There comes a time in every cat’s life when they need to take a bath. It’s rarely a pleasant time, either for them or their unfortunate owner. Scratching, clawing, shrieking, and spitting are all par for the course…. or so we thought. As it turns out, bathtime doesn’t need to be quite so miserable as it is. The problem, or so southernliving.com thinks, is not that your cat hates baths, it’s that the baths we’re giving them are the wrong kind. According to those in the know, treating your cat to a bath in the same tub as you use yourself is a massive no-no. It’s not so much that they object to sharing the same space as you, it’s more that it’s too big, too slippery, and way too bothersome. So, what should you be using instead? The shower? A garden hose? Nope. The very best place to give your cat a bath is the sink. Or failing that, a big plastic container. Ready to transform your cat’s grooming routine? Then here’s what you need to know.
Why You Should Always Bathe Your Cat in the Sink
Baths might seem the natural place for a bath (the clues in the name), but cats and baths just don’t mix. For a start, the floor is too slippery, leading to your cat skidding around and getting more and more distressed by the second. Then, there’s the size to consider. Baths are built for humans. Trying to manipulate and control a squirming little feline in such a huge space turns a small task into an impossible one. A sink, on the other hand, is just the right size. It lets you control and maneuver your cat without risking life and limb in the process. It’s also just the right shape to accommodate a non-slip mat – an absolute necessity when it comes to bathing a cat. “Sinks work better than human bathtubs for cats. Less space for them to move around means easier maneuvering for you,” purewow.com (www.purewow.com/family/how-to-give-a-cat-a-bath) confirms. “It’s crucial to have a non-slip mat on whatever surface you use. Cats like traction and if the floor beneath them is too slippery, it’ll lead to greater chaos and distress.”
The Perfect Bath Time Routine
So, we now know that the sink is the perfect place to bathe your cat. But what else do we need to know? Are there any other tips and tricks we can use to make bathtime a more pleasant experience, both for us and our pets? There is, indeed. But before we get to those, a little reminder. All your efforts, all your scrubbing, and all your investments in cat-friendly shampoos, special conditioners, and dedicated pet towels might not, strictly speaking, be necessary. Cats aren’t dogs. They don’t see a big pile of mud as the perfect place to sit. They don’t think digging to the center of the earth is a productive way to spend the day and, by and large, they’d rather steer clear of other animal’s poop than rub their noses in it.
Cats are fastidious. They like to be clean. So committed are they to the idea of cleanliness, they spend between 30 and 50 percent of their day grooming. Basically, they’ve got this covered. You might think you need to dedicate a regular slot in your schedule to kitty bathtime, but the truth is, you probably don’t. Hairless cats need weekly baths to cope with all the oils and dirt that builds up on their skin, and overweight cats or arthritic seniors who struggle to groom themselves may need a helping hand. Healthy, hirsute cats, on the other hand, really don’t need that much interference.
Rather than seeing a bath as a fundamental part of your cat’s grooming schedule, see it as a ‘needs must’ kind of thing instead. If they’ve somehow managed to get themselves covered in dirt and grime, bathe them. If they haven’t, leave them be.
Gather Your Supplies
If your cat’s filthy and in need of a good bath, grab your supplies before anything else. Having all your supplies to hand will rule out the chance of getting midway through the bath before realizing you’ve run out of shampoo. As Catster.com notes, key supplies include…
- Rubber gloves
- Cat shampoo
- A large pitcher for rinsing
- A large towel
- Cotton balls
- A small cloth
Here are some quick tips:
- Wait for a Moment of Calm – Cats have their up moments and their down moments. Sometimes, they’ll want nothing to do with you. Other times, they’ll be jumping around chasing shadows and generally having a lovely time. These are not the moments to bathe your cat. Wait it out. Eventually, you’ll find them in a calm, relaxed state. Make the most of it while you can.
- Groom Them First – Unless you want to come away bloodied and bruised from the experience, trim your cat’s nails beforehand. While you’re at it, give them a good brush. Any matted fur is going to trap soap and lead to some miserable skin infections.
- Prepare the Sink – Add a non-slip mat to the bottom of the sink. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. If you have a spray nozzle that works on a low setting, you can skip the standing water. Add your cat to the mix.
- Get Cleaning – Start cleaning your cat. Use a small, damp cloth to clean their face and dampened cotton balls to clean their ears. Avoid using shampoo in these areas. Next, wet their body, working from the base of the tail up to the neck. Gently massage a small amount of cat shampoo into their fur, working in the same direction as previously. Once you’re done, rinse, then rinse again. Keep rinsing until there are no remaining suds on your cat’s fur.
- Towel Dry to Finish – Use a warm, clean towel to gently dry your cat using a blotting motion. They’ll probably be pretty desperate to escape at this point, but persevere. Once they’re no longer soaking, let them loose to air dry. Before they get back to the rest of their day, treat them to an extra special treat to reward them.
And that’s it – one clean cat and a much less stressful experience than all those previous times in the bath.