Incredible flexibility and tongues like sandpaper are what make cats the great groomers of the animal kingdom—but, believe it or not, domestic cats may need to be bathed one or more times in their lives. This is your step-by-step guide to making bath time a positive experience for the both of you.
Know When — and When Not — to Bathe Your Cat
Unlike laundry, a cat that appears dirty doesn’t necessarily mean regular bathing is needed. Indeed, your kitty can give itself a complete spa treatment, removing dirt, spreading natural oils and detangling its fur, just with its tongue!
However, there are times where they may require a bath. For example, if your cat is obese or has a mobility issue that prevents it from reaching difficult areas, they may need a bath from time to time. The same is true of long-haired cats or those with skin conditions. Let’s not forget all those sticky situations that curious felines find themselves in!
Your kitty will definitely benefit from a bath if they have fleas or if they didn’t clean well after a litter box visit.
Talk to your vet about bathing first. They can give your cat a thorough once-over for infestations or other conditions and recommend suitable bathing products.
Prepare for a Positive Experience
Every cat is different; some may need exposure to the tub before the actual bathing. If this is your cat, practice placing them in the tub as you speak to them in a gentle tone. Doing this and providing treats will help them develop a positive association with the tub.
The same is true with water; you’ll want to help kitty get used to it if they’re hesitant. To do this, turn the water on to a gentle trickle. Let them lick the water off your fingers and rub their head gently with your wet fingers to get them used to the feeling.
It’s also a good idea to wait until they are tired from play or otherwise mellow before you bathe them. If you don’t, your kitty may have lots of energy to spend on making its escape!
Have the Right Supplies Ready
Most cats hate water, and for good reason—their fur and skin tend to absorb it, which means long drying time and uncomfortable wetness. That being said, it’s important to make the process as quick and stressless as possible. You can accomplish this by having the following ready for bathing:
●Cat shampoo (never use human shampoo!)
●Adjustable shower head or pitcher for gentle rinsing
●Soft cloth for face-washing
●Rubber gloves to protect your hands from scratching
●Large absorbent towel
●Non-slip mat to provide traction
●Their favorite treat or toy
Of course, the right supplies are only one part of the process; you’ll also need to know how to wash your cat properly.
Water Depth and Temperature
Only a small amount of water in the sink or tub is needed to bathe a small feline; a few inches should suffice. You’ll also want to ensure you’re using only warm water or lukewarm water on their sensitive skin.
Wet Everything but the Face
Putting water on your cat’s face will only cause them stress. Instead, avoid their face entirely and only wet their body and tail. You’ll be cleaning their face separately.
Lather and Rinse Thoroughly
Working quickly but gently, lather cat shampoo from neck to tail. Don’t forget areas like underneath the haunches and armpits. When finished, set your shower head to the gentlest and lowest pressure and pass it slowly over their body, using your fingers to remove soap residue. If using a pitcher, pour slowly over their body. Speaking in a soothing tone can help your cat to feel calmer during this stage.
Now that you’ve washed their body, it’s time to clean your cat’s face. Take your soft cloth and dampen it. Then, use it to gently wipe your cat’s face and outside of their ears. Take a cotton ball (never a Q-tip) and gently wipe out the inside of their ears.
Dry Them Off
Drain the water out of the tub and grab your large towel or a blow dryer. Gently dry them off as you give them lots of love. Again, you’ll want to make sure you dry those hard-to-reach areas. You may even be rewarded with a few purrs during this stage!
Don’t Forget the Treats!
Always make sure you have your kitty’s favorite treat or toy (think catnip) on hand for after their bath is done. This and some love will go a long way to giving the both of you a positive experience that strengthens your bond.
The best news about bathing your cat is that you don’t have to do it alone; you can always ask a friend to help hold your cat and provide a little pet insurance. After bathing is done, give your cat’s fur a gentle combing. After their bath, your cat will groom themselves to eliminate excess moisture. Combing will help to remove any extra fur so your cat doesn’t ingest it.
Keep Your Cat Healthy and Active
Healthy, active kitties have more energy, better flexibility and enjoy a better quality of life overall. Armarkat’s quality cat furniture products help cats keep their claws and bodies in shape and gives them a space that’s theirs alone. Look through our website to browse our 180 cat tree models today.