I get asked quite often, “Should I bathe my cat?” My response is generally an emphatic “NO!” Cats are unfortunately not huge fans of water, and therefore bathing them can sometimes prove to be difficult.
Cats usually don’t need a bath because they do an excellent job of cleaning and grooming themselves. There are however times when they will need a bath, especially if their coats are dirty, oily or sticky. Outdoor cats often need to be bathed more than indoor cats because they tend to get into messy situations.
You may also need to bath your cat if it suffers from a skin condition such as seborrhoea or eczema. We recommend Allergy itch Ease – a 100% homeopathic remedy to calm and soothe the itchy skin, as well as Skin & Coat Tonic, a herbal remedy to heal and strengthen the skin and repair the coat.
While most cat owners who have attempted to bath their cat know how stressful it can be, it is not impossible if you follow these simple steps. Read on to find out how to bath your cat in a stress-free way.
Step 1: Prepare the bathroom in advance
Before you bath your cat, make sure that you have everything that you need to get started. A good idea is to keep your bathroom door closed so that your cat will not escape. Lay down a rubber mat in your bath tub to prevent your cat from slipping. Place a few towels on the floor because it’s definitely going to get wet when your cat tries to make a run for it.
Fill the bath with warm water, about 15cm deep. Have cat recommended shampoo on hand from your vet or pet store. Natural, organic shampoos are also very effective and much gentler on the skin, so invest in a good one. Fill a small jug with lukewarm water to rinse – never use a shower head or the tap! This will only scare your cat and he or she will dart off in a second
Step 2: Keep your cat calm
Your aim is to make the bathing experience as calm and enjoyable as possible. Choose a time when you know that your cat will be mellow – after feeding is usually a good time. If your cat is anxious or stressed, try our natural remedy, PetCalm which is 100% homeopathic and safe for your cat. Stroke, play and speak to your cat in a soft, calm manner as this will make it easier to handle him.
Step 3: Brush your cat
Brush your cat before bathing him. It is very important that you remove any tangles and knots in the fur before your cat gets wet. Lots of cats enjoy being brushed and this would also be a great way to keep him calm. Should your cat suffer from furballs, regular brushing is imperative!
Step 4: Bathe your cat
Once you have control of your cat, you can start bathing your cat. Continue speaking to him calmly and quietly, and make sure to maintain a good grip of his neck and shoulders. For a successful bath, it makes it easier if two people are there to hold the cat’s legs and head.
Wet your cat’s fur and use a little shampoo to wash his neck, body, belly, legs and tail. Wash your cat in a massaging motion starting from the head down to his tail. Be as gentle as possible. Rinse the shampoo from your cat using the warm water from the jug. You may need to rinse a few times to remove all the shampoo – it is very important to make sure that he is thoroughly rinsed and that no soap residue is left. Wipe your cat’s face, head and ears with the wash cloth.
Step 5: Dry your cat
Allow the water to drip from your cat and press as much water from his fur. Wrap him in a towel and pat him down gently with another towel. Warming the towels is also quite soothing for cats because they will welcome the warmth and comfort. Short-haired cats will be able to dry themselves but long-haired cats need more work. As their hair mats more easily when wet, you need to dry the fur thoroughly and comb out the tangles.
Step 6: Praise and reward your cat
Well done! Your cat has survived and so have you! An absolute must is that you reward your cat with delicious treats, food or catnip for taking a bath. Rewards and praise will create a positive association with bathing and hopefully, make the experience even smoother the next time around.
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