The cat is one of the cleanest animals, but there comes a time when it needs bathing. Bathing your cat on your own is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance, the main thing is to accustom your pet to water procedures from infancy. The question of how to properly bathe a cat is of particular concern to owners who are going to go with a fluffy beauty to an exhibition where she should look perfect.
Frequency of Bathing Cats
Cats do not need to be bathed daily or weekly, bathing once every 2 months is considered normal. Observing the cat, it is easy to notice that in her free time from games and food she likes to “preen herself” – she licks her fur, paws, and tail. The animal maintains the cleanliness of the coat on its own, so it does not need regular bathing. Moreover, bathing too often can be harmful to the cat, as the pet’s subcutaneous glands produce a protective lubricant. The substance is distributed throughout the coat, makes the hair silky, and also serves as a barrier against bacteria.
Fun fact: cats groom themselves differently. Female cats spend more time licking their fur and do it more carefully than male cats.
It is important to distinguish between full-fledged bathing of the cat with shampoo and wiping of individual areas of the coat as it gets dirty. If your cat gets dirty in the toilet or comes home from the street, wipe off the dirt with a soft cloth soaked in warm water. This will not harm your pet.
It is necessary to teach a kitten to bathe from 4-5 months of age so that bathing becomes a habitual ritual, and, becoming an adult, he would not feel fear of water. In any case, you will have to bathe a domestic cat throughout its life, because its fur gets dirty, and you really want the “fur coat” to always be luxurious and well-groomed!
Bathing a cat is necessary only if there are good reasons for it. Indications for washing your pet:
- more than 2-3 months have passed since the last bathing, and the cat’s hair has become dull, darkened, with tangles;
- the cat is very dirty, for example, it was lying in the mud or doused with paint;
- if parasites are found in the fur, you need to immediately bathe the cat, and then treat the “fur coat” with an antiparasitic agent. Especially carefully it is worth examining cats, which are often on the street and can “catch” ticks and fleas;
- bathing can be recommended by a veterinarian if the cat has allergies, lichen, dermatitis, and other diseases associated with the skin;
- if you find a kitten on the street and decide to take it into the house, then you cannot do without water procedures;
- In preparation for the show, you will have to bathe your cat with a special shampoo and make your pet “styling”.
Contraindications for Bathing
In some cases, you cannot bathe your cat:
- during rehabilitation after surgery. Usually, full recovery takes about a month, but it all depends on the degree of interference in the body and the health of the pet;
- late pregnancy. Washing can be very stressful for the cat and even provoke premature birth;
within 2 weeks after the vaccination. The cat’s immunity is weakened, and it is better to postpone washing;
- if the animal is sick, bathing can reduce its condition. Cancel water treatments and follow the advice of your veterinarian.
Preparing for Bathing a Cat
Trim the claws of the cat so that it does not scratch you while bathing. Brush the coat and remove tangles.
Choose a place to swim – a bathtub, sink, or basin. The bathtub is perfect for large cats, only you need to cover the bottom with a non-slip mat. Many owners wash their pets in sinks. The basin version is less convenient, as the cat may start to grab onto its edges, give preference to a container with a volume of about 30 liters, or buy a special bath.
Remove all foreign objects from the sides of the tub or sink, hide washcloths, and other things that the cat can catch on. Make sure you have everything you need to bathe your pet at hand:
- shampoo selected specifically for the cat (detergents for humans will not work – cats have a different skin Ph);
- a cap that covers the cat’s ears, or cotton swabs that can be put in the ears, or you can tie a small bag around your head like a scarf;
- soft washcloth for shampooing;
- a large towel that you can wrap your cat in after bathing so that it does not freeze and scratch you;
- a standard towel for collecting moisture residues and drying.
Check the temperature in the room where you are going to wash your cat. Pets can easily get cold and sick, so the air should not be colder than +22 ° C.
Fill your tub, basin, or sink with water ahead of time. The cat is more afraid not of the bathing itself, but of the sound of water pouring from the tap. Before starting water procedures, take warm water at a level of about 10 cm so that the water reaches the cat’s belly. The animal should stand confidently on its paws, but so that its head does not get wet. By the way, you can also pre-fill the watering can with water, with which you can then wash off the foam from the pet if he is afraid of the shower. The water temperature should be 38-40 ° C. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip your arm into the water up to your elbow. If you cannot feel the water, then it is suitable for the cat.
Proper Cat Bathing
Until the water has cooled down, and the cat has not suspected something was wrong, grab it and carry it to the bathroom. Talk to the cat affectionately, do not make sudden movements that could scare the pet. Do not forget to close the door – if it escapes, it will be difficult to catch the cat, and wet footprints will remain throughout the apartment (possibly together with foam if you have time to soap the cat).
Place your cat gently in a tub, basin, or sink. During the dive, you can hold it by the skin so that the pet does not break out and scratch you. Put on a bathing cap or put cotton swabs in its ears. Water the coat with warm water, avoiding contact with eyes, nose, and ears.
It is likely that the cat will be unhappy and will start to resist. You have to be persistent – for her own good. If you are right-handed, grab the cat’s shoulders just under the chest with your left hand. Thus, the dominant hand will remain free, and with its help, it will be possible to soap the animal.
At this stage, the assistant will greatly facilitate your task – he will provide shampoo, a towel, and other necessary items, and you will do all the manipulations with your free hand.
Note: pet stores suggest using a short leash with suction cups for bathing your cat. It makes sense to use this accessory only as a last resort, since the pet can be afraid of the leash more than washing, and in the future, it will be difficult to lure the cat for water procedures.
Now lightly massage the shampoo onto the wet cat hair. Lather your back, chest, belly, and tail consistently, do not forget about the legs and chin. Do not use too much shampoo, so you don’t have to rinse off the lather for a long time. If you want to wash the cat’s head, ask the assistant to cover his ears or put cotton swabs in them. Also, be careful not to get water in your cat’s nose.
It’s time to thoroughly rinse the cat’s fur. Rinse off the foam from top to bottom. It is convenient to rinse off the shampoo with a hand shower, just do not lift it very high. Do not leave any residual detergent on your cat’s skin, as this can cause irritation later on.
Important: you can not wash the cat after feeding and immerse it in water with its head.
When the shampoo is washed off, take the cat out of the water, wrap it in a large towel and hug your “cocoon” for a few minutes. The cat should come to his senses and calm down.
Drying the Wool After Bathing
Take the cat to the room and pat dry with a towel. For short-haired cats, one towel will be enough, and for long-haired cats, do not regret 2-3 pieces.
For your information: the cat has a so-called air cushion between the skin and the topcoat. This layer of air is heated by the heat of the animal’s body and protects the cat from freezing.
During bathing, the coat gets wet and temporarily loses its thermoregulatory properties, therefore it is so important to warm the cat with towels after bathing and protect it from drafts.
If the cat is not afraid of the hairdryer, then 10 minutes after bathing, you can slightly dry his fur. The airflow should be warm, but not hot. If the cat is afraid of the electrical appliance, it is better to wait until the “fur coat” dries naturally. Comb the coat with a special comb. After washing, the domestic cat should be warm for at least an hour.
By following these tips, bathing your cat will go well. Good luck!