Cats and water don’t go well together. If you’ve ever wondered, Are you supposed to give cats baths? here’s what you need to know:
- Cats, especially the ones that live indoors, don’t usually need baths.
- Bathing your feline too frequently could actually do more harm than good.
- In rare cases — when bathing is unavoidable — you need to be calm and relaxed so that you don’t stress your kitten even more.
Are You Supposed to Give Cats Baths?
Cats and water don’t go well together. In fact, you’ll have better luck getting your grandma to understand your taste in music, than finding a cat that would happily jump in your bathtub. If, however, you’re determined to get your feline into the shower, read on as I answer questions like, Are you supposed to give cats baths? and more.
Should I Bathe My Cat?
Firstly, let’s tackle the main question: are you supposed to give cats baths? The answer would mainly depend on whether you have an indoor or an outdoor cat. Felines that live indoors usually don’t need baths, as they clean themselves regularly anyway. However, kitties that spend most of their time outdoors might benefit from occasional bathing because getting dirty when out and about is practically unavoidable.
The keyword here is “occasionally.” Many cat owners bathe their felines every month, which is completely unnecessary and sometimes may do more harm than good. Here’s why:
- Cats are masters at maintaining great hygiene levels. They make it their hobby and occupation. In fact, their tongues are adapted with little hooks, called filiform papillae, that help them clean their coat.
- Soaps and shampoos strip the natural oils and can cause irritation if used too frequently.
- Putting your cat through all the stress associated with getting wet on a regular basis can break the trust between you.
Having everything mentioned in mind, the answer to the question, Are you supposed to give cats baths? is clear — no, unless it’s absolutely needed.
Of course, there are exceptions when bathing your cat is necessary. If you’ve adopted a kitten off the street, for example, and it’s all covered in dirt and whatnot, you will have to clean it. Older and obese felines also need bathing from time to time, as it might be hard for them to reach all parts of their body. Hairless breeds have to be bathed once every week, too, because they can’t control their body oils.
Now, let’s say you do need to get your furball in the shower. There are certain things you can do to make the process less stressful…for both of you. Here are some tips on that:
Preparation Is Key
If your fluffy friend is like most other felines and dislikes water, you’ll want to have all the necessary supplies for its bath prepared and within easy reach. You will need:
- A sink or a bathtub
- A good pet shampoo (never use human shampoo, as it can harm your cat)
- A brush (if necessary) to remove knots
- Treats (optional)
First, set the room temperature to a comfortable level. The last thing you want is your big-eyed furball to catch a cold.
Then, brush your cat before washing. Thus, you’ll be able to remove any tangles, dust, and other particles from its coat. Trust me; wet tangles are a nightmare to comb through, so do yourself a favor and tackle them beforehand.
A pro tip is to play with your cat before bathing it. This step is essential, as it gets rid of some of the accumulated energy, making your fluffy kitten less likely to misbehave in the bathroom.
You can also feed it prior to “bath time.” Thus, you ensure it is as relaxed and content as possible.
When your cat is ready for its bath, fill the bathtub/sink with warm water. It should be around three to six inches deep so that it reaches your cat’s underbelly. It’s important that you fill the bath in the absence of your kitten because cats don’t like the sound of running faucets.
The last step is to place a towel at the bottom of the tub/sink to make the surface less slippery.
Bathing Your Cat
Once you’re all set, it’s time for the bath.
It is highly important not to force your furry angel into your bathroom, as you don’t want to build a negative association with “bath time.” Offer treats and reassurance instead, so that your big-eyed ball of fluff thinks, Baths are great! I get treats and cuddles.
If you have a mature cat that either hasn’t been bathed before or simply dislikes water, be careful when attempting to clean it. It will most probably get scared and become anxious, and we all know what scared cats can do, right? So, unless you like battle scars, gently introduce your furball to the water.
If it absolutely hates it, don’t force it into getting wet. Instead, talk to your vet. They might be able to recommend a skilled groomer who can do the job for you.
If you do, however, manage to get your feline in the bath, be methodical (you don’t know how long it will want to stay there). Apply a small amount of shampoo and gently massage it throughout the cat’s body, avoiding the head altogether. If your cat’s face is dirty too, use a damp cloth (with no shampoo) to clean it.
After the Bath
Once you’ve finished bathing your cat, it’s time to get it nice and dry. Generally, kitties prefer being towel-dried, instead of blow-dried because they don’t like the loud noise coming from blow dryers. If your feline is used to being blow-dried, though, make sure the dryer is on the lowest setting, so you don’t burn your furry friend.
Whatever your cat’s preferences are, just make sure it’s all dry from head to paw before letting it run around the house or outside.
That’s it — you should be left with a clean and fluffy cat.
What Not to Do When Giving Your Cat a Bath
Now that you have the answer to the question, Are you supposed to give cats baths? let’s take a look at some of the things you should not do when cleaning your ball of fluff.
Don’t Put Anything in Its Ears
You might’ve heard of cat owners putting cotton balls in their cats’ ears during baths. That is a big no-no! First of all, cotton can get stuck in your kitty’s ears, and secondly, your cat won’t be able to hear clearly, which could result in more anxiety. Therefore, keep the head dry altogether.
Don’t Bathe Your Feline with Loud Kids Around
If you have little kids running around the house, you might think it’s a good idea to make them help you bathe the cat… Well, for once, Fortnite/TV would actually be the better option.
See, bathing your cat with your children may sound like a very pleasant activity in your head, but things might go south very quickly. In fact, you have a recipe for disaster — a stressed cat, screaming kids, and water. Put those in a closed space, and you get a mess of epic proportions.
Therefore, unless your children are calm and won’t stress your cat, don’t let them interfere while you’re bathing your feline.
And speaking of calmness:
Don’t Be Hectic
Cats can pick up on your emotions. If you are anxious and hectic, your kitty will feel it. Therefore, try to create a calm atmosphere when giving it a bath. You will both enjoy the process, and next time your feline needs a bath, it will happily hop in your bathtub
Tips for New Cat Owners
If you’ve recently gotten your kitty, you have a chance to make it love baths! The key is to build positive associations. You can do that by offering treats your cat gets only when it’s time for a bath, for example. Try different things and see what works best for your furry angel.
Most cats hate water because it scares them. However, if you act confident and prepare everything in advance, you’ll be able to show your kitten that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
If you’re introducing your feline to water for the first time, do it slowly and gently. Also, talk to it throughout the whole process, as that helps reduce stress levels. And most importantly, as I’ve already mentioned, don’t force it into getting in the bathtub. It should feel safe with you.
The point is, you want to make bathing as pleasant as possible. That way, your ball of fluff will not get nervous before baths but will enjoy them instead.
To Sum Up
Cats are such great pets! They are cuddly and affectionate, but also quite independent, which is why so many people wonder, Are you supposed to give cats baths? Well, one thing is for sure — while taking care of their hygiene levels is what they’re best at, sometimes they need a little help to keep everything nice and clean.
If you had ever asked yourself, Are you supposed to give cats baths? now you know the answer. I hope this article provided helpful information you will use next time you bathe your cat. Have fun!