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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

How To Bathe Your Cat And Live

February 15 2024

There are many benefits and perks to choosing a cat for your pet. Kitties are cute, cuddly, independent, and highly entertaining. They’re also very clean! While our canine pals may love splashing in mud puddles, Fluffy is very fastidious by nature, and may spend up to a third of her waking time cleaning herself. While you don’t have to bathe your cat, you can. In this article, a local Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian offers some tips on bathing your cat.

When Is The Best Time To Bathe A Cat?

It really comes down to what works for you. We suggest waiting until it’s fairly warm outside so Fluffy doesn’t get too cold while drying.

What Makes Cats Hate Baths?

There are some good reasons why so many cats are afraid of water. One is that Fluffy isn’t a good swimmer. She can be swept away even by gentle currents, and is over her head in just a foot or two of water.

Wet cat fur gives off a distinctive scent, which could attract predators in the wild. The water could also hide predators; gators, snakes, and other hunters often lurk in rivers and ponds.

Fluffy may also be annoyed because she knows she does not look her best.

Why Are Kitties So Cuddly After A Bath?

Although we may never know the answer for sure, we do have some good petucated guesses. Fluffy has scent glands that allow her to mark her territory with scent. When she rubs against you, she’s actually ‘claiming’ you as hers. You remove those oils whenever you wash her. Your furry little diva may want to rub all over you to re-anoint you.

She may also be grateful that you’re taking care of her, or just relieved that it’s over.

Is It A Good Idea To Take My Cat To A Groomer?

This is optional in most cases. However, some cats may benefit from going to the salon. If your cat is a senior, simply being held may be uncomfortable. Cats with thick or fluffy fur may also need some extra help, as would a longhaired cat with mats or tangles. Ask your Lawrenceville, GA vet for advice on this.

Is It A Good Idea To Give Cats Regular Flea Baths?

Consult your vet before using flea shampoo, especially one you bought at the store. Unfortunately, not all products sold by retailers are safe. It’s also dangerous to double up on parasite prevention. If Fluffy is on another type of flea prevention, a flea bath could expose her to toxic levels of chemicals. Err on the side of caution here.

Are You Supposed to Bathe Cats?

You don’t have to. Fluffy would probably prefer it if you don’t. However, you might want to get a kitten used to baths if you’ve just adopted one. This will make things much easier for you both down the line if she ever gets something spilled on her fur or if she ever runs into a skunk. Hairless kitties may also need baths. Bald cats do not have fur to soak up the oil from their skin, so they can get a bit greasy.

Please consult your veterinarian before bathing Fluffy. This is especially important if your pet is a senior, a very young kitten, or has a medical condition. Never bathe a kitty that is recovering from wounds or surgery unless your veterinarian specifically recommends it.

How Often Should You Wash Your Indoor Cat?

Once every four to six weeks is plenty. Any more than that, and you could inadvertently end up overbathing her, which may cause more harm than good. Bathing strips the oils from Fluffy’s skin and coat. If you bathe her too often, your pet may look dry and even frizzy, which may also cause skin irritation.

Do Cats Like Baths?

We suspect that the vast majority of our feline patients would say ‘No’ if we were able to ask them this question directly. There are two exceptions to this: the Bengal and Turkish Angora breeds both enjoy water and even swim. However, most cats prefer to take care of their own beauty needs. (Actually, that is an understatement. Many cats despise being bathed.)

Are Cats Happier After Getting A Bath?

If Fluffy is getting bathed because you accidentally dropped ketchup on her,  then she will probably feel much more comfortable afterwards. Flea-infested cats can also benefit from treatment. However, flea baths would fall more under general medical care than beauty treatments. We’re focusing on regular baths rather than flea baths here.

How Do You Bathe A Cat?

Bathing a cat isn’t complicated, and you shouldn’t end up in the ER after. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Here are some tips:

  • Brush Fluffy the day before, to remove any dead fur or dander from her coat
  • You don’t have to wear full-body armor, but you should wear thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt
  • Have a soft towel on hand
  • Put a thick mat down in the tub or sink to prevent scratches
  • Don’t fill the sink or tub: the water shouldn’t be any deeper than your kitty’s chest
  • Make sure the water is not too hot. Cats have very sensitive skin. Even water that seems pleasant to us could burn your cute pet
  • Use shampoos specifically formulated for cats. Shampoos designed for dogs or humans are too strong for kitties
  • If you use a sprayer, keep the pressure on low
  • Don’t get suds on your furry friend’s head: you should be able to gently wipe her face and ears with a washcloth
  • Use a teapot or pitcher to rinse your pet gently

Your cat may not be happy about this, and may meow. Petting her and talking to her may soothe her. Don’t punish her if she scratches: that will only make her more upset, and may make her scared of you. If your feline pal is really upset, avoid bathing her unless you absolutely have to. 

How Should I Dry My Cat?

When you’ve finished bathing Fluffy, wrap her in a towel to absorb the water.  You can blow dry her if she doesn’t mind. Use a low heat setting and a gentle setting. Some of our feline overlords seem to enjoy this. Others? Not so much. Do not pressure her. If your furball has had enough, just let her go.

Most likely, Fluffy will immediately retreat to her favorite warm, cozy spot and start grooming herself to restyle her fur. She may glower at you, expressing her resentment at being (gasp) bathed. (She may also start plotting where to leave the next hairball, but that’s another topic.) A new toy, a tasty treat, or maybe some catnip will get that purr started again. (Your feline pal may also not mind a new box, or even a cat tower.)

In Conclusion: Cats are generally very clean, and don’t need regular baths. However, you can bathe your cat if you wish. Just consult your vet first, and be sure that you do so safely.

Please contact us here at your Lawrenceville, GA local animal clinic if you have any questions about your cat’s health or care! We are dedicated to offering top-notch care.

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