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Giving Your Feline Friend A Bath

February 15, 2024

Cats are naturally very clean, which is one of the advantages of having one of them as a pet. While Fido enjoys rolling around in dirt and splashing in mud puddles, and often would prefer to skip baths altogether, Fluffy is very fastidious by nature, and may spend as much as a third of her waking time cleaning herself. You don’t have to bathe your cat, but you can if you want to. Here are some tips from a local Lake Echo, NS veterinarian on bathing your cat.

Are Cats Okay With Being Bathed?

We’re pretty sure that if we could ask our feline patients this, they would reply with a hard ‘No’. The Bengal and Turkish Angora breeds are two exceptions: they both enjoy water, and even like swimming. However, most cats prefer to see to their own beauty needs. (Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Many kitties absolutely hate being bathed.)

Why Does My Cat Get Cuddly After A Bath?

We may never know the answer to this for sure, but we do have a few good guesses.  Cats have scent glands, which allow them to mark their territory with scent. Whenever you wash Fluffy, you strip her of her oils. Your furry little diva may want to rub all over you to re-anoint you and mark you as hers. Then again, she may also simply be glad that it’s all over.

Should I Bring My Kitty To A Groomer?

This is optional in most cases. However, some kitties may benefit from going to the salon. If your cat is a senior, simply being held may be uncomfortable for her. Cats with thick or fluffy fur may also need some extra help. Ask your vet for more information.

 Should I Give My Cat A Flea Bath?

Be sure to consult your vet before using flea shampoo, especially one that you bought at a store. Unfortunately, some of these products are unsafe. Never double up on parasite prevention. Adding a bath to another parasite control method may expose your feline friend to dangerous amounts of chemicals. It is best to err on the side of caution, especially if you are using another parasite control method.

Do Cats Need To Be Bathed?

Generally speaking, no.  However, if you’ve just adopted a kitten, it wouldn’t be bad to get her used to baths. That will make things much easier for you both if she ever gets something spilled on her fur or has a run-in with a skunk. Hairless cats may also benefit from baths, as they can get a bit greasy without any fur to soak up the oil from their skin.

Just be sure to check with your veterinarian before bathing Fluffy. This is especially true if your pet is a senior or a very young kitten, or has medical conditions. Never bathe a cat that is recovering from wounds or surgery unless your Lake Echo, NS vet specifically recommends it.

How Often Should I Give An Indoor Cat Baths?

If you do want to bathe Fluffy, you should only do so every four to six weeks. Otherwise, you might inadvertently end up overbathing her. This could strip the oils from her skin and coat, which may cause more harm than good. Your pet may end up looking dry and even a bit frizzy. This may also cause skin irritation. For more information, please consult your Lake Echo, NS veterinarian.

Do Cats Feel Better After Baths?

If Fluffy is getting bathed because you accidentally dropped ketchup on her,  then she will probably feel much more comfortable afterward. Cats that are infested with fleas will also feel relief after treatment. However, we’re focusing more on regular baths than flea baths here. Flea baths would fall more under general medical care rather than beauty regimes.

How Should I Bathe A Cat?

Giving Fluffy a bath isn’t exactly rocket science. However, there are a few dos and don’ts to consider. 

Here are the most important ones:

  • Brush your cat the day before, to remove any dead fur or dander from her coat
  • You don’t have to wear full-body armor, but you should wear thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt
  • Have a few towels on hand
  • Put a mat down in the tub or sink to prevent scratches
  • The bathwater should not be any deeper than your kitty’s chest
  • Make sure the water is not too hot. Cats have very sensitive skin. Even water that seems pleasant to us could burn your cute pet
  • Only use shampoos specifically designed for cats. Shampoos designed for dogs or humans are too strong for Fluffy
  • Don’t get suds on your furball’s head: you should be able to wipe her face and ears with a washcloth
  • If you don’t have a sprayer, use a teapot or pitcher to rinse your pet gently
  • If you do have a sprayer, keep the pressure on low

As mentioned above, Fluffy may not be happy about getting bathed. If your pet decides to express her opinion, talk gently to her, and pet her to help calm her.

What Is The Best Way To Dry My Cat?

As soon as you’ve finished giving your cat her bath, wrap her in a towel. Do not rub vigorously, but press the towel gently into her fur. This will help it absorb some of the water from her coat. If your furball has had enough, just let her go. If she doesn’t mind, you can blow dry her. Keep a low heat and gentle setting. Some of our feline overlords seem to enjoy being pampered this way. Others? Not so much. Don’t force the issue.

As soon as you let go, your cat will probably retreat into one of her favorite warm, cozy spots and begin grooming herself to get her fur back in shape. She may glower at you or sulk for a few minutes. A new toy, a tasty treat, or maybe some catnip should improve Fluffy’s mood, and get her motor going again.

Is There A Good Time To Bathe My Cat?

In terms of time of day, it really comes down to what works for you. We would suggest waiting until it’s fairly warm out so Fluffy doesn’t get too cold while drying off.

Why Do Cats Hate Baths?

Many cats are naturally frightened of water. One of the reasons for this is that Fluffy is just not a good swimmer. She can easily get swept away even by gentle currents, and she can be over her head in just a foot of water. Also, wet coats are quite uncomfortable for kitties.

Plus, Rivers and ponds could hide predators in the wild, and wet cat fur gives off a distinctive scent, which could attract predators.

Of course, Fluffy may also be annoyed because she knows she doesn’t look her best.

Conclusion: While cats are normally very clean, you can bathe them if you like. Just check with  your vet first, and take precautions to be sure that you are doing so safely.

Have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us at your local Lake Echo, NS animal clinic anytime! We are dedicated to offering great care!