How To Bathe A Cat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
I felt an instructional piece on bathing a cat would be good for all those out there that think cats never need a bath. And for a few of you stinky cat owners who think it can't be done. I have many cats and they all get bathed and nail clipped and ear cleaned and we even brush thier teeth. Whether they like it or NOT.

Submitted: May 22, 2008

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Submitted: May 22, 2008



How To Bathe A Cat
Most people think that cats clean themselves therefore they don’t need to be given a bath. This is a common misconception, but given the complexities of bathing a cat it is understandable most people do not want to perform this important task. Cats are not really different than dogs, they need to be groomed whether you do it yourself or have it done by a professional. The following tips are provided to make the experience of giving your cat a bath as pleasant as it can be for both you and your cat.
It is best to try to bath your cat is with two people, as four hands work better to control the animal. One person does the holding while the other does the washing and rinsing. The most convienient place to attempt this is in the kitchen sink, because it will be easier to control the animal at this height. Bending over the bathtub is usually not a good idea because you cannot get a firm grip on the cat, and you need to be in control and they need to know who is in control. Be sure to clear the area of all things the cat would try to grab for such as the dish soap, the dish drain or even the curtains on the window. Next be sure to assemble all your supplies, two towels, a mug for rinsing, shampoo and conditioner, if you choose to use it. Conditioner will make their coat soft and silky and if you have a longhaired cat it will help prevent mattes, but it is an extra step.
Once you have everything ready get the water going nice and warm, do this before you bring the cat to the sink. Cats have an internal temperature of 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit so the warmer water will help make them feel more relaxed. The person who is charge of holding the cat should now bring the cat to the sink, but be ready for the claws and the squirmy reaction. If you are comfortable with clipping the cat’s claws yourself it is advisable to do so before the bath. If your sink has a sprayer it is best to use that for wetting and rinsing, if you don not have one use a large mug or something similar to hold a large amount of water. Do not try to put the cat directly under the running faucet, as this will scare them even more. The agitation that is usually experienced here is because the animal is afraid of the noise and the unfamiliar aspects of the process not actually the water itself. An important note here is to keep the water out of the cat’s ears and eyes. The best technique is to avoid pouring water directly on the head at all. Taking a wet hand and just rubbing down the head area is usually enough, and it is less traumatic for the cat as panic sets in if they feel the water over their head. Try to work quickly and calmly, wet down, soap up, rinse off in one smooth transition. Remember this is your pet and this process seems scary and foreign to them so be sure to offer lots of reassurance. Talk to them and tell them how good they are being don‘t raise your voice or get upset even if they are being difficult. If you need to grab their scruff and take a minute to get them under control do so with a calm and steady voice offering lots of love. Make sure they are rinsed really well; you want to see clear water and no suds before you call it done. Excess soap will irritate their skin and make them itchy, so be sure to do a thorough rinse.
Now once the bath part is done its time to dry the cat. You want to squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Do this by running your hand from head to tail several times. The holding person should now get the towel ready by holding it out wide open. Wrap the cat up in the towel with only their head sticking out, all four limbs wrapped to contain those claws. Now it’s cuddle time, just hold them tightly and rub the towel around here and there, don’t try to get to concerned about drying, your goal is to just calm the cat and sop up as much excess water as the towel will hold. Now the second towel comes in, have whoever is free hold out the dry towel and make a switch, still trying to keep those paws and claws contained. This time get a bit more aggressive with the drying, do your best to get the head and belly and back as dry as possible. You won’t have much time for this because by now the cat has had enough and they are ready to break free. It is best to crank up the heat in the house or do this in the warm weather because you won’t be able to get the whole cat dry. Unless you have a very docile cat and then you can even try the blow dryer if you dare. Otherwise the cat will do the rest of the drying themselves, probably on your bed or some other place you don’t want a wet cat, because cats do these things.
These are just the basics for bathing your cat, and if you think this is too hard remember show cats get a whole regime of grooming and they survive and so do their owners. As you do it more often you and your cat will get more familiar with the process and it will get easier. Once you get good at it you may want to try more grooming products and even more grooming techniques such as, nail cutting, ear cleaning and brushing their teeth. If you have just brought home a kitten start these things when they are young and it will be a bonding process for the two of you. Just like the mommy cat cleaned them as baby kittens, now you are the mommy cat, and you need to do the grooming. Or you can just take them to the groomer or the vet, either way be sure that it is done because it is an important thing for your cat. After all isn’t it better to have a clean fresh smelling cat lying on your pillow at night?

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