22 October 2014 | Cat health issues

Should I wash my cat?

Washing your cat – the mere thought sends you to the pharmacy to stock up on plasters and bandages. Fortunately, cats are expert self-groomers. Their sticky tongues, fastidious nature and flexibility means, in most cases, they can clean themselves better than you can. This is a good thing because, as we all know, most cats are not fans of human-type baths, which can often result in disastrous (and painful) consequences!

However, there are times when bathing your cat is necessary:

  • If your cat has long hair which can be rather oily
  • When she needs to be dipped for fleas
  • When she is unnecessarily dirty (rubbed herself against wet paint or incurred some other unfortunate mishap)
  • Is she is a show cat and you want her to look her absolute best
  • If she can’t groom herself for whatever reason
  • If she suffers from skin allergies and requires specific treatment.

Here are the steps to a quick and easy (and pain-free!) cat wash

Step 1: For your own safety more than anything else, trim her nails! Then give her a good brush.

Step 2: Don protective clothing – long sleeves or even better, gloves.

Step 3: Timing is everything. Time your bath when your feline friend is at her most relaxed. Tire her out before hand if necessary.

Step 4:  Make sure you’re prepared. Have cat-specific shampoo ready (flea dip or medicated shampoo if necessary), run luke-warm water into a small tub (with non-slip mat), close the door and put a few of your cat’s favourite toys in the tub to distract her.

Step 5: Holding the cat firmly, wet her thoroughly using a cup of water. (It might be better for one person to do the cat-holding and the other to do the washing).

Step 6: Lather the shampoo into her fur, working from the head to the tail, making sure not to get any soap into her eyes and ears.

Step 7: Rinse thoroughly. Any shampoo left behind can irritate the skin.

Step 8: With a facecloth, wipe her