20 Oct How to Bath your Cat
There are plenty of comedy routines and personal anecdotes that tell us that bathing a cat is difficult at best, and near impossible at worst. So how often should you bathe your cat? And when it is time for a bath, what is the best way to ensure your feline friend is squeaky clean, with the minimum of bother to you both? Here are our top tips for how to bath your cat.
Should you bath your cat?
For the most part, cats are self-cleaning creatures. Self-grooming is a habit that most cats spend quite a bit of time on, and it pays off – in most cases, your cat is well able to keep themselves clean, and they don’t need regular baths.
There are some exceptions when you might want to help your cat out with a bit of a clean. If they are a breed with particularly long fur, like Persians, you might find their hair gets dirty at a faster rate than they are able to manage by themselves. On the other end of the scale, pets with no hair can use some help to get rid of body oils and general grime.
If your cat has medical problems that stop them from grooming themselves, you might need to help out to keep them healthy. This is especially true for elderly cats, cats with arthritis, or if your cat is obese. Other than that, your curious cat could get themselves in all sorts of sticky situations where a regular groom just isn’t enough. If their hair is visibly dirty or smelly, or they get coated in a foreign substance, it could be time for you to step in.
How to Bath your Cat
You’ll need a few supplies to make the process easier. A non-skid surface, some shampoo approved for use on cats, a small container or detachable shower head, plenty of towels, and some treats are a good place to start.
You’ll want to work quickly and efficiently to minimise the amount of time your reluctant pet has to endure their bath. Place them on a non-skid surface, preferably inside a sink or tub. Using water that is warm but not hot, wet down their fur, and work the soap in from their head down to their tails – taking care that no soapy residue gets into their eyes or mouth. Don’t forget those hidden areas that could be harbouring nasties – behind the ears, their bellies, in the folds under their legs, and around the base of their tail.
Rinse your pet well with clean, warm water, and then wrap them in a towel – now is a great time for cuddles and treats. Gently rub their fur with clean, dry towels until they are mostly dry – you can let them air dry to some extent but be sure to get most of the water off, especially in the colder months. If you have some cotton balls, you can also clean out their ears, but be careful not to probe too deep into the ear canal, and avoid leaving any soap, water, or other residue in their ears.
Your clean cat can now be released to dry off. You can reward them with more treats, and give them some space to relax after their bath. A warm, sunny spot is the ideal location.
While most cats in most cases are well able to keep themselves clean, there are some circumstances that call for a little human help. Make sure your cats comfort and safety is your number one priority. They will need to be firmly but gently restrained, and you will have to work quickly to minimise the time they spend getting washed.
Being a good pet owner means caring for your animals wellbeing, and that requires you to use your own intuition on whether your cat needs any interference in their cleaning schedule. When it is time for a bath, getting correctly set up and following good procedures is the best way to ensure a healthy, happy feline friend.