cat drawing

Cat sketch copyright: Jane Gates

Cats do not need regular bathing like we do. They have wonderfully adapted tongues and usually enjoy keeping themselves properly groomed without human interference.

Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary to bathe a cat, especially for medical or flea treatments. This requires bravery and wisdom on the part of the cat shampooer. Here are some techniques that might help you survive a cat flea shampoo.

First make sure you really need to do this and you can't get around the problem by any other method of flea treatment for your cat.

To make survival of a cat flea shampoo into an art you need to be in control. This means BE PREPARED! Get help if possible so you have another pair of rescuing hands should they be needed. Dress as though you may have to battle an ocean storm on a row boat. Have all materials like shampoo, sink or tub and lots of towels all ready before hunting down your cat.

Place a mat on the bottom of the washing area so the cat won't slip and slide. Have your cat brushed, particularly if long-haired, and use only a flea shampoo formulated for cats. If you are washing your cat in a sink and have a hose adapter, take advantage if it! It will help on the rinse cycle.

If you can clip claws first you will probably save on band-aids for yourself later. If bathing your cat in a sink, face the cat to the back of sink. This way escape is somewhat blocked and you don't become the ladder to freedom. (Probably a very wet, scratched ladder.) Start washing at the neck and head on down the body. Hold your cat in place at neck and shoulders. You might find those extra hands of a friend valuable at this point. Avoid wetting eyes, ears and mouth areas -- yours, yes, but the cat's too. Try to handle surprises calmly. This is a major par of the art of cat flea shampooing. Then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more. Remaining flea soap can create an irritation to your cat's skin, so be sure to wash thoroughly with clean, body-temperature water. When done, quickly wrap your feline in a big, fluffy towel. If you delay, your cat will probably wrap YOU in a soggy spray in the attempt to shake dry. Dry the cat as thoroughly as possible. Keep him or her as warm as possible until the undercoat is no longer damp. If your cat has a favorite place to hide like a warm bed or a cat play house, you can let your friend dry naturally.

If you are very fortunate and have a remarkably mellow cat, you might even get away with using a hair dryer set on warm, not hot. Test the hair dryer theory well before you even set up for bathing. If your cat doesn't approve, it may be a very long time before you see your kitty again. Keep stroking and encouraging you cat through the whole process. It may help kitty keep calm. It might even help YOU stay calm. With a little practice, you can become an expert in the art of surviving a cat flea shampoo. In the meantime, -- good luck!