14 June 2023
Thankfully most cats do not need to be bathed very often as it can be quite a daunting task for many pet owners. Cats are known for their independent nature and their meticulous grooming habits. However, there are instances when giving your feline friend a bath becomes a necessity, such as when they get themselves into something sticky or dirty. If your cat has a skin condition, they may require regular cleaning with specific instructions from your vet. If this is the case, please follow your vets advice.
With the correct approach and a lot of patience, bathing your cat can be a positive experience for both of you.
• In most cases cats do not like bath time so make sure you have everything in reach and laid out ready. You will need, cat friendly shampoo, a large towel, a non-slip mat for the bathing area, a gentle brush or comb and some treats to reward your cats good behaviour.
• Brush before a bath as matted fur can hold a lot of water and will irritate the skin.
• Choose a suitable location for bath time. Opt for a quiet, warm room where you can easily contain your cat during the bath. A bathroom with a sink or bath works well with no drafts or escape routes!
• Trim your cats nails! Cats tend to lash out when you are bathing them so to help minimize scratches and accidents, trim your cats nails a day or 2 before you are planning on bathing them. This will help to protect both of you.
• Introduce your cat to the water gradually. If your cat is not accustomed to water, introduce them slowly before attempting a full bath. Start by placing them near a running faucet or use a damp cloth to gently stroke their fur. This will help them acclimate to the sensation of water.
Once you have made the necessary preparations, it is time to begin the actual bathing process.
• Fill the bathing area with warm water. Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature for your cat, neither too hot nor too cold. Fill the bathing area with a few inches of water, just enough to wet your cats body without causing them too stress or anxiety.
• Slowly and carefully lower them into the water, supporting their body with one hand while ensuring their head remains above the water. Make sure to place them on the non slip mat you have already prepared in the bathing area to prevent accidents.
• Wet your cats fur with a handheld sprayer or cup. Gradually wet your cats fur starting from the neck and working your way back to the tail. Avoid spraying water directly on their face and be mindful of their ears and eyes.
• Use a specially formulated cat shampoo that is gentle on their skin and free from harsh chemicals. Massage the shampoo into their fur taking care to cover all areas while avoiding the face.
• Thoroughly rinse your cats fur ensuring all traces of shampoo are removed. Leftover shampoo can cause skin irritation.
End on a good note
Gently lift your cat out of the water and wrap them in a large, soft towel. Pat them dry, taking care not to rub vigorously. Offer praise, affection and a few treats to reinforce positive associations with the bathing experience. Playtime can also act as a reward and distract from the urge to rub against the furniture!
Tips for success
• Maintain a calm and soothing demeanour throughout the process. Cats can sense anxiety so stay relaxed and calm to help keep them at ease.
• Use a handheld sprayer or cup to control the water flow and prevent startling your cat.
• If your cat becomes too stressed, consider using a dry shampoo formulated for cats.
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