Simple Cat Bathing Tips: Washing Your Cat Without Getting Clawed to Death!
It's that time again: Time to give your cat a bath! After all, we all need a good bath or shower every now and again, right? Though cats are generally very clean animals, they sometimes get into things they are not supposed to (for example, car grease). Many people believe that cats hate water. Although this may be true for some, it's a myth that all felines hate getting wet—some absolutely love it and actually enjoy a nice dip in the tub.
Have All Bathing Equipment Ready
Now, before you turn on the faucet and throw kitty into the sink, you should have all of your bathing necessities ready. Trust me on this one! Once your cat is actually in the sink or tub, you will not want to leave the room, for if you do, I can almost guarantee that Felix will be gone when you return! So what items will you need in order to bathe your cat? Please see the list below:
- Cat-friendly shampoo
- Brush (if you have a long-haired kitty)
- Pitcher or other container for rinsing
- Rubber mat to place in sink or tub so kitty can't slip and fall
Not only should you have the items listed above handy, but you should also, if possible, have a friend or family member available to help you. When it comes to bathing a cat, four hands are better than two! It should also be noted that using a cat-friendly, tearless shampoo is very important as regular shampoos can irritate and sting your cat's eyes. If the vet prescribed a medicated shampoo, be sure to follow the instructions exactly. Ok—now you are ready to bathe your kitty!
Step-by-Step Instructions for Bathing a Cat
Step One: Time to catch your cat! Obviously, the first thing you need to do is get your cat into the bathroom. Cats that have been bathed before (and don't mind it) will go willingly. Cats that have never been bathed—well, that's a different story (they tend to panic)! Once you get your cat into the designated bathing area, shut the door immediately! Trust me, your cat will take every opportunity to escape, and the last thing you want is an angry, soaped-up kitty running around your house. It is very important that you remain calm throughout the bathing process. The more stressed out you become, the more stressed out your cat will become.
Step Two: Fill the sink or tub with approximately four inches of warm water. Be sure to check the water temperature before placing kitty into the bath (you don't want the water to be too hot or he will become angry and uncomfortable—not to mention that you might burn him!). Once you have checked the water temperature, place him gently into the tub. Be sure to use both hands and grip your cat firmly (without hurting him).
Step Three: Thoroughly wet your cat's fur (if at all possible, avoid your his face!). After the fur is wet (down to the skin), gently pour some shampoo on his body. Next, gently rub the shampoo into the fur (working up a nice lather as you go).
Step Four: Once you have washed your cat's entire body, it is time to rinse! Using warm water rinse away all of the soap. It is very important that you do not leave any soap behind. Why? Well once your cat is completely dry, the left-over soap will begin to irritate your cat's skin, causing him to scratch. He may also lick off some of the left-over soap, which is not good as it may cause stomach upset, depending on how much he actually eats.
Step Five: Now it is time to wash your cat's face. Simply take a washcloth that has been soaking in warm water (no soap) and gently wipe his face clean. You should never spray water directly at your cat's face nor should you ever under any circumstance dunk your cat's head under water! Not nice.
Step Six: Once you are done rinsing your feline friend, it is time to take him out of the tub. Wrap your cat in a clean, warm towel (warmth is very important) and put him in a warm, draft-free room in which he can safely dry off. You can blow dry your cat, however, it should be noted that many cats are afraid of the sounds that blow dryers tend to make. If your cat is already in a stressed out, panicked state, it's best to skip the blow dryer all together. However, if your cat is a bath pro and doesn't mind the blow dryer, then by all means, use it (just don't use a high setting as you can burn him). Remember to test the blow-dryer first. Thermal burns can easily occur if the blow dryer is too close to the animal. They can't tell us if it's too hot! Once your feline friend is completely dry, brush or comb out his fur.
When it comes to bathing your cat, the key is patience! The calmer you are, the calmer your cat will be. It is also important that you talk to your cat throughout the entire process (use a calm, soothing voice). It is very important that you don't lose your temper and yell at your cat. After all, he or she is already in 100% panic mode. It is important that you don't rush the bathing process. Therefore, you should only bathe your cat when you have plenty of time. It should also be noted that the earlier you introduce bathing to your cat, the better. Cats that were bathed as kittens tend to be easier to bathe than older cats who are new to the process.
Avoid wetting the ear or ear canals as water can cause infection.
Tips for Bathing a Cat
- Have all bathing equipment ready before putting kitty into the tub.
- Only use a cat-friendly, tearless shampoo and follow the instructions on the bottle.
- Check the water temperature before putting kitty into the tub.
- If possible, have a friend help you.
- Be sure to wash away all of the soap on your cat's body.
- Wash your cat's face with a warm washcloth. Do not use soap.
- Never dunk your cat's head under water.
- Talk to your cat throughout the bathing process. Use a calm, soothing voice.
- Allow your cat to dry off in a warm, draft-free room. Only blow-dry if your cat is not afraid.
- Patience is key to a successful bath!
The earlier you introduce your cat to the bathing process, the better! Older cats that have never been bathed will not be happy and will present a challenge.
What If He Absolutely Won't Cooperate?
Finally, it should be noted that if your cat absolutely will not cooperate when it comes to bathing, don't risk having your eyes clawed out. Take him to a professional groomer or even to the vet's office. The vet can sedate your cat (safely) and then bathe him, risk free. Good luck! Meow!
Some Cats LOVE Water!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.