Something everyone who owns a cat wonders is whether they should bathe their cat and if so, how they should do it – cats do not like water at all usually and so they do their best to avoid it. However, there are easy ways to wash your cat using water and shampoo, and this article aims to show you how. All you need is the right equipment, a little preparation and a positive attitude! We also have a great shampoo for you to try.
Do You Need To Bathe Your Cat?
Cats, like all furry animals, keep themselves clean using their tongue, teeth and saliva. Because they are so flexible, their mouths can reach all over their coat to groom efficiently. There may be occasion however where something gets stuck in their fur or when they become too matted to cope with cleaning themselves. Cats that are out and about are prone to rubbing up against everything (recently painted fences, oily bumpers, wet plaster…).
If your cat should get oil or something toxic on their fur it is not good for them to be cleaning it off with their tongue. They could ingest something poisonous and get seriously ill. This is when a bath is imperative for keeping your pet in good health.
Other cats, such as those that are elderly, ill, overweight or otherwise disabled in some way, may need frequent bathing. You need to think of causing the least stress to your pet. A partial bath is probably the best in this case to avoid total saturation. If your cat really doesn’t enjoy baths you can purchase cat wipes which remove all the nasty gunk from your cat’s fur without water.
Specialist breeds can need more frequent bathing due to the amount of fur. If you already own one of these cats you know how much brushing they need. Silky fur like that on Persian cats quickly gets greasy if not looked after properly.
Keep in mind not to wash your cat too much. Just like humans, there are natural oils that contribute to health and shine. If you wash your pet too much it can cause an imbalance which in turn creates skin problems and irritation. As a general rule, short haired cats rarely need bathing unless they get into a mess, and long haired cats should only have a bath once a week.
How To Bathe Your Cat
The first rule is to keep your cat as happy as possible. Cats do not like water usually and dislike being handled excessively, so it is important to avoid stressing out your pet. If you own cats from birth, tt’s a good idea to bathe them as kittens which means they will familiarise themselves with the process and not find it so harrowing.
If you’ve had your cat for a long time and never bathed him or her, or adopted an older cat you may have a big task ahead of you. Follow the tips below for how to make bath time as easy as possible.
Choose a good time. Cats, like humans, have things to do! They are naturally nocturnal and so are more active at night, when they like to go out and hunt. It’s best to choose a time of day when your cat is more receptive to being handled and bathed, so perhaps when he or she is at her most relaxed.
Watch those claws. Once the process has begun and your cat is stressed, he or she will scratch you. You can either clip the claws to prevent them causing too much damage, or purchase a product that can stop them scratching, like cat nail caps or cat socks.
Be prepared. Locking yourself in the bathroom with your pet to bathe them won’t go well if you need to constantly leave to grab something you’ve forgotten. Ensure you have everything you need beforehand – towels, brushes, shampoo etc. Having an extra pair of hands will be useful so maybe enlist a friend to help.
Start with a brush. Just like with your own hair, brushing it gives it a quick clean prior to washing. Check out the brush after you’ve finished and just see the amount of fur, dirt and debris!
Start the shower. If you are in the bathroom (which we recommend, unless you are using a sink with a tap and hose attachment) start up the shower and get it to a warm but ambient temperature. Never use hot or cold water. You can then gently start to wet your pet, whether in the sink or the bathtub. If you need to use a vessel to pour water, be sure to use plastic as glass could break and cause a nasty injury.
Slow down. Use the shower to gently start dousing your cat with water. Make sure it is a gently, gradual process, otherwise you could scare or startle your cat which could result in drama!
Add shampoo. We recommend Animology’s Cat Shampoo Feline Great, which is available from their website for £7.50. To use, pour a little into your hand and start lathering from the neck, avoiding the face and ears. Work the shampoo up into a lather and work into the fur, rubbing the skin with your fingers. If your pet’s face or ears do need a clean simply wipe it with a wet warm cloth. Shampoo can irritate sensitive membranes so it’s best to stay clear of these areas altogether.
Rinse away. Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly again using a calm and gradual process. Make sure you get it all, because you don’t want your pet licking it off their fur later on. The cat may be getting impatient at this point, which means it is even more important to make sure you have rinsed off all the shampoo.
Towel Dry. When drying your pet, wrap him or her in a towel and use a gentle rubbing motion to dry the fur. You can try using a hair dryer on a low setting, but many cats probably won’t enjoy this! Make sure not to blow air directly in your pets face, as it can dry out the nose and eyes. If you have a long-haired breed, you will need to brush the fur again after drying. Use a wide-toothed comb to prevent any snagging.
Pamper! Cats do not enjoy bath time, so giving them a treat afterwards gives them an added incentive to endure it next time! Then let them loose so they enjoy their new found freedom.
Which cat shampoo is best?
Need help finding the best cat shampoo? We recommend Animology’s products. They are mild and gentle, and available in a range of great scents, making bath time enjoyable for both you and your cat. You can check out their range of cat shampoo here.
Animology makes bath time easy
Hopefully the above tips will make bathing your cat even easier, or if you’ve never done it before a handy guide for attempting it for the first time!