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FAQS About Bathing Cats
February 15, 2024

Kitties are naturally very clean, which is one of the benefits of having one of these charming little furballs as a pet. While Fido might enjoy rolling in mud puddles and skip baths, Fluffy tends to be quite fussy about cleanliness. In fact, your furry friend may spend up to a third of her waking hours on her beauty regime! Even though you don’t have to bathe your cat, you can if you want to. However, there are some things to keep in mind. In this article, a local Leonardtown, MD veterinarian offers advice on giving your kitty a bath.

Should I Bathe My Cat?

It’s really up to you. Cats are generally pretty good about staying clean, so your feline buddy will probably be just fine seeing to her needs on her own. However, it’s a good idea to get your pet used to the process, even if you don’t plan to bathe her regularly. That will make things much easier for you if Fluffy ever gets something spilled on her fur.

Just be sure to check with your Leonardtown, MD vet before bathing Fluffy. In most cases, this should be fine, but a senior, a kitten, or a pet with medical issues should be treated with caution. You also don’t want to bathe a cat that’s recovering from surgery.

Do Cats Enjoy Baths?

We can’t poll our feline patients, but if we could, it’s probably to say that most of them would  answer  this question with a hard ‘No.’ The vast majority of kitties definitely do not enjoy baths. (Actually, that’s an understatement. Many kitties absolutely hate bathing.) However, some kitties didn’t get that memo. For instance, Bengals and Turkish Angoras both like water and even swim.

Will My Cat Be Happier After A Bath?

That really depends. If you’ve recently found Fluffy on your porch or on the streets, and she’s dirty or greasy, she will probably be much more comfortable after a bath. If you’re giving your pet a bath because you dropped BBQ sauce on her or she ran into a skunk, she’ll also probably appreciate the help.

Is There A Good Time To Bathe My Cat?

It’s really just a matter of what works for your schedule. Just make sure your place is sufficiently warm, so Fluffy doesn’t get too cold while drying off.

Why Do Cats Cry When Being Bathed?

Most cats are naturally scared of water. This may also be a very instinctive fear. Fluffy isn’t a very good swimmer, and can easily get swept away even by gentle currents. She’s also over her head in just a foot of water. Plus, in the wild, rivers and ponds could hide predators. Another possible reason is that wet cat fur gives off a distinct scent which may draw predators.

Then again, your feline pal may just know she looks a little funny when she’s sopping wet. You never know with cats!

After A Bath, Why Are Cats So Cuddly?

Fluffy may never reveal the truth about this one, but we do have a few good guesses. Cats have scent glands that they use to mark their territories. They also consider their humans as ‘theirs.’ Your feline overlord may want to rub against you to make sure you are properly anointed, and therefore ‘claimed’ as hers. 

Are Flea Baths Good For Cats?

It’s not uncommon for people to give cats flea baths. Be careful here: if your pet is on another parasite control product, giving her a flea bath may expose her to too many chemicals. Flea treatments also fall more under general medical care than beauty regimes. 

Consult your Leonardtown, MD veterinarian before using flea shampoo, especially one that was purchased from a regular store. Unfortunately, some of these products are unsafe. 

How Do You Bathe A Cat?

Bathing Fluffy isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. 

Here are the most important ones:

  • Brush your cat that day or the day before to remove any dead fur or dander from her coat. This will make bath time easier for you both.
  • You don’t have to wear full-body armor, but we recommend thick jeans and long-sleeved shirts. 
  • Get everything ready beforehand. Have a few towels on hand. It’s also not a bad idea to put a mat in the tub or sink to protect it from scratches.
  • Always use lukewarm water. This is very important! Our feline friends have very sensitive skin, so what feels like pleasantly warm water to us could burn them. 
  • The water shouldn’t be any deeper than your cat’s chest.
  • Fluffy may be unhappy about the process. If she cries, just talk to her gently and pet her to keep her calm.
  • Only use shampoos made specifically for kitties. Products made for dogs or humans are too strong for cats, and can strip the oils from their fur.
  • Don’t get suds on your cute pet’s head: a washcloth should suffice for cleaning her face and ears.
  • You can use a teapot or a pitcher to rinse your furball. If you’re using a sprayer, don’t turn the pressure or heat up.

How Frequently Should You Bathe Your Cat?

If you choose to bathe Fluffy, do not do so more than once every four to six weeks. Otherwise, you might inadvertently overbathe her. This could strip the oils from her skin and coat, which could do more harm than good. Your furry friend may end up looking dry or frizzy, or even get skin irritation. 

How Do I Dry My Cat Off?

Wrap Fluffy in a towel as soon as you have finished bathing her. Don’t rub vigorously; just press the towel into her fur to absorb some of the water. You can blow dry your furry little diva using a low heat and a gentle setting if she doesn’t mind. Some cats seem to enjoy being pampered this way. However, this is by no means universal. If your kitty doesn’t like the blow dryer, just let her go.

As soon as you release Fluffy, she will probably retreat to one of her favorite warm, comfortable spots and start grooming herself. Your kitty may also occasionally glower at you to express her indignation at being subjected to (gasp) being bathed. Don’t worry: she’ll probably get over it pretty quickly. A new toy, a tasty treat, or maybe some catnip should get that motor going. 

Should I Bathe My Cat At Home Or Take Her To The Groomer?

This one really depends. In most cases, you should be fine bathing your feline pal in the sink or tub at home. However, if your kitty 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 Leonardtown, MD vet for more information.

Conclusion: Although cats usually are very clean, you can bathe your feline pal if you wish. Just make sure you do so safely. Check with your vet first. Also, only use lukewarm water and products made for cats.

Do you have questions about bathing your cat? Is your kitty due for an appointment? Please feel free to contact us anytime! As your local Leonardtown, MD animal clinic, we’re here to help!