How to give a cat a bath?

If you’re a cat owner, then that’s probably one of the questions that you keep on asking.

First of all, is it even necessary to give your cat a bath?

Then there is the commonly accepted fact that cats hate water. If this is true, then giving your cat a bath is going to be extra difficult.

In the next few minutes, you’ll learn how to bathe a cat and some important facts relating to your pets.

Do Cats Need Baths?

This is an important question that should be answered for pet owners.

Cats groom themselves so some people think that they don’t need baths at all.

That’s one of the most common myths about cats as pets. The fact is that even if cats do groom themselves, they still require regular baths.

Here are some of the reasons why a cat may need a bath:

  • Cats may require help when it comes to cleaning themselves when they become older. This is because their fur becomes greasier as they get older. It’s a natural process but it does mean they need help when it comes to cleaning.
  • Cats also need help in cleaning when they become overweight. That’s because they will have a hard time reaching other parts of their body.
  • When cats encounter fur problems like matted fur, cutting is only a temporary solution. Bathing them regularly will ensure that it will not happen again.
  • When they have something stuck to their backside or their paws. Sometimes, they are unable to clean themselves completely.
  • If your cat is infected with parasites like fleas. Giving your cat, a bath using special cat shampoo or soap can help.

These are just some of the reasons why you should bath your cat.

Why Are Cats Afraid of Water?

Another common belief about cats is that they hate water. How to bathe a cat that hates water? Some believe that it’s just better not to give them a bath, because you could end up with scratches and bites.

The problem is that’s a myth. While many cats do show an aversion to getting wet, not all cats have a hatred for it.

If you have a Turkish Van cat for example, then you should know that this breed loves water. This kind of cat originated in the Lake Van region of Turkey. That region is quite hot so these cats became used to plunging in the water in order to stay cool.

Research suggests that the reason why cats dislike water is because they are shielded from the elements all their lives. So, if you want your cat to be unafraid of water, you have to start early and start giving it baths while it is still young.

How Often to Bathe a Cat?

There is no one answer to this. The frequency of bathing your cat would always depend on the need for it. Some cats may require baths more frequently than others. As mentioned, older cats will require regular cleaning.

While you may have a schedule that you can follow when bathing your cats, there are also times when you can go out of the schedule. Like when your cat has something stuck to its fur for example.

What You Will Need

There are several things that you will need in order to give you cats a bath. These are the supplies and tools that are needed for a proper cat bath.

  • Cat shampoo
  • Cat brush
  • Cat nail clippers
  • Towels
  • Comb
  • Pitcher
  • Rubber mat

You will be needing the mat in the sink or your tub so that your cat will not slip and fall while you are giving it a bath. You will need the pitcher of container when rinsing.

Getting Your Cat Ready

It is important to prepare your cat or kitten for bathing in the proper way. Here are the steps that you can take in order to do that.

1. Trim the Claws

This step is both for you and your cat. Your cat can become agitated once they start to get wet. To prevent you from being hurt or any damage they might cause, it is better to trim their claws before the bath or the shower.

Do the trimming a day or two before giving your cat a bath so it has time to calm down. After the trimming is done, give your cat a reward.

2. Brush the Fur

Any tangled fur would be more difficult to remove once the cat is wet. The best way to avoid this problem is to brush your cat’s fur before bathing. You don’t have to take your car to a cat groomer in order to get that done. You can do the brushing yourself.

A smart move is to brush your cat while its nails are being trimmed.

3. Get the Right Kind of Cat Shampoo

There are so many different pet care products that are available right now. It can be confusing to find the right shampoo for your cat. Read the instructions on the label to know if a product is ideal for your cat.

4. Making Your Cat Want to Bath

This may seem a bit tricky. How do you get a pet that is known to dislike water to want to bath? Here are some ideas that you should consider:

  • First of all, you should tire out your cat by playing with it. This would make a cat more mellow and also less likely to scratch or bite you once it is in the water.
  • Another great idea that you can use in order to make your cat want to bath is to place some of its toys in the tub. Place the toys in the empty tub and then put your car in. Let the cat play with the toys and then add a little water. That way, the cat would get used to the water. You can repeat that process until the tub is full and then you can start bathing your cat.
  • You can also get a special toy for your cat which it can only play with during bath time and at no other period.  That way, the cat will look forward to taking a bath because it will associate it with playtime.

