Do Cats Need Baths?
Do Cats Need Baths?
Cats are typically self-cleaning creatures, and many kitties can go their whole lives without needing a cat bath. But some cats require them, either on an occasional or regular basis. Here are a few instances where you may need to know how to give a cat a bath:
- You have a hairless breed. Hairless cats need regular baths to remove excess oil from their skin.
- You have a long-haired cat. Even if you keep your cat well-brushed, they might struggle to keep themselves clean. That’s where you come in.
- Your cat can’t clean themselves thoroughly because they are obese, arthritic or elderly.
- Your cat gets fleas, lice or another parasite. You may need to bathe your cat with a special shampoo to get rid of the bugs.
- Your cat gets into something. Cats tend to get into sticky situations—sometimes literally! If your cat is sticky, smelly, oily, greasy, grimy or otherwise dirty, they’ll need your help to get clean.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: If your cat dislikes water, only bathe them if you absolutely have to. It’ll save stress for both you and your kitty.
You’ll also need these items:
- Cat-safe ear cleaner
- A bathmat, towel or another non-skid surface for the bottom of the tub or sink
- A spraying faucet attachment like Rinse Ace 3-Way Faucet Sprayer, or a water pitcher for rinsing your cat
- Grooming wipes made for wiping the eyes and face, like Optixcare Eye Cleaning Wipes
- Plenty of towels
- Cotton balls
- Conditioner (optional)
- A pet grooming loop such as Coastal Pet Products Adjustable Nylon Grooming Loop (optional)
- A pet dryer like the Flying Pig Grooming High Velocity Dryer (optional)
- An extra pair of hands (optional, but EXTREMELY useful!)
Tips for Keeping Your Cat Calm
Keeping your kitty relaxed and happy will make the bath easier for both of you. Here are some tips for keeping your cat calm:
- Use a Feliway diffuser, which uses pheromones to help your cat feel safe and secure.
- Keep yourself calm. If you’re stressed, your cat will feel it and could react with stress behaviors of their own. So practice deep breathing, put on some relaxing music—anything to keep your own anxiety down.
- Place a mat or wet towel in the bottom of the sink or tub. That will give your cat secure footing so they can check “slipping and falling” off their “to-worry-about” list.
- Make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold. Cats’ skin is especially sensitive, so keep the water lukewarm to ensure that they’re comfortable.
- Offer plenty of treats, both during and after the bath. Your cat’s more likely to stay calm if there’s a tasty treat in store for them.
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