One of the most dreaded pet care activities for cat owners – bath time!
Generally, cats take great care in keeping themselves clean. In fact, it probably seems that whenever you see Kitty around, he or she is either sleeping or grooming. So, the good news is, cats rarely need baths.
But, sometimes, kitties get a bit mischievous and can find themselves in some pretty strange, even smelly situations, so they may need a little extra help cleaning up. That means bath time! However, for many cat owners, those words can incite fear and anxiety, because that means it’s time to face off with Kitty’s claws.
If you’ve never given your cat a bath, that first dip in the water can be a battle. It’s probably not going to be as simple as just placing your cat in the tub and turning the faucet on. Oh no, more likely than not, Kitty’s going to put up a fight! Ok, it’s not always that bad, but you should definitely go in prepared.
Far too often, cat owners don’t exactly come out of bath time completely unscathed. Most cats don’t like water, and most cats have sharp claws – not the best combination, but completely manageable so long as you keep a few things in mind. And whether you’re a novice or an accomplished cat washer, it never hurts to get a few extra tips.
So, what is the safest way to give your cat a bath? Here’s a little advice:
- Fill your tub with warm water, enough to where only half of Kitty’s body is submerged. No hot water!
- With confidence, gently place Kitty in the water. To make sure you have a good hold on them, you may want to hold them gently by the scruff. This gives you more control and helps to keep them calm.
- Use something small, like a cup, to gently pour water over Kitty’s fur, until completely wet.
- Contrary to what you might think or be doing, it actually helps to take Kitty out of the water when applying the shampoo. Place them on a towel outside of the tub, and gently scrub the shampoo into their fur, avoiding the eyes and ears.
- Place Kitty back in the bath, and thoroughly rinse off the shampoo with your cup. Don’t turn on the showerhead! That will scare them and is a sure way to get scratched.
- Once completely rinsed, dry them as best as you can with a towel. Don’t worry if you can’t do too much, they’ll take care of the rest.
If you’re still not feeling too comfortable with this process, try some positive reinforcement to make bath time more enjoyable for both you and your cat. Try offering them a favorite treat as a reward and give them lots of reassurance. If you turn it into more of a time for bonding, you’ll both be a lot les stressed.
For those with new cats or kittens, it’s important to get them used to the idea of bath time while they’re still young. Here are a few steps to take when introducing them to the water:
- Fill the tub with just enough water to cover your cat’s legs.
- Carefully place them in the water.
- Don’t shampoo at first. Just pet them while standing in the water or give them a nice, gentle brush.
- Reward them with treats. They’ve been so brave!
- With each try, increase the water level, and when you and your cat feel ready, try shampooing.
If after all of your efforts, Kitty still doesn’t quite take to baths, you might try a dry shampoo or mousse. Both are available at pet care stores and will remove dirt from your cat’s fur as well as leave them smelling fresh.