How to Bathe a CatPublished September 21, 2011
Cats spend a great deal of time grooming themselves. But there are times when a lick-and-a-promise simply won’t be enough, and when you'll have to give your cat a good old-fashioned bath.
I can already hear the chorus protesting with, “Bathe my cat, are you insane?!”
But yes, it can be done. Cat show folks do this all the time, and some bathe their cats multiple times during a single show. The trick, of course, is to start when the kitten is young, doesn’t know any better, and you are bigger than him and more able to handle the pistoning paws.
While cats may not enjoy the experience, they can (if eased into it and trained from a young age) tolerate the experience. Here are some good rules of “paw” to follow.
When Giving Your Cat a Bath, Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Above all, it's important to be prepared.
Have all your bath materials gathered ahead of time. You do not want to be searching for the soap or towel with a wet, hissy cat in the sink.
Also, be sure to run the water ahead of time. Cats object to the running water, but are much more likely to tolerate being lowered into standing water. Be sure it’s cat-body-temperature (not too hot or too cold).
Use the Right Shampoo When Giving Your Cat a Bath
Use cat-specific shampoo when giving your cat a bath. People shampoo or detergent can be too drying and irritating.
Also, be sure to add shampoo to the standing water first, so it more easily penetrates the dry fur.
Giving Your Cat a Bath: Use Your Towels Wisely
When you're giving your cat a bath, it's a good idea to put a towel in the bottom of the sink. That gives the cat claws something to grasp other than you. Good footing makes kitty feel more secure.
Use a Cup to Dip Water in the Bath
Use a cup to dip water. Cats seem to prefer this to the nozzle sprayer. But if you must use the spray, hold it close to the cat’s body for rinsing.
Be Sure Soap is Completely Rinsed Off When Giving Your Cat a Bath
Rinse. And rinse again. And then again. Once you’re sure all the soap is gone, rinse one final time so that none remains to dry out the skin or cause sores.
When Giving Your Cat a Bath, Offer Treats
Offer treats. I mean, break out the extra-special-scrumptious treats. Leave your cat with a (literally) good taste about the whole experience of being put in the bath. As stated before, they'll tolerate it, not enjoy it.
Do you have any special tricks to get your cat to tolerate a bath? Leave a comment and let us know!