Depending on your cat or the situation at hand you might consider giving your cat a bath. This is usually not recommended, but there are times when you have to do what you have to do. Some cats don't mind it, especially if you start at a young age, but others hate it immensely and often throw a fit during the process.
Pros of Cat Baths.
There aren't many pros to giving your cat a bath. Most cats don't need them and will take good care of themselves, but there are some that are bad at taking care of themselves, spend a great deal of time outside, or came from a situation which wasn't good for them and they are very dirty.
Dirty Looking Cats.
Light colored cats often show dirt and dust much more easily. If they are a cat that gets into a lot of it they could be looking dirty quite often. On the other hand even cats with some dark or mostly dark can get into things that make them look dirty. A bath quickly ends the dirty look.
There are some situations in which your cat ends up abnormally dirty. Maybe you got him or her from a home where they were very dirty, or maybe he or she got lost for a long period of time and came home very dirty at the end of the day. Either way, a bath can be a quick and easy fix to an abnormally dirty cat.
Show cats must have exceptionally clean appearances and it is a time for a lot of good grooming. It is possible to bathe a cat and give them a cleaner and shinier look then if you don't bathe them. If you are planning on showing your cats, you might want to consider baths a day or two in advance.
While there are certain situations where cats do well with baths, most don't enjoy them and some even scratch their owners trying to get out of the bath. This usually means that there are more cons to bathing a cat then there are pros.
There are a lot of cats that throw a fit at being bathed. Some do this in the form of noises made in the throat. Others do this with louder complaints. Still others sink their nails in and attempt to escape the torture of the bath. This can cause for some pain to the owner and is sometimes too much to bear.
Most cats are very sensitive to soaps and can get sick or have their eyes or ears hurt. You should always use cat shampoo, but even that can bother them. They can get sick from it not getting all the way rinsed out (sometimes hard to do with a cat that is throwing a fit), have it get in their eyes and cause irritation, and can even have skin reactions causing itching and sometimes pain.
For most cats, most of the time, it is unnecessary to give them a bath. They will groom themselves often enough and to a degree that they will keep themselves clean without the risk of irritation and without the growling, screaming, and clawing.
It is a personal decision as to whether you will let your dirty cat take care of itself or if you will give it a bath. I have seen kittens become used to taking showers with their owners and liking it. But most cats don't like it. Make sure you use cat shampoo and that you are prepared for however your cat may react. If you start young you are more likely to have a good experience then if you try it out on your eight year old cat.
Bathe a Cat
Cats groom themselves daily and rarely need a bath. If your cat has fleas, is dirtier than normal or gets into something harmful however, a bath is a good idea. An occasional bathing for grooming is harmless, so long as you have the patience to do so and follow some simple guidelines.
- Decide whether your cat really needs a bath. There may be other ways to clean your cat, such as brushing the cat, combing or even rubbing it down with a cloth.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Not only is it important to wash your cat but it is important to be safe from any possible scratches, minor or major. A jumper or a long-sleeved shirt must be worn so that your cat has no bare skin to scratch. If you don't have one, you could wear long-sleeved gloves. It is also a good idea to wear clothing that isn't new.
- Get at least two people involved in washing your cat, especially if your cat is rather strong and can kick and wriggle its way out of your hands. One person should hold all four legs and hold the cat's jaw so it can't open its mouth to bite you, but be sure you don't hold it really tight so it can't breathe. Hold your cat firmly so it cannot wriggle out from your grip.
- Trim all nails before even attempting to wash a cat - this will reduce scratching.
- Gather your supplies before trying to bathe your cat, as you will need two hands for this task. Having to search for bathing supplies will be next to impossible once you have the cat in your hands.
- Fill a tub with several inches of very warm water. Place a folded towel on the bottom of the tub for the cat's comfort and to avoid slipping and sliding.
- Stuff cotton balls into your cats ears to avoid water getting into them during bathing. If the inside of their ears get wet, they are more prone to infection.
- Lather your cat's body with shampoo and warm water. Really work the shampoo into the hair, as it can be rather oily and tough to wash.
- Rinse the cat thoroughly by pouring warm water from a cup over it's body. Try not to use a sprayer to do this, as it will likely freak the cat out and cause you more struggle than necessary. It's important to remove all of the shampoo residue so that the cat doesn't ingest any when they are cleaning themselves later.
- Squeeze any excess water off of the cat by gently massaging your hands down it's body. Use the dry towel to finish drying your cat. If your cat tolerates it, you can also use a blow dryer to finish the drying process.
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The Cat Grooming Guide
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