Many people do not realize how much cats benefit from having a bath. I have had felines for many years, and only recently learned the benefits of bathing a cat on a regular basis.
We assume because cats lick themselves that they do not require any further grooming. We might brush them from time to time, but that's generally all we think is needed. However, the self grooming does not remove dirt, dandruff or excess fur. It only cleans the top coat. Cats will also find it difficult to groom hard to reach places and it will be even harder if the pet is overweight.
The pet also swallows fur, which will lead fur balls. In addition, dander is produced from the saliva on the coat. Dander is what causes pet allergies.
There will be very little shedding or dander after bathing a cat. Even people who have an allergy to felines can be around one who has had a bath. It makes a huge difference to the coat, as it will look and feel almost silky.
Perhaps you have heard these benefits and are now thinking of bathing a cat for the first time. It's a challenging task, but worth the effort. If you are fortunate to have a feline with an easy going temperament, it will of course be easier for both of you.
I know my cat Roxy feels better after she has been bathed, because she walks around proudly, and then she gets on my lap to have her back stroked. Her loud purring tells me she's happy and content.Credit: Pixabay public domain
What You Need to Bathe Your Cat
Gather everything you need first. You don't want to be searching for a towel or other items while you are dealing with an angry or upset cat.
You should have at least two towels, cat shampoo, and a hand held shower device. You will also need a blow drier for after the bath. The shampoo should be specifically for cats. We should not use one of our shampoos as it may irritate the pet's coat or skin.
Since you will be bathing the cat for the first time, he or she will not know what to expect. Wait until the last minute to get your pet and stay calm yourself. Pets can sense when we are nervous and this will only increase their anxiety.
Steps For Bathing a Cat
1. Cut the kitty's nails first. Don't forget to do both front and back! This is important, because even the most mild mannered cat may accidentally scratch you while they are being bathed.
2. If your cat is small or frail, you may want to use a sink or large basin. My pet goes into the bathtub, because she's an average size cat. Use a hand held device for washing and rinsing. This is much less frightening for a pet than putting them in a tub or basin where the water has already been added. Placing the pet directly into water may give the impression they are going to drown. In addition, most cats do not like water and don't want to be immersed in it.
3. Don't forget to use a strainer over the bathtub drain. A LOT of hair will be removed during the bath. This is actually a good thing for the cat. However, it's not good for the drain. You may want to have two people for this procedure until the kitty gets used to the bath. One person can hold the pet while the other bathes. Stay calm and talk in a normal tone of voice. Cats react to our voices, and talking to them loudly or shouting should definitely be avoided. Credit: My own
4. The water should be quite warm. Cats body temperatures are higher than ours, so cool water will feel quite uncomfortable. Wet the cat and then shampoo, beginning from the head down. Take care of the eyes and ears and avoid getting shampoo in those delicate areas. Rinse well and be sure to get rid of all shampoo. Only use shampoos made for cats. They cannot use our shampoo as it can dry out and irritate their skin. A second shampoo and rinse can be done if you feel the pet needs it.
Needless to say, it is quite normal for the cat to not enjoy the bath at first. If you have a Ragdoll or Ragamuffin cat, you probably won't find it all that difficult. It really depends on the pet's temperament which you already know well.
Photo is of my cat Roxy after her bath. As you can see she has a sock over her head to keep it warm.
Drying the Cat After the Bath
The cat needs to be dried as quickly as possible once you are finished. Felines can get chilled in a short time. Wrap the kitty in a big towel and dry her really well. You may want to use more than one towel for this.
Credit: My ownAs you can see from the photo, Roxy also has an old sock over her head. This is to protect her ears as well as her head. Then I use a blow drier on low setting. Her coat will be dry in a few minutes.
She does not enjoy this, due to the noise the blow drier makes. The other option is to place kitty in a warm room and let them dry naturally. You may be able to place the cat in sunny place, which will help them to dry faster.
Once she is dry I comb her fur again, and the coat looks beautiful. She loves this procedure. Most cats love to have their coat brushed or combed.
Of course, she gets a few of her favorite treats once everything is completed. The pet soon learns he or she will be rewarded after. I think the pet deserves it too.
Roxy has a bath about every two months or three months. This will vary depending on the cat. It also depends on the season. Cats shed more in the warmer months than they do in the winter time. A long haired kitty may benefit from having it done more frequently.
So this is the procedure for bathing a cat for the first time. You will probably find that you didn't like the procedure any more than the kitty did. However, the cat really will get used to it. Roxy doesn't make a peep now when she goes into the tub. I think she understands now how much better she is going to feel. Plus, it really cuts down on the shedding around the house.