However, there will come a time when you will need to bathe your cat. This could be prior to a cat show, an outdoor cat might get extremely dirty and need help to get the mud off or you might have a flea infestation that needs taking care of. Even indoor cats can get dirty, especially if you are painting or redecorating.
I strongly suggest you get your new kitten used to being bathed each week. This will make life much easier when it grows into an adult cat. However, you can still bathe an adult cat that is not used to it. You will just need more patience and some help.
If it is necessary for you to give your cat a bath, you need to be prepared. Choose which room you will bathe your cat in. I suggest either the laundry or the kitchen sink. Both rooms should have troughs deep enough to safely wash your cat while being at a good height for your back.
Have the following ready before you start.
A rubber mat to place in the sink so your cat won’t slip.
Two bowls of warm water for rinsing. Keep these close.
A towel to place your cat on when you have finished the bath as well as one or two more for drying.
Specialized cat shampoo. Never use human shampoo as it is too harsh for your cat’s skin. Even baby shampoo has additives in that you don’t want near your cat.
A face washer or small soft wash cloth.
Some treats for encouragement during and after the bath.
Someone to help you.
You need to get your cat used to the idea of being in the sink. Then, only use a few handfuls of water on the coat and massage it in. During these practice sessions don’t use shampoo, you are only getting the cat used to being in the sink and feeling the water. Talk gently and encouragingly to your cat at all times. If it wants to jump out, don’t force the issue. You will have to keep trying until it feels safe being there. By giving treats at each stage, you will hopefully keep your cat happy to stay in the sink.
When you and your cat are ready for the big day, make sure everything is in place and close at hand. This time wet the cat all over except for the head. Never pour water straight from the tap onto your cat and don’t put the plug in the sink as you don’t want the cat to be standing in water. Pour the water on your cat slowly or use the wet wash cloth. Then rub in the shampoo as though you are massaging your cat. Once the whole coat has been shampooed, you can rinse it off by pouring small amounts from the bowl. Once the shampoo has been rinsed out completely, place your cat on the towel and use the other towels to briskly rub it dry. Be wary of using a hair dryer as the noise and warm air could frighten your cat.
If your cat is a long hair breed, you might want to consider using a cat conditioner as well.
Always have the other person standing at the cat’s head, gently holding it, talking to it and giving it treats. I wouldn’t worry too much about the calories in the treats during bath time, you want your cat to be happy.
If your cat gets too upset at having a bath, don’t push it. Allow the vet or a trained professional groomer to take over. You don’t want to take the risk of being scratched or bitten, nor do you want to destroy your cat’s trust in you.
If you try to keep the process of bathing your cat to five minutes or under, you are doing well. Any longer and the cat will object.
Remember, giving your cat a bath shouldn’t be a chore. It needs to be something that you will both enjoy. And if you are considering adopting a kitten, start training it and getting it used to being bathed early.
Kathy Robinson has been writing articles on cat problems and the care of cats on her website http://www.CatProblemsResolved.com for a number of years. Why not download your free copy of The Joy of Owning and Caring for a Cat when you sign up for her free Cat Care Newsletter at http://www.catproblemsresolved.com/660