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Do I need to bathe my cat

Cat Baths and Cat Owners

Have you seen the videos on social media of the man in the bathtub with his cat? He’s singing a song about bathing his cat, and for the cat, bath time seems like something he’s enjoying. If you’re just a regular cat owner, with a regular cat, you probably can’t really relate to that scene. In fact, you may be dreading the very idea of a cat bath, and hoping you won’t have to give one. It might relieve you to know, then, that you probably don’t need to. Before you heave too big of a sigh of relief, though, there are times when bathing a cat is necessary. Dr. Dave has the scoop on whether you need to bathe your cat.

To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

Here’s why you don’t need to bathe your cat. Most of the time, cats do a great job of maintaining themselves and staying clean. What’s more, cats’ coats and skin have natural oils that they need to keep, in order to stay looking healthy. If you bathe your kitty, you risk stripping away all those beneficial oils and making your cat look, well, lustre-less.

Now, here’s why you might need to bathe your cat. Sometimes, older cats are not able to keep themselves as clean as they should, and you might need to step in. Longhaired breeds, like Persians, Himalayans, and Ragdolls, can also have trouble keeping all that long hair clean, and may need your help. If kitty gets into something nasty, you’ll want to give her a bath to keep her from ingesting whatever it is on her fur. If your cat gets bugs in his fur, like fleas, ticks, or lice, bathing can prevent the skin from becoming irritated, infected, or diseased. Last but certainly not least, the occasional litter box incident is going to happen, and it’s going to require cleaning the cat.

Getting Kitty Ready for the Water

It’s possible to teach a cat to enjoy, or at least tolerate, a bath. It’s also smart to get your cat comfortable with water, in case of an emergency water situation that could otherwise be traumatic. Start slowly, never forcing your kitty in the water, as this can be frightening for the cat and dangerous for you. Gradually introduce your cat to the concept of water, using a very small amount of water. Put about half an inch of water in the tub and provide a rubber mat so kitty won’t slip and slide. Use the cat’s favorite treats as a lure to get your pet into the water, and move slowly. Start with dipping a paw into the water, work up to standing in the water, then letting you sprinkle water on the cat’s fur, until finally, you can bathe your pet. Give treats throughout the process to give it a positive association. Remember, cats like to be in control, and if they cannot choose what is happening to them, it makes them very anxious and defensive.

Bathing a Cat

Once you’ve introduced the idea of a bath, it’s time to bathe to bathe your cat. Make sure you have all the right tools and supplies on hand, and remember, a cat’s scent is important. Don’t use human products on your cat, because you don’t want to cloud the cat’s natural scent with the smell of shampoo. Use unscented cat shampoo, and choose one that’s hypoallergenic, if possible. You’ll also need a tub or sink to hold water, a rubber mat to prevent slipping, a towel, lots of treats, and, if desired, a pet-specific air dryer. Here’s the process for bathing a cat:

  • Put a couple of inches of water in the tub, sink, or container.
  • Use treats or toys to lure the cat into the tub.
  • Pet your cat with water, using your hands to gently get the fur wet. You can also use a cup or a pet water wand if the cat is desensitized to it.
  • Put a small amount of shampoo on your cat’s body.
  • Wash carefully around the eyes and ears, and if you get shampoo in the eyes, rinse them with cool water or a saline solution. Try not to get any water into the cat’s ears, as this can become trapped and cause an infection.
  • Rinse your cat with the same technique you used to get the fur wet, making sure to remove all shampoo.
  • Condition kitty, if desired.
  • Dry the cat. You can either do this with a towel, with a pet air dryer, or with a human hairdryer, only on the very lowest setting, and only if the cat is desensitized to it.
  • Keep giving treats and verbal praise, all the way to the end of the process.

If the idea of bathing your cat doesn’t appeal to you, you can also use a wet cloth to clean your cat. Cat=specific cleansing cloths are also wonderful for quick wipe-downs. Cat-appropriate shampoo is also a boon, perfect for breaking up soil in the fur. Talk to your veterinarian about the products you should be using on your cat.

Let Us Do It for You

If you need to bathe your cat but literally cannot even, let us bathe your kitty for you! No matter what kind of care your pet needs, Dr. Dave’s Doggy Daycare, Boarding, and Grooming is your one stop shop! Our staff full of pet lovers has extensive experience in the pet care industry, and we understand that your pets deserve the best of everything. If you don’t want your dog to be lonely while you’re away from home, our daycare services will provide socialization with other dogs and a staff that will pay special attention to your pet’s needs. If you need to go out of town, we will keep your dog safe and happy, and we have a certified veterinarian available 24/7 in case of health care issues. Does your dog need grooming? We’ll provide your pet with a spa day worthy of royalty. For more information about all the services we offer to dog lovers and their dogs, call 408-647-2774 in Saratoga or 408-520-4902 in Campbell.