Bathing your cat can be a traumatic experience. Our Pet Expert Ben Willcocks provides his advice to help make the process as easy as possible.
For all of those cat owners out there, I thought I’d list off some tips and tricks to help you bathe your cat without sustaining any major emotional or physical injuries – to you OR your kitty!
Before we get started, you may be wondering why you need to give your cat a bath? And if so, how often does this need to be done.
Cats are notoriously clean animals, constantly grooming themselves and one another. So, it is dependent upon their lifestyle, breed and health status. An indoor cat will need to be bathed less frequently than an outdoor cat, who may occasionally get dirty and require a good scrubbing.
The breed and age of your cat also plays a role. Certain breeds that are heavy shedders may need a bath every once and a while to loosen and wash away dander, particularly if a member of the family is allergic to cats. Also, as cats age, they become less efficient at cleaning themselves, so may require an additional bath every now and then.
Finally, the health of your cat may dictate their bathing ritual. Cats with allergies or skin conditions may require a therapeutic bath, just as cats with fleas might need a flea bath.
The message to take from this, is to bathe your cat if there is a good reason to, but otherwise leave them alone. And with any pet, be careful to limit the number of baths, as it may dry out their skin, and leach out important oils.
Run the water gently whilst holding your cat nearby. This familiarizes them with the water, but make sure you are far enough away that they don’t become too frightened.
Whilst the water is running, positively reward your cat. The reward is entirely dependent upon what motivates them, whether that be treats, or a good cuddle. Either way, the aim is to associate the water with something positive.
Gradually, dampen your cat with a wet cloth or towel, whilst holding them and providing affection and/or treats. This starts the process of getting them wet
Finally, put them in the luke warm bath, whilst holding them relatively firmly. Don’t ever dunk their head under water. This seems self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised.
Remember, whatever you put on your cat’s fur, they will attempt to lick off. So make sure everything you use is non toxic.
Be realistic. Cats don’t like water, you should expect this is going to be a challenging task at all times.
Do you have a question for Dr Ben? Ask him here