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Is It Safe to Bathe My Cat?

September 08, 2021

can my cat take a bath

Every cat parent knows that cats hate water. Getting your cat to take a bath is a challenge in itself, let alone the scratches that you may get when your cat starts to squirm and scream when water touches its skin. However, is it really necessary to bathe your cat? The simple answer is no. BUT there are some exceptions. This article will help you understand why bathing cats is needed in certain circumstances and how we wash them without the fuss. 

Do I need to bathe my cat?

  • Certain circumstances will need you to bathe your cat. For instance, if your cat has gotten into something sticky or toxic, such as motor oil, paint, or gasoline, you need to wash it immediately before your cat ingests the harmful chemicals.
  • As cats get older, it is harder for them to clean themselves, and they prefer to sleep all day. Moreover, if your cat is obese, it will be hard to reach certain areas of its body while grooming. Lesser grooming means more gunk and dirt build-up on its fur. Mats can also form, so make sure to help your cat groom itself to clean its body.
  • Consider the breed of your cat as well. Cats with long coats require more maintenance than short-coated cats. Maine coons, Persians, and Himalayans need a bath once a month to minimize fur matting. Hairless breeds such as Sphynx will need more frequent bathing as their bodies would secrete oil and could soil your clothing. 

What to do before bathing your cat?

Since we all know that bathing cats can be a challenge, we suggest preparing all your materials beforehand. 

  • A large bucket or a sink to bathe your cat on, depending on their size
  • Cat shampoo (choose the ones with no harmful chemicals, and if you can find organic formulated shampoos, that would be better. Remember NOT to use human shampoo as it can irritate and is not suitable for cat hair and skin)
  • Towels and a soft cloth to dry your cat's face and body
  • Cat brush to remove mats in your cat's hair
  • Cotton balls to dry your cat's ears
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands from unwanted scratching

How to bathe your cat the right way

  1. Prepare your cat - familiarize your cat first on the sink or tub. Place your cat for a couple of minutes in the sink without water, remove it, and place your cat again. Try to give your cat some treats and see if it helps your cat get comfortable. Do this frequently, many times a day, until your cat gets the hang of it.
  2. Place your cat into the water - remember to prepare lukewarm water and gently place your cat in it. Keep it calm by stroking its fur gently. 
  3. Wet your cat slowly - avoid wetting your cat's face. Focus on soaking its body and tail and make your way up.
  4. Add shampoo, lather, and rinse your cat - make sure there is no soap and shampoo residue left behind
  5. Clean your cat's face - use a soft cloth to clean your cat's face. Do not splash its face with water.

What to do after you bathe your cat?

After your cat's bath is over, dry your cat thoroughly with a towel so it will not feel uncomfortable for too long. Cats can also get cold quickly, so make sure to help them dry themselves. Try using a hairdryer if your cat has long hair to make the job a little easier, but make sure it is in a cool setting, as very hot air could also damage your cat's skin.  

The National Cat Groomers of America recommends cats get a bath and blown dry every 4-6 weeks to keep their coats from getting matted or pelted.

Bathing might not be your cat's favorite thing to do, but most of the time, it is essential. You would need a lot of patience to help your cat stay calm during the process. Pay attention to its needs and make sure to reward your cat after with a special treat, for a successful bathing session.