5. Prepare the Bathroom

There are a couple of things that you have to do in order to prepare your bathroom for bathing your cat. Make sure that you do these things first:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed. Not only will this prevent the cat from escaping, but if you have more than one cat then it will prevent the other cats from coming in.
  • Make sure that the toilet cover is down. In case the cat panics when you start the bathing process, it might jump straight into the toilet.
  • If the cat’s litter box is placed where you are giving a bath to your cat then remove. If your cat panics then it may head straight for the box and create a huge mess.
  • Place a rubber mat on the tub so the cat will have a secure footing.  You should place some towels around the tub too because it could get messy when the bathing starts.
  • Cats can be unnerved by the sight and sound of running water so it would be a good idea to have some water in the tub already before you bring in the cat into the room. You should use warm not hot water.
  • Fill two containers with water which you will have handy. You will use the water in the containers to rinse the cat.
  • Never use the overhead shower or the faucet in order to wash your cat. The water coming out might be too strong and it could overwhelm your cat. The bath period should be as soothing and as gentle as you can make it.
  • Make sure that you have everything that you will be needing with you before you start bathing your cat. You should not have to run out for anything when you start bathing your cat.

How to Bathe a Cat That Hates Water

Now, we get to the main part of the article.

This is where you will be learning how you can give a proper bath to your cat. It’s not as complicated as it may seem. Just follow the tips here and all the preliminary tasks that we have given and you will be on the right track.

  1. Control Your Cat

It is very important that you should have control over your cat when you are giving it a bath.

You need to talk to your cat in a calm and soothing voice during bathing. Your cat may prefer to just have two feet in the water. In order to keep a hold on your cat, you may have to hold on to some loose skin.

You also have the option of getting a cat harness which you can use during bathing. Just make sure that the harness will not hurt your cat or kitten.

2. Have Someone to Help You

It would be best if you have someone with you to help during the washing. You might have a hard time handling the cat on your own.

3. The Actual Washing

Be sure that you soak the body of your cat from the neck down. Use shampoo and water in order to clean the neck, body, legs, paws, belly, and tail of your cat. Start from the neck down to the tail. Be sure to keep the shampoo away from the mouth, teeth, tongue, eyes, and ears of your cat. Even if those parts are dirty, you don’t have to use shampoo there because it could be irritating.

4. Rinse

You can then rinse your cat using the water that is in the tub. Once you are done with the first rinse, you can drain the tub and then rinse it again using the water in the containers you have with you.

You can dilute the shampoo before you use it. That will prevent you from using too much of it. If your cat has a thick long coat, the washing and rinsing may take longer.

You can then wash your cat’s face using water and a washcloth. You don’t have to use shampoo there because there is risk that it could get into your pet’s eyes.

Never put your cat’s face directly under running water. That will cause it to panic.

5. Drying

Use a towel to remove as much water as you can from your cat. Make sure that you do it gently so as not to hurt your cat.

If your cat is not afraid of a hair dryer then you can use that in order to make the drying process a lot quicker. You can then use a brush and comb in order to remove any tangles in the fur.

How to Bathe a Cat with Fleas

Now, if you are bathing a cat with fleas, then you try this special trick.

Once you start bathing your cat, the fleas will start to move towards the dry parts. That could mean a mass movement of the fleas from the body to the face of your pet.

To prevent the fleas from escaping to the face of the cat, what you can do is to wet the neck area. This will stop them from moving there.

You should also use a special shampoo which are formulated for treating fleas.

Watch Out for Signs

While you are giving a bath to your cat, you should be on the lookout for signs of panic and distress. If you do see signs, then you might want to suspend the process until the cat is a lot calmer.

These are just some of the ideas that you can follow when giving your cat a bath.

Now, if you hear any of your friends wondering as to how to bathe a cat, then you can give them some solid tips that actually work.


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