It’s a myth that cats hate water. If they grew up being exposed to water early and having positive experiences with it, they will most likely tolerate bathing sessions at home. What most cats dislike about showering is the uncomfortable feeling they get when their fur gets wet. It takes some time for their fur to dry, making them move slowly and making it easier for predators to catch them, if they were out in the real world! If you own or care for a cat, there may be instances in which you’ll need to shower your cat. This Waldo’s Friends blog post covers:
- Why you should shower your cat
- How often you should shower your cat
- Tips on how to give your cat a bath
Why you should shower your cat
Cats spend about five hours every day grooming themselves. The process keeps their coat shiny, regulates their body temperatures, stimulates blood circulation, and makes them feel relaxed. But even if cats are fastidious about licking themselves, they may need your help sometimes.
Showering a cat on a regular basis will keep her squeaky clean and degreased. It gives you a chance to remove deep-seated dirt, matted or pelted hair, and excess oils on their skin and fur. At the same time, bathing your cat allows you to check her body for fleas, mites, or other parasites. Not only that, regular bathing sessions help reduce shedding and keep your cat’s fur healthy.
How often you should shower your cat
As recommended by the National Cat Groomers of America, a cat should receive a degreasing bath and have her hair fully blow dried (as long as she’s agreeable to it!) every four to six weeks. However, there are other important factors to consider, such as:
1 Your cat’s coat length and type
Cats that have longer fur will benefit from taking baths more often than cats with shorter fur, as the process will avoid matting or pelting of hair.
2 Where your cat hangs out
Cats that spend most of their time outdoors get exposed to all kinds of things such as grime, parasites, bacteria, toxic substances, and more! These cats will benefit from having more baths than indoor cats.
3 Your cat’s self-grooming skills
Some cats may not know how to properly clean themselves or may stop cleaning themselves when they get sick. Other cats that are overweight may have a hard time reaching parts of their body, ending up with itchy, flaky, or infected skin. Older cats with arthritis or joint problems may also have problems grooming themselves.
Review the list below to discover if your cat undergrooms. She may be guilty of doing so if:
- Your cat smells bad
- Your cat has a harsh or greasy coat
- There are food particles on your cat’s face and/or chest after she eats
- You find urine or residue stains on your cat’s paws
- There are small patches of matted fur on your cat’s tail or body
Cats that undergroom or those who cannot groom themselves effectively need to have regular shower sessions to keep them clean.
4 Your cat’s daily activities
It goes without saying that highly active cats require more frequent baths because their bodies get dirty quicker and easier.
5 Health issues your cat may have
A tick or flea infestation, a skin irritation or infection, and loose stools are common cat problems that will require you to shower your cat regularly. This may be done on a weekly basis, gradually lessening as your cat’s condition improves.
For cats with skin irritations, showering may help wash away some of the allergens on their skin, reduce itching and inflammation, and even decrease unpleasant smells.
Tips on how to give your cat a bath
Follow the seven steps on how to bathe a cat in our home grooming guide. Aside from these step-by-step instructions, take note of these tips to making shower time fun and safe for your pet cat:
- Prior to bathing, it is advisable to brush your cat’s hair. This removes loose hair and improves the effectiveness of her shampoo. Matted hair is also easier to deal with when it is dry, so try to detangle them before bathing.
- Use the right shampoo formulation made for cats. Since their skin’s thickness and pH levels are different from humans, never use human-formulated shampoo on them.
- For general cat cleansing sessions, pick a scent-free hypoallergenic cat shampoo. Following your vet’s recommendation, use conditioning products only if moisture needs to be restored on her coat or dandruff needs to be minimised.
- Depending on your cat’s size, you can give her a bath in a sink or laundry utility tub (small-sized cats) or in a bathroom tub or portable pet tub (large-sized cats).
- To prevent your cat from slipping, place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub. Fill it with three to four inches of lukewarm water before putting her in.
- Thoroughly wash away shampoo and conditioner from your cat’s coat and skin. You do not want her to accidentally lick and swallow these chemicals, and end up with a bad stomach ache.
- Keep your cat’s face and ears completely dry. If needed, use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt on her face. Refrain from inserting anything in your cat’s ears such as cotton wool. These may get stuck in her ears and may stress her out.
- When blow drying your cat’s fur, be sure to use the lowest setting. Keep it at a safe distance away from your cat, so it does not accidentally burn her skin.
As always, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to discover the best bathing schedule that will match all of your cat’s needs. You want to find the perfect balance in assisting kitty to stay clean and healthy. Be careful not to go overboard because excessive bathing may dull your cat’s fur and cause dry, flaky, or itchy skin.