While your feline friend may be a scrupulous “clean freak”, it still requires being washed or bathed from time to time. Yes, your cat is perfectly able to groom itself with her intrinsic features- the tongue and mouth.
But at times it may get a little dirtier, stickier or smellier than usual and you may need to wash her. At other times your cat may be suffering from a medical problem that requires frequent washing with medicated shampoo.
Whatever the reason for wanting to wash your furry friend, the process of washing your cat can be very stressful for both you as most of them react negatively to being washed.
As much as every cat owner knows you can never put the words “cat” and “bath” together, sometimes it’s necessary.
Good news! It’s possible to wash it without causing harm to any of the parties involved.
Reasons to wash your cat
- Ringworm- if it is infected with this fungal infection, the vet may prescribe regular medicated baths which will be determined by the severity of the condition.
- Flea infestations- although it's not a necessity to wash a cat infested with a flea if the infestation is severe and your feline friend possibly has allergies, a bath may really be helpful.
- To get products off their coat- flea killing products such as pyrethrin/permethrin, motor oil, tree sap, potpourri may stick on its fur hence require cleaning.
- If your cat suffers from obesity or arthritis, it may be difficult for them to properly clean their coats hence the need for a bath.
For the arthritic feline, a warm bath and massage from the lathering shampoo can actually be soothing.
Wash time and grooming your cat
Before bathing your cat, grab a cat-safe shampoo or shampoo and conditioner. Go for Paws & Pals 5-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo, All Natural Anti-Itch Oatmeal Dog Shampoo and Conditioner, Nature's Miracle Supreme Oatmeal Odor Control Shampoo, among many others.
1. Schedule baths
Select the period of times when this pet is very calm and relaxed especially after a play session when they are worn out.
2. Trim the claws
For your own safety, it’s important to trim, clip or snip the cat’s claws before bathing notes ASPCA. Felines tend to get a bit more excited when putting in water, so as to eliminate the chances of injury or damage, just trim the nails.
However, be careful not to cut too close to the skin to avoid causing pain or bleeding.
This should be done a couple of days (1-2) to wash day to give the cat some time to relax.
3. Brush your cat’s fur
To get rid of any knots, tangles, loose hair or mats, brush the cat’s fur before a bath. Once it is wet, it will be more difficult and painful to remove these.
While brushing it you can gently insert some cotton buds in her ears in order to prevent water from getting inside them (incase it had some water on its fur) while at the same time trim its claws - you know, killing two birds stone-this is especially possible if your cat likes to be brushed. However, for this to work you will need an extra pair of hands.
4. Get your supplies ready in advance
Ensure you have all the supplies beforehand and make sure you have a well-laid plan.
- Get the right kitty shampoo or soap from the local pet shop or your vet.
- Do not use the regular human shampoo: because not only will it dry out the cat’s skin but it can be toxic to them.
- Additionally, do not use dog shampoo either or dawn washing detergent as these can affect the cat's skin resulting in rashes or even something worse.
- Carefully read the instructions to make sure it’s perfect for your feline friend and the parts to be mixed/diluted with water if necessary. ASPCA suggests mixing one-part cat shampoo to five parts water.
5. Secure the tub
Put a rubber mat or towel in the tub or sink to prevent your cat from slipping and to make sure she has a comfy footing.
Additionally, you can use some small cooling racks or oven racks in the tub or sink to provide the cat with something to hold. This can effectively reduce the possibility of you being scratched and ensures it feels more secure.
Use about 3-4 inches of water depth while washing it.
Spray hose your cat
Use a hand-held spray hose to make it wet enough. While spraying is keen to avoid directly spraying into the nose, eyes, and ears.
Alternatively, you can use an unbreakable cup or a plastic pitcher instead of a hose.
Ensure the shampoo is exhaustively rinsed off
Once you are done washing it. Using Lukewarm water and a spray hose or any of the alternatives mentioned, to properly rinse off the shampoo from your pet. Be careful in removing the residue shampoo as it can irritate the skin or catch more dirt.
Wipe its face using a washcloth
You can use plain water to clean the cat's face. However, if it's extremely dirty, you can use a far more diluted solution of shampoo while being very cautious around the ears and eyes.
Drying your feline friend
Using a towel, blot as much water as possible from the cat’s fur. When done, wrap your pet in a large towel and use it to further dry her in a warm area. However, if the towel gets wet, get a new one to ensure that you’ve properly dried it.
Additionally, if your cat has long fur, it’s advisable to use a wide-toothed comb to untangle her fur.
Give it a treat
Reward your pet with praise and her favorite treat for the prosperous washing session. If your cat associates bathing with something positive- such as getting delicious treats, it will definitely be looking forward to the next day you bathe it.
Washing your feline is just one of the basic parts of an effective cat grooming routine, others include ear care, dental care eye care, paw and nail care among others.