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Can I Give My Cat a Bath: Frequency, Preparation and Other Details
Cat owners often question whether to bathe their pets or not. It is indeed needed to bathe your cat. However, some sources state they generally do not require you to bathe them as they are self-sufficient in staying clean. Nevertheless, there are instances when you must wash them. So, those who question, can I give my cat a bath? Yes, you can.
In this article, we will discuss the things to keep in mind while bathing a cat.
When Should You Give Your Cat a Bathe?
Cats can keep themselves clean, but sometimes they need a traditional bath. For instance:
- Cats that are over eight years of age are prone to develop joint pain. Thus, it is difficult for them to reach certain parts of their body, which is when they need your help bathing.
- You must give your cats a bath if they have ingested harmful chemicals, pollen, oils, etc.
- Sometimes, after defecating, their condition becomes too messy and wiping it does not always help. In a situation like this, you should bathe them.
- Cats with longer hair need regular baths to stay free from painful mats.
- Lethargic cats may not have the energy to clean themselves. So, if your cat is old or has medical issues, you can bathe them.
- If your cat has got injured recently, you should bathe your cat. The vet might recommend more frequent washes as a part of their wound care.
- Cats with allergies, fleas, ringworm or other skin conditions need special medicated baths. You should always listen to your vet's advice in situations like this.
- Overweight cats also find it hard to reach certain parts to clean them. Hence it is necessary to wash them.
How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?
Unlike wildcat species, domesticated felines seem to hate water. There can be two probable reasons; they do not like the feeling of being drenched. Since their coats take a while to dry, they try to avoid getting wet or cold, which is why they lick themselves clean.
Typically, you are supposed to give cats baths every 4-6 weeks unless your vet advises you to bathe them more often. Furthermore, bathing a cat depends on how often they groom themselves and their surrounding environment. If your cats are more outdoorsy, it is better to keep them clean so they do not develop any allergies or other diseases.
What Are the Things You Need to Bathe a Cat?
Some things you need while you clean your cats. For example:
- Rubber gloves to prevent scratches
- A non-slip mat for the tub
- Shampoos that are made especially for your cats
- A pitcher or spray nozzle with your tub for rinsing
- A soft cloth to wash their face
- Cotton balls for cleaning their ears
- A towel to dry them
How to Prepare Your Cat for Bathing?
Some cats prefer the water, while some do not. If your pet is uncomfortable around water, you must work with them. You must remember cats will restrict this at first. Therefore, give them time to be comfortable around water.
Here are certain things to do before giving a cat a bath.
- Trim Their Nails - As you trim their toenails, it facilitates more stability in the tub. Moreover, your cat’s claws are for its defence. If they feel uncomfortable in the water, they may scratch you.
- Brush Prior Bathing - Cats shed all year long, which can happen even during their bath. So, to avoid clogging your drain, it is better to brush them before. This will remove all the loose fur, debris, and other foreign particles.
- Schedule a Bath Rightly - Since cats do not like to stay in the water, they will object strongly during a bath. Hence, you can schedule a bath when they feel mellow and tired. This will reduce their chances of preventing you from cleaning them.
- Ensure they Have a Grip - Your cat may feel it is challenging to stand on a tub; in such a condition, they may panic. This is why you can put a traction mat or fold a towel in the bottom of the tub. After placing the mat, add a few inches of water. Your goal is to make them as comfortable as possible in the tub.
- Keep your Bath Supplies Close - In the whole process of bathing your cat, it is possible that they hardly stay still. Hence, you have to keep every bathing essential within your reach. Since you will also have to lure them with toys and treats multiple times, you must keep them close by as well.
How to Bathe a Cat?
You can wash your cats anywhere, in a sink or bathtub, at your convenience. After arranging all the necessary bath supplies, you are all set to clean your cat. You can give treats too as a reward at every step to encourage them.
Step 1: Prepare your cat to be comfortable in the tub or sink. The best way to do it is by putting them in a tub or sink without water. You may have to repeat this a few times before putting them in water.
Step 2: Start by dropping some toys in the water, which will make your cat curious to investigate the water.
