Cat + Water = A Combination that many feline owners try to avoid.
Cat's just don't like to get wet. This is a fact that everyone knows. Sometimes giving a cat a bath is unavoidable. If the cat is exceptionally dirty, or bombarded with fleas/ticks, or into substances that are toxic/harmful bathing your cat becomes a necessity.
Before you even begin to think about bathing your cat, ask yourself "Does my cat really need a bath?" Cats are creatures that "self-clean". The average cat will spend most of its day either bathing or sleeping.
If you have answered "Yes" to the above question and want to try bath time at home with your cat, here are several of the basics to bathing your feline friend.
Things You Will Need:
- A Workspace – The possibilities are endless!
- Bathtub -Deep laundry room sink/tub -Walk-in shower -Kitchen sink
- Do-It-Yourself bath facilities
There is no right or wrong place to bathe your pet- It really is a matter of what you have available. Just keep in mind how this will work for your cat and their comfort as well. Cats wash great in a kitchen sink!
Think safety first when choosing your ideal bathing area. Some surfaces, like the bottom of a bathtub, can be slippery when wet. Solve this issue by laying a towel at the bottom of the tub (don’t block the drain) for your pet to stand on. This will prevent slipping as the cat will be able to “grip” to it during bath time.
- Clean Towels – At least 3. One towel to use in the bottom of your tub for your cat's safety. Another towel on the floor of your workspace and the last towel to dry your pet after bath time.
- Depending on your workspace, you will need to have access to a hose or use a pitcher/large cup for rinsing
- If your cat is new to bathing or skittish, a friend for comforting support
- DogOsuds Unscented – Use ONLY the Unscented DogOsuds
- (The others contain essential oils that can/may have adverse reactions on cats.)
- A cat brush
- A clean wash cloth
A Friend to help
- Your cat of course!
- Be Prepared – Don't even think about starting to bathe your cat without having your supplies together and easily reached ahead of time. Don’t be caught in the middle of washing your cat and realize that you don’t even have the shampoo. If this is your cat's first bath, it is in BEST interest of both, to have a friend come over to help. Like mentioned before, Cats + Water = A Combination that many feline owners try to avoid. Having an extra set of 'hands' handy will be great to ensure that bathing your cat stays a safe and positive experience.
- Give your cat’s coat a quick brush over – Bath time should be a relaxing time for you and your pet. A quick brushing can help relax your pet and show them some extra love and also help brush away loose dirt or hair. Use this as a time to also inspect for any skin, coat or health issues. Did you know a dry coat or skin could be a fatty acid deficiency?
- Soak & Suds – Thoroughly wet your cat's coat, then apply shampoo. A strip from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail is usually enough shampoo for a wash. If your cat has a thicker coat, dilute the shampoo with some water for better lathering. If you don’t, it may clump more on the coat and be harder to lather through you cat's thick coat. Lather from top to bottom. First his back ,then gently scrubbing down to his tail and below. Lather his rear legs, his belly and chest, then the neck. Make sure you massage the shampoo into all of the creases, armpits and groin area. For best results massage in a circular motion. It will be like a mini-kitty massage!
- Wash Head & Face – You will not want to lather the head and face the way you did the body. DO NOT get shampoo into your cats eyes, nose, ears or mouth. Wet a wash cloth and gently wipe/rub the face clean. Use the cloth to wipe all the creases and wrinkles that may hold food or eye crust. After wiping the face clean, use the same wash cloth to wipe the inside of the ears clean. Ensure that the cloth is damp (not dripping). Dry the ears after wiping them.
- Rinse Clean - Now it is time to rinse your cat clean. Tilt your pets head upward to ensure that soapy water does not go into your pets eyes or ears. Just as you lathered your pet before, you will want to rinse your pet the same way. Rinse from top to bottom until the water runs off your pet clean/clear. Ensure that you rinse your cat's armpits well!
- Shake & Dry – Your almost done! This part can be fun! Your cat’s first instinct will be to shake like crazy and run! If you have a camera, this actually could be a cool picture. Letting your pet shake like crazy can actually be a tool in your corner when it comes to drying your pet off, this will shake off excessive water.
Take a towel and use this to hand dry your pet from top to bottom. Ensure you dry your pets ears, armpits & toes. You can use a blow dryer on a low setting if your pet very easy going and used to baths. Just ensure that while using the blow dryer that it will not burn or irritate the cat's skin. Now is a great time to run the brush over your pets coat again to smooth it out from washing.
Tips For Success
- Remember that bath time needs to be a POSITIVE experience! Have fun, this is a bonding time for you and your buddy.
- During the bath, make sure you are talking to your cat. Heck, even sing a song with a smile! Doing this little step will bring comfort to your cat.
- If your pet is new to baths, they may try to resist bath time at first. Soon though they will understand that this is something they may enjoy or tolerate as you make this a positive experience for them.
- You WILL get wet! There is no way around this so make sure you are not wearing your Sunday best.
- Have healthy treats like NubOnubs handy as a reward. Cat's will do just about anything for a treat, including a bath!