If you have owned a lot of cats, you know how much they hate water. If you are a new pet owner, you are likely in for a big surprise when you attempt to give your cat its first bath. No matter how cute and cuddly they are, you will receive the full force of their nails and claws when you put them in water, and they can quickly shred your skin to pieces, leaving you bleeding and in pain before you even get them in the water.
If you need to bathe your cat, keep reading while we provide you with a step-by-step guide that will not lead to injury for either of you.
How Often Should I Bathe My Cat?
If you asked your cat how often you should bathe it, it would likely say never, and it may surprise you to find out that we technically agree. Despite the huge mess they like to create around the litter box, cats are extremely clean animals that meticulously bathe themselves for a good portion of the short time they are awake each day. In fact, when a cat doesn’t groom itself it is often the sign of a health problem, and you should take it to the vet and have it checked out. We recommend bathing a healthy cat rarely, if ever.
Why Would I Have To Bathe My Cat?
How to Bathe Your Cat
If you have determined you need to bathe your cat, then these are the steps we recommend you take to do it.
1. Secure Your Cat
Before you tip off your cat that you intend to bathe it, we recommend securing the cat with a harness. A harness is a great way to control your cat’s movements without having to touch it. It also makes it easier to catch the cat if it should start running. Avoid the harnesses with chest padding for baths, especially if you are bathing to remove fleas, as it will be hard to clean the area behind the pad.
2. Choose A Spot And Method
In our experience, we found that cats do the best using a spraying showerhead attachment. It doesn’t require filling a basin with water and tends to scare the cat less. If the showerhead attachment is not an option, you will need to choose the tub, sink, or basin to give them a bath. The tub is probably best for full-grown cats, but you may find one of your sinks or a shallow plastic basin easier when bathing a kitten.
3. Gather Your Supplies
You will need plenty of towels to clean up any water the cat knocks out of the bath. You will also need a towel to dry them off and another to wrap them up when they are finished. Have your shampoo ready, and you may also choose to use rubber gloves to protect yourself from scratches. In our experience, the gloves tend to scare the cat more, but they are helpful to minimize injury, especially if you haven’t given many baths before. If you are using gloves, get the kind that goes up to the elbow for maximum protection.
4. Fill the Basin
If you use a tub, sink, or basin, fill it with warm water to get it ready. You want it to be warm to the touch like you would create for a baby.
5. Place The Cat In The Basin
Gently put your cat in the water, and moving quickly but calmly and gently, get the fur wet with the clean water, or use the shower attachment to rinse them. Keep them in place with the harness instead of your hands to minimize injury to yourself. A second person will be helpful here.
6. Apply Shampoo
Continuing to move quickly and apply the shampoo to your cat’s body and head but be careful not to get any in their eyes.
Once the shampoo is applied and has created a lather, gently rinse it from your cat’s body with the sprayer or a small cup. Make sure you’ve removed all of the soap before lifting the cat out of the water.
8. Towel Dry
Use a clean towel to dry off your cat the best you can. Once again, the harness is the best way to keep the cat in place while you work. Once you get most of the water off, you can wrap them in another dry towel and carry the cat as long as it will allow absorbing more moisture.
9. Air Dry
Once the cat is tired of being carried, you can let it down and remove the leash. It will probably run off to groom itself and will return in an hour looking for a treat. It probably deserves one, and so do you.
Bathing your cat will be a memorable experience for both you and your cat, but with the cat harness and shower attachment, it can go a lot better than with a tub full of water and rubber gloves. Some cats don’t mind taking a bath, and if you do it every few months from birth, they may become used to it. However, most cats never need a bath, so there is no sense putting you both through it unless it’s absolutely necessary. In that case, move quickly and use this guide.
We hope you have enjoyed reading and feel more comfortable about this seemingly impossible task. If you know other cat owners that might help, please share this guide to bathing your cat without getting scratched on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: tookapic, Pixabay