Step 3: Fill the tub with very little lukewarm water and leave some dry room for your cat to stand.
Step 4: Use a toy to lure him to the dry area of the tub. Your goal is to let them instinctively jump in, so do not carry them and put them in the tub.
Step 5: Encourage them to feel the water. You can use toys and treats to grab their attention.
Step 6: Now, you can wet their fur with your hand and sprinkle water on their legs and back. Gradually increase the amount of water in multiple sessions.
Step 7: Before introducing shampoo, let them understand the process. You may mimic shampooing by rubbing your hands and then cleaning them.
Step 8: Once they are comfortable with this gesture, use natural shampoo but in a very less quantity. Make sure to clean them thoroughly to avoid any skin irritation. You can research and find a soap-free hypo-allergic shampoo for your cat.
Step 9: If you want to use a conditioner, follow the same steps.
Step 10: Dry them using a towel. Since cats dislike water, they consider it a foreign element, which is why they obsessively try to dry themselves.
What Are the Things to Keep in Mind While Bathing a Cat?
As you have read so far, you now know how to bathe them. Nevertheless, you should know certain things while washing a cat.
Try Pour Over Method
Your cat may not instinctively take a dip in the water. Therefore, you need to apply an alternative method, for example, pour-over. You can use a pitcher, plastic mug or a hand-held shower to pour water over their body.
After lathering them with a cat-friendly shampoo, you must rinse them properly. Take your time and wash them carefully. If any product remains on their body, they will ingest it when they clean themselves. Moreover, it can also irritate their skin and develop an infection.
Clean their Face
Do not put shampoo or conditioner on their face. Rather, you can use a damp, warm cloth to wipe their face. Be very cautious around their eyes, which are very sensitive. If you feel cleaning with water is not enough, put a drop or two of their shampoo on the cloth to remove anything on their face.
What to Do After Bathing a Cat?
After giving a cat a bath, make sure to take the right steps. Otherwise, they may feel extremely uncomfortable, and it can trigger panic. Thus, these are the following things you must do after bathing your cat.
Dry them Properly
Use a soft cloth to wipe their faces and cotton balls for the ears. It is advisable not to use any Q-tip or other instruments that one can apply to humans. Drying them is extremely important so that they do not get cold.
Bathing can be frightening for them, and it is natural if they take time to accustom to water. You must keep patience with your cat, especially when bathing them. This is why you have to keep encouraging them so that they feel comfortable in the water. You can reward them with treats at every step.
What If You Do Not Want to Bathe Your Cat?
There can be days when your cats do not agree with you, even if they are comfortable around water. On such days, the following tips will help you.
- Use pet-safe wipes to clean them, or use a wet cotton cloth.
- Dry pet shampoo is available in the market; look for natural and unscented products.
- Brush them to remove loose fur.
Tips to Bathe a Kitten
Bathing a cat and a kitten is almost the same, but you must be more careful around the smaller ones. Since they are more playful, you may find it hard to hold them still. Therefore, follow these tips.
- Rubber gloves work the best in these cases.
- Buy a smaller tub for kittens, as they might find it hard in the bigger sinks.
- Rewarding them at every step will encourage them to face the water.
What Are the Benefits of Bathing a Cat?
If you are still wondering, "can I give my cat a bath" check out the following benefits of bathing domestic felines.
- You should wash your cat because it stimulates blood circulation and removes all excess oil and dander.
- Maintaining a healthier coat without any dandruff or debris eliminates parasite infections.
- Bathing also maintains a neutral body odour.
- Giving cats a traditional bath also helps them relax, especially in extreme weather conditions.
- Bathing makes them feel more affectionate to their owners.
In addition, if they are groomed properly, they will shed less hair. However, you must only bathe them when it is necessary. If you have any confusion regarding their bath time, consult a vet.
As you now have the answer to "can I give my cat a bath" you can stop worrying. Since cats generally clean themselves, you need to monitor when they need your assistance. You must always remember not to use any human products on them unless your vet asks to do so. Nevertheless, if you find it hard to wash your cats, get professional help.