You’ve undoubtedly noticed your cat licking itself with its sandpaper-like tongue on more than a few occasions. It may seem like your cat is almost always licking its fur. The reality is most cats are fastidious about their grooming, spending up to 50% of their day keeping themselves clean. However, this dedication to self-grooming doesn’t preclude your cat from needing the occasional bath.
But how do you wash an animal that notoriously hates water?
This blog will cover a few tips on how to wash your cat at home. But if you still can’t get your cat near water, don’t worry. A cat care centre in Vancouver would be more than happy to take care of your cat’s grooming needs or provide more insight into making bath time less challenging.
Why Cats Need to be Bathed
If cats spend around half their day cleaning themselves, why do they need to be bathed? While it’s true that felines are fantastic at keeping clean, there are simply times when they need a little more grooming than they can provide themselves.
Depending on your cat’s habits, whether they are indoor or outdoor cats, and their physical traits, your cat could benefit from a bath every couple of months. Debris, like mud, tree sap, or excessive dirt, can be difficult for a cat to clean off. This is especially true of outdoor cats, long hair breeds, and older, arthritic, or obese cats who can no longer clean themselves as effectively as before.
Are you the pet parent of a hairless cat? They may require more frequent bathing to help eliminate oils on their skin that could stain fabrics and furniture.
How to Give a Cat a Bath
Now that we have covered some of the why, let’s dive into how to wash a cat safely. Cat washing will require a few items. You should have a cat-specific shampoo on hand and a few towels. It’s also best you wash your cat somewhere you have access to a hand-held shower head since most cats will tolerate overhead rainwater better than a soak in a tub.
If you anticipate your cat will fight the bath, it’s a good idea to tire them out beforehand. A 10-minute play session can tire out even the most energetic kitty! Before dishing out the soap, give your cat a gentle brush, especially if they have longer hair. Brushing will help eliminate tangles, prevent matting, remove excess hair, and help calm them.
When it’s time to start washing, use a lot of positive reinforcement and encouraging language; your cat may not like being washed, but if you keep calm, they are more likely to tolerate the bathing. Turn on your shower head and check the temperature. The water should be warm but not hot. Gently place your cat on a shower mat or in the sink and hold them by the scruff. Begin to wet them and carefully massage a small amount of shampoo into their fur, avoiding the eyes and nose. After a quick scrub, it’s time to rinse.
After their bath, thoroughly dry your cat before releasing it into the house. Not only will this keep your beds, furniture, and carpets safe, but cats are also very sensitive to temperature, and they can quickly catch a chill with wet fur.
Towel dry as much dampness as you can and if you think your cat will tolerate it, you can even use a hairdryer on the lowest setting. Keep your cat in the washroom where it’s warm until they are reasonably dry.
Other Grooming Tips
While tending to your cat’s fur, remember that other areas also require grooming. Your cat’s ears, nails, and teeth also need regular cleaning. You can do this at home or talk to your cat care centre in Vancouver.