If you happen to own a cat, you should know that cats are the cleanest pets you will ever have. It’s a common sight to see your feline pet giving themselves a tongue cleaning often. Irrespective of their self-care routine, you need to bathe them regularly. Maintaining their coats and skin healthy is worth the effort for their overall well-being.
However, cats tend to become extremely irritated and aggressive when you try to bathe them. Trying to soak them in a tub of water without adequate research can cause trauma for you and your furry pet. You’ll end up having scratches and bite marks all over your body, and your scared cat would end up fleeing the scene.
So, is it essential to bathe your feline friend? If so, how to give your cat a good bath without stressing yourself out. Let’s find out!
Why Is It Essential To Bathe Your Cat?
Young kittens start grooming themselves when they reach 3 – 4 weeks. As for adult domestic cats, they spend most of their time licking themselves. So at the most, all they need is regular brushing to keep them looking comfortable and clean.
This makes you wonder – Do you need to bathe your furry pet? Giving a good bath removes the excess dander and oil and helps stimulate their skin. It also gives your cat the confidence that even if they get drenched in water, it won’t hurt them.
At times, cats can become quite adventurous, which is instinctual. This can get them into some common sticky situations like:
- Becoming uncomfortably sticky or dirty by getting into the trash, scrounging through discarded waste food materials, or getting splashed by mud, oil, or toxic materials. Though cats may try to lick themselves clean, it’s advisable not to do so – as they can ingest the harmful elements present in their hair.
- When bugs pick up on their fur, it can be quite unsettling for the cat owner and be a nuisance for your cat. This can cause a huge amount of irritation and suffering for your pet. Some of the common pests that inflict the feline creature are ticks, fleas, lice, and mites. These pests feed on blood, causing various diseases and infections.
By giving a good bath, you can remove most of the superficial pests that stick onto their skin and hair. Once they start digging into the skin, you need to consult a vet and use a special shampoo or medicine for complete pest removal. Knowing that your cat is healthy, comfortable and nothing is crawling on them will keep you stress-free.
The other reasons for bathing a cat include specific breeds or conditions requiring a regular bathing routine to remain fit and healthy. The special cases are:
- Cats with no or less fur require regular baths at periodic intervals to eliminate excess body oils. For instance, species like Sphynx – do not have any hair on their body.
- Feline buddies with exceptionally long hair, like the Persian breeds, need to keep their hair clean. It becomes quite difficult for them to groom themselves fully clean on their own.
- Cats with special needs require special help to keep themselves well-groomed. This can be either due to their skin or hair type or even due to health issues. You may have to consult your vet to provide the best care to these species for adequate assistance.
Due to certain medical reasons, your cat will need a good bath to stay healthy. It becomes quite challenging for cats with mobility issues, obesity, elderly, or arthritis to do basic self-grooming on their own. Most of these cats develop a matted coating on their backs, causing their skin to become more flaky and itchy.
Enjoying a positive experience in bathing regularly will be beneficial for your cats. It becomes even more helpful if ever they need a medicated bath for treating skin diseases due to ringworm or if they get into something dreadfully nasty.
How Often Must You Bathe Your Feline Pet?
Most of the feline pets do not require regular bathing, and they may find it extremely stressful. One of the main reasons why pet owners opt for bathing their cats is when they become dirty. If you have a light-colored outdoor cat, you will have to keep them clean more often. The frequency of bathing your cat depends on the following:
- Extremely active cats tend to become dirtier. They will need more frequent baths to keep their fur coat clean.
- Outdoor adult cats and kittens will need more frequent bathing compared to their indoor feline mates.
- Cats that do not groom on their own or find it difficult to clean themselves efficiently will require regular baths. Failure to do so will end with a sticky and grease-coated cat roaming around your house.
- Overweight or obese feline creatures will find it difficult to reach the different areas of their body. Hence it’s essential to bathe them regularly to avoid developing any infections. It can also cause itching and flakiness due to the matt coating on the backside of their body.
- Cat species with longer fur coats, such as Persians, Himalayans, and Maine coons – need regular cleaning and more maintenance than the short coat breeds.
- Feline buddies that face health problems like flea or tick infestation, loose motion, and skin irritations need extra care and attention and regular bathing to remain healthy and fit.
Before soaking your kitty in the bathtub, make sure to have all the necessary supplies handy near the bathing area. This includes:
- Rubber gloves – to avoid bite marks and scratches.
- A huge towel.
- A small soft cloth to clean their face.
- Cotton balls for cleaning their ears.
- Brush for long-haired breeds.
- Huge container or pitcher for rinsing.
- Cat shampoo. Avoid using shampoos made for dogs or humans, as they are toxic and harsh for cats.
In addition to having the supplies ready, you will also require the help of another family member. In case your cat needs a medicated shampoo, make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
How To Bathe Your Cat Well?
Based on the size of your kitty, it is easier to bathe them in the bathroom sink or kitchen sink than having to bend over the bathtub. This will also keep them from escaping and fleeing the scene. Here will guide you on a step-by-step procedure on how to give your feline friend a good bath.
– Cats use their claws as a form of defense, so you need to clip their claws before taking them for a bath. When they get upset, they try to scratch anyone standing nearby, including you – especially during bath time.
– As cats frequently shed, brushing before bathing will help remove the extra fur and prevent plumbing issues.
– Fill the sink with warm water and remember to check the water temperature before placing the cat in it. You can also opt for a shallow bucket or basin as full-sized bathtubs scare them easily. Make sure to use both your hands to hold your cat firmly to avoid slipping. To get more traction, you can also use a skid-proof rubber mat at the bottom.
– Gently pour water onto their body using a plastic mug or pitcher and rub the cat shampoo on their fur.
– After fully lathering their entire body, rinse them thoroughly using lukewarm water.
– To clean your kitty’s face – Avoid pouring water or using shampoo. Use a wet, warm, soft cloth and gently wipe their face. Pay extra attention while wiping their ears and eyes, as they are more sensitive.
– Once done, take them out of the bathing area and dry them thoroughly using a clean and dry, warm cloth. You can also use a hairdryer at the lowest speed to speed up the process. However, avoid the hairdryer if your cat is panicked – as the noise can scare them.
While there are stories about cats being aggressive and staying away from water, we know that giving your cat a bath would benefit them. When necessary, to maintain their overall health – cat owners will make every effort to keep their furry buddies healthy. Even if your cat initially hesitates or gives you some trouble, by slowly calming them and paying attention to their feelings – you will be able to give them a smooth bathing experience.