to remove something they’ve rolled in, or their long hair is prone to matting.
Elderly or obese cats may require a little extra cleaning assistance, but brushing regularly should be enough to help untangle any significant tangling issues.
Some allergy sufferers may also choose to bathe their feline to help reduce cat dander.
Hairless cats are another exception to the rule. Sphynx cats have oily and sweaty skin due to their lack of fur, and they need to be bathed frequently.
How to bathe a cat?
If you do need to bathe your cat for any reason, you could take them to an experienced groomer, especially if they require special attention to their skin and coat.
However, if your cat is having difficulty removing dirt or debris from their coat, you can bathe them at home. Here are a few suggestions to keep them calm during bath time…
Get your cat ready.
Scheduling a bath after playtime can help tire out a mellow cat come bath time. If you have the time, you could also get them used to the tub by placing them in the sink or tub and giving them a treat a few days before.
It is recommended that you trim your cat’s claws and give them a good brush before bathing. Putting cotton in your cat’s ears will help keep water out.
Make sure you have everything you need on hand.
Before bringing in the cat, gather all of your supplies. You’ll need plenty of towels, cat shampoo, a comb or brush for longer-haired cats, a jug or handheld spray hose for rinsing, and a rubber mat or towel.
You can also keep a ball nearby, such as a ping pong ball, to keep your cat entertained during bath time. Floating it in the water may encourage your cat to fish it out rather than being afraid of the water.
Make a relaxing atmosphere.
We don’t mean turn on some soothing music and light some candles! It’s best to pre-fill the tub while the cat is in another room to help them adjust to the bath.
Make sure the temperature is warm but not hot; it should be close to human body temperature.
If you prefer to bathe your cat in the sink, remove any breakables that surround it, such as toothbrush holders. Avoid strong odours and remove any mirrors that could frighten your cat.
Adding a towel or a placemat to the bottom of the sink will help your cat feel more secure, and make sure to close the bathroom door behind you.
Never scold your cat during the process, as this will do more harm than good. You want to praise them as much as possible and give them treats at the end of the bathing session as a reward.
Wet it down and lather it up.
To wet your cat, use a low-pressure handheld spray hose or a plastic pitcher, being careful to avoid the face.
If your cat is particularly afraid of running water, you can use a ladle to gently spoon the water across its body. Gently massage the cat shampoo into their fur, then rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining residue. Wipe any dirt off your face with a soft cloth.
Make sure everything is dry.
Wrap your cat in a clean towel and blot away any excess water once bath time is finished.
Some cats may be scared by the noise of a blow dryer, but for those who don’t mind the sensation, use a low setting so it doesn’t get too hot on their skin.
Bathing a cat isn’t the only thing to think about when caring for pets. Other aspects of cat grooming can and should be included, such as nail care, inner ear cleaning, coat brushing, dental hygiene, healthy paw pads, and so on. These tasks don’t have to be completed on bath day, and they’re probably better left for another day to avoid added stress.
You don’t have to worry about taking care of these other aspects of cat grooming if you’re not used to it. Often, you’ll be able to locate a professional grooming service within a reasonable distance of your home.
It can be concluded that bathing may not be your cat’s favourite activity, and they may hesitate at first, or even cause you some trouble while you’re doing it. It can go surprisingly smoothly if you can keep them calm, make slow, calculated movements, and pay attention to their needs and feelings.
Also published on Medium.