The Definitive Guide To Bathing Your Cat

Bathing Your Cat

Wait, what? Bathing cats? Do you really want to think about bathing your cat? Cats hate the water, and no self-respecting human being is going to bathe their cat and make it out alive. Unfortunately, it’s kind of true. Some cats hate water and want nothing to do with it other than to drink it. Other cats, though, love the water. It’s a misconception that all cats are non-lovers of the water when, in fact, many cats are just as happy to swim as a child on a hot summer’s day. Of course, your cat might not be one of those cats. The good news, fortunately, is that cat’s don’t typically require baths all that often. However, they sometimes do require a bath, and that means it is in your best interest to understand how, when, where and why you might decide to bathe your feline friend. We have a definitive guide just for you all about your cat, his bath and your sanity.

Start Young

The best way to ensure your cat is happy in the bath is to start her out while she’s young. If she’s brought up receiving periodic baths, chances are good she will do quite well in the water and you never have to worry about this particular art form and your beloved feline friend. However, if your cat is not one you’ve had since it was a kitten or you did not do this, not to worry; we have a few other suggestions that might make it a little bit easier for you to ensure your cat is handled and cared for in the correct manner.

Don’t do it When it’s Not Necessary

According to the ASPCA, it simply is not necessary to bathe your cat on a regular basis. Your cat is quite well adept at cleaning him or herself, and that means you can get away with not actually doing it on a regular basis. However, there might come a time in which your cat is attacked by something, gets into something or just plain stinks. When this happens, it might be time to go for a bath. That means taking into consideration a few quick items and going from there.

Cut Those Nails Before Bathing Your Cat

Just because you want to stay safe and relatively free of injury when it’s time to bathe the cat, we recommend that you ahead and first trim the cat’s nails. Doing this allows you to minimize your own risk of being scratched and maimed, so we recommend you do it quickly and without complaint.

Stick Cotton in her Ears

Your cat cannot stand the idea of water in her ears. It can hurt her and make her crazy, so stick some cotton in there and then make it a point to keep the water as far from her ears as possible when she is in the tub. A good idea is not to fill the water too high as it can make your cat nervous, more likely to scratch and more likely to end up hurt.

Play First

Did you know it’s a lot easier to bathe a cat that’s tired and worn out? If you need to give your cat a bath, do it when the cat is exhausted after a session of playing with the kids. This mellow attitude makes it a lot easier to ensure that your cat is able to stay calm throughout the bath since he or she is likely too tired to put up much of a fight. When you think about it, this sounds a lot like adulthood, right?

Use Lukewarm Water

Hot water is a terrible idea when it comes to bathing your cat as it can scald his or her skin and make this bath and future baths impossible. On that note, cold water is also not a very welcome feeling for any cat. Your job is to make sure that the water you use is lukewarm. It’s a good idea to fill the sink or tub with only a few inches of water and then use a sprayer or bottle or cup to dump water on the cat’s back and head when it’s time to wash.

What to Wash With

Another consideration you should make when bathing your cat is continuing to use your cat’s shampoo. Do not use human shampoo as it can severely dry your cat’s skin out tremendously, which can cause future health issues. Cat shampoo is the best when worked into a gentle lather and then rinsed thoroughly. Take your time with this so that you are sure to get all the shampoo out of your cat’s fur leaving none behind to cause any issues.

Keep the water out of your cat’s face. Instead, use a damp washcloth to wash the eyes, the face and the mouth. This is far more acceptable to the cat and less likely the cat is being drowned. Your cat is more likely to enjoy a bath when you go about things this way than when you dump water in her face and expect her to sit still while you wash her.

When it comes to drying your cat, do it well. Then let the cat run around. You’re going to need to give the cat some freedom now so that he or she will calm down and relax. You don’t want your cat to hate you more than it currently does (don’t worry, she will get over it soon), so let him or her have some space to relax, calm down and get over what just happened.

Give that Cat a Treat

Your cat just went through something that he or she likely considers traumatic, so go ahead and reward her. Perhaps she will remember that she was given an awesome treat when she finished with her bath and she will remember that the next time you try to give her a bath. And if she loves the tub and gives you no issues when it comes to bathing your cat, perhaps you might consider giving her a second treat just for being awesome.

Photo by Getty Images

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