Cats are naturally clean animals and generally do not need to
be bathed. There are some occasions, however, when a cat may need a bath.
This might be if something gets on your cat's fur that you don't want him
to lick off, or if a cat is unable to properly care for himself. This may
happen with kittens, or with strays or outdoor cats that haven't had good
care. Sick or injured cats may also have difficulty keeping themselves
clean. Finally, longhaired cats may need help with brushing and/or washing.
Since most cats dislike water, bathing a cat can be as traumatic for the
owner as it is for the cat. For cats that need regular bathing it helps
to start when they are a kitten. This promotes
with bathing making the process easier as time goes on. Some may wait and
give a bath only if absolutely necessary.
Proper preparation for the bath is essential. Human shampoos should not
be used on cats as they are too strong, although some baby shampoos may
be used. Dog shampoos often contain ingredients that can be harmful to
cats. Make sure the shampoo is safe for cats. Next, protect yourself. Even
mild mannered cats may become upset by a bath. Wear long sleeves, long
pants, and a sturdy pair of gloves. Some people even wear goggles for protection.
Bath your pet in an enclosed space. Usually a bathroom with the door shut
works; escape is always a possibility. Fill up your sink with water warm
to the touch. Gently put some cotton loosely in your cat's ears (if possible)
to keep the water out. As you start to wet down your cat and shampoo him
be especially careful not to get water or shampoo in the eyes or ears.
The bath itself is a matter of what works best. You may need a partner
to help hold the cat while you wash him, or you may be able to hold and
wash him yourself. Make sure your cat is rinsed thoroughly after shampooing.
Left over shampoo can dry the skin causing irritation. Have plenty of towels
ready to dry off your cat with after the bath. In some rare cases a cat
may tolerate a blow dryer, but usually it is a case of drying him off the
best you can with towels.