Anyone who has ever owned a cat will know that a bath is not their favorite activity. In fact, cats will do almost anything to avoid the water. They have a natural cleaning system as they self-groom and cats in the wild do not bathe in water. It is also a natural instinct for domestic cats to avoid the water whenever possible. A cat who is introduced to the water against their will naturally defends themselves by scratching and biting, as most cat owners will have experienced at some point. However, there are some occasions when a cat owner will have to pluck up the courage to give their cat a bath and one such occasion is when they have fleas. Here is what you need to know about cat flea baths.
How Does a Cat Get Fleas?
Cats having a flea infestation is a very common problem. People often worry that it is a reflection of the cleanliness of their home and are embarrassed by the problem. However, this is not the case as even cats form the cleanest of homes are at risk of catching fleas. They will usually catch fleas from another cat that is already infested, so they are more common in cats that are allowed outdoors. If your cat does get a flea infestation, it is something that you need to tackle straight away. Not only are fleas very uncomfortable for cats, they can also lead to further problems, such as dermatitis from flea allergies and infected wounds where the cat has scratched or bitten itself to get relief from the itching.
How Do You Bathe a Cat with Fleas?
One of the simplest treatments you can give to your cat when it is infested by fleas is to give it a bath. You can buy special shampoos that are specifically for getting rid of cat fleas. You can add some of this to the water before putting the cat in just like you would bubble bath. Prior to immersing the cat in water, rub some of the shampoo and a little water around their neck and ears to form a lather. This is because when you put the cat in the water the fleas will instinctively search for a dry spot, which is usually around the head because this part of the cat will not be in the water. By adding lather to these areas, you are preventing the fleas from reaching a dry spot.
Once you have the cat held in the water with one hand, rub the shampoo and water into the other areas of the body before rinsing with water. Remove the cat from the water and towel it dry for as long as it will allow you to do so. Next, you need to flea comb the cat. You can buy a flea comb from a pet supply store. Alternatively, you can use a head lice comb that you would use to remove head lice from human hair if you already have one of these in your home as they are just the same. Carefully comb your cat from head to tail. After each brushing, remove the fleas into a jug of water.
Are Any Safety Measures Needed?
As previously mentioned, cats do not like the water and will generally put up a fight to avoid having a bath. This can often involve scratching and biting. Therefore, there are some steps you should take to avoid scratches and bites from your cat. While bathing your cat, wear a long-sleeved top and rubber gloves to protect your lower arms and hands. It is also likely that lots of water will come over the side of the bath as they struggle, so a towel or mat on the floor next to the bath should reduce the risk of slipping.
Does a Cat Need Bathing If It Doesn’t Have Fleas?
If your cat does not have fleas, then you may wonder whether it needs bathing or not. The simple answer is that most cats do not need bathing. Vets do not recommend bathing cats because they self-groom and this keeps them clean. By bathing them, you could remove the oils that they need for a healthy coat and skin. However, if your cat has a skin problem, then a vet may recommend bathing them using a special shampoo.