Giving Cat A Bath: How To Bathe Your Cat The Right Way
"Do we look like we want a bath right now?" // @Jennifer C.
Cute, funny, beautiful. These are some ways you describe your cat, but they demand to be taken care of. If you don’t wash the smell of pee out of them, it can lead to problems such as unwanted fleas and expensive veterinarian visits.
Healthy cats don’t need frequent bathing. A proper cat hygiene starts with good nutrition and timely vaccination to control parasites. But sometimes they come to you a little too smelly, sticky, or oily. You want the stench out, but most cats do not like taking baths. However with some warming up and preparation, you can bathe your cat and live to tell tales about it.
In just three steps, your cat will be the freshest in the neighborhood.
Don’t jump straight to bathing
Bathing your cat is a process, like cooking. You don’t just cook a spaghetti out of the blue. You have to go grocery shopping, cut the ingredients, and follow the recipe. The same process applies to bathing your cat.
And just like millions of people enjoy the process of cooking, bathing your cat can be gratifying for you and your cat. This will reinforce your bond and we dare say, relieve stress. But you have to start at the right footing.
STEP 1: NAIL CLIPPING
Pro Tip #1: trim your cat’s claws before bathing - it’ll be better for you.
Pro Tip #2: get them used to being touched in the legs and feet before clipping - it’ll also be better for you.
Spare yourself a painful lesson and follow these tips. Give your cats foot massages while giving them praises and treats for relaxed behavior. When you think they’ve gotten used to this feeling, you can begin clipping.
Use sharp cat nail scissors. This will make the session faster and more convenient. Apply gentle pressure and avoid startling your cat. Cut a couple nail at a time until your cat gets used to the feeling.
STEP 2: BRUSHING
Most cats enjoy brushing, but some require bribery in the form of treats.
There are many benefits to brushing your cat’s hair. It keeps their fur nice and pretty. It removes dirt and dead hairs. It breaks tangles and matted hair, smooths their coat, and help their body insulate more efficiently. It can also stimulate blood supply to the body and trigger the skin to produce healthy oil that give the coat a splendid shine.
Brushing prevents hairball
Your cat’s body is supple. It bends and flexes so cats can reach tight places like armpits to lick. They spend a significant portion of their day grooming themselves with their tongue that’s perfectly designed with backward-pointing spines for self-cleaning. This is how they ingest a lot of their dead hair and forms a hairball.
Cats often vomit hairballs. There are also laxatives formulated for cats to defecate hairballs. But sometimes it has to be removed surgically.
Brush your cat specially when shedding to prevent hairballs. It also helps to remove hair before it falls to your furniture. Do this at least once a day. However, older cats and cats with thicker fur shed more and need more frequent brushing.
Find the right brush
The wrong brush means it won’t reach their undercoat and won’t be as effective.
The longer the hair, the more space you need on the comb’s bristles. Cats with long and thick fur will benefit from a pin brush, while cats with long and silky fur will find soft-bristle brush more useful. These cats can use a metal or teflon coated combs for finishing touches.
Cats with shorter hair can brush less frequently with a rubber brush. Additionally, you can use a flea comb or any comb with small closely spaced teeth if you suspect or detect nasty parasites.
How to brush your cat
Brushing may excite your cat. Keep it in portions at first until they get used to it. Stop if brushing is a struggle and resume at later time where you cat is at a relaxed state. Aim for smaller goals for each grooming session and reward their relaxed behavior.
Brush gently from head to tail, one side at a time. Be gentle in sensitive areas like belly and chest. Avoid poking the skin to prevent matting of undercoat hair. Losing large clumps of hair and signs of irritated skin are not normal. See your good veterinarian if these occur.
STEP 3: BATHING
"Let's get this over with" // @Mac Armstrong
Good news: cats don’t need frequent bathing.. but it can be necessary. Sometimes they get exposed to toxic substances such as insecticides or motor oil. Since cats clean themselves, they can ingest these chemicals easily.
You’re not alone if your cat doesn’t like bathing. You have to be patient until they get used to it. Incentivize with treats while you’re in the process. You may also benefit having another person with you.
Keep the bathing session short. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase to form a routine. Watch for uncomfortable behaviors - tensing, twitching, freezing, shaking, growling, and hissing. Stop if any of these occurs and resume when your cat is at a relaxed state.
Your fancy shampoo is a no-no
Your shampoo may have organic ingredients, but they are not designed for cats. Their skin’s pH level is different from ours. Human shampoos will dry out their skin and coat, making them susceptible to irritation that can lead to open wounds and infection. Use mild shampoo that’s specially formulated for cats.
You can dilute half to two thirds the normal strength of a cat shampoo to make it easier to apply and rinse. It also helps you save money.
There are many options for cat shampoos. No-rinse cat shampoo is ideal for a quick session and good for cats with little to no experience with bathing. Dry cat shampoo, as the name suggests, is designed if you don’t want to wet your cat and is effective for treating excessively oily skin. There are special cat shampoos made to alleviate human allergies. They prove to be expensive, but may be worth it.
How to bathe your cat
Let’s begin with the right place. Your kitchen sink works best unless your cat doesn’t fit. Your back will also thank you for it.
Use warm, NOT hot water. You may use a sprayer to wet and rinse your cat. Alternatively, you can use a cup but only if your cat allows you.
Hold your cat’s scruff and avoid getting their eyes and ears wet. Watch and feel for red flags such as lumps, bumps, sores, parasites, balding or unhealthy skin changes. This may indicate health problems. There shouldn’t be slimy spots after rinsing.
Gently squeeze excess water from their fur and wrap them in towel. You may use a second towel for faster drying. A hair dryer set to low or cool may also work, but only if your cat allows it. Brush them while damp and incentivize with treats. Let the fur completely dry before your cat goes outside.
And that is it! Having a clean cat is essential to keeping them healthy. The more you do it, the easier it gets for you and your cat.
Let’s hear from you
How often do you bathe your cat? What tips and tricks do you have on bathing cat? Let us know in the comments section!
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Until next time, cat lovers!