How to Bathe Your Cat
Cats bathe themselves daily, but that does not mean you don’t need to give them an occasional bath. A short or long coated cat will benefit from a bath at least a couple of times a year.
Benefits of bathing your cat include:
– Cut down on shedding
– Reduce the dander that affects people with allergies
– Cut down on the amount of hair ingested that causes hairballs
– Remove fleas
In addition, if your cat is ill or has soiled herself, you may need to help her out with a bath, especially if she has long hair.
Cat Bath Instructions
To bathe your cat at home, begin by collecting everything that you need. You will need at least two absorbent towels, a washcloth, paper towels, a gentle cat shampoo or baby shampoo, a squirt bottle or cup and a hand dryer. Depending on your cat’s temperament, you may need another person for additional help.
Use a kitchen sink
Use a sink that is large enough for your cat, hopefully in a room that can be closed off. The kitchen sink is best, especially if you have a nozzle with a gentle flow. Have one towel folded in half lying nearby on the counter.
Fill the sink halfway
Fill the sink half full with warm (never hot) water. A rubber sink mat will help prevent your cat from scratching the sink and keep your kitty in the tub. Be sure to keep your hands on your cat at all times and look for signs of her trying to escape so you can prevent this. All movements should be smooth and you should remain calm at all times.
Gently rinse and shampoo
Carefully, put your cat in the water and gently wet her down. Be careful not to spray water directly in her eyes or ears. The squirt bottle or cup filled with water is a gentle way to rinse and add water. Apply the shampoo with a gentle, but firm all-over massage to help relax your cat. Use the washcloth to wash and rinse her face. Open the drain to remove the soapy water. Rinse all shampoo from your kitty’s coat and reapply shampoo only if excessively dirty.
Hand dry before blow dry
Before drying, use your hands to remove as much water as you can. Pick your cat up from the sink and place her on the towel. Use the other towel to wrap her and absorb as much water as possible. Turn on the hand dryer on a low speed to help the cat become accustomed to the sound. Have the dryer away from your cat at first and then move it closer. If your cat is not tolerating the hand dryer, you may have to just let her air dry in a warm room.
After a few baths, your cat should get used to the baths and learn that the experience is not bad.
When bathing a cat infested with fleas, you will need to wet around the cat’s neck before placing her in the tub. Use and apply a cat-safe natural non-toxic flea shampoo so the fleas don’t migrate to her head and ears. Then, place her in the sink half full of water. Let the water drain several times to wash the fleas down the drain. You may need assistance with this bath.
Excessively Matted Hair
If your cat is excessively matted, take her to a groomer to be shaved. Mats are very uncomfortable and have to be professionally removed. Mats will only tighten with bathing so don’t try washing them out yourself.
The earlier you introduce your cat to water, the likelier she is to learn to love baths. Kittens introduced to water early on also reduces their fear of water, which makes it easier on you in the long run.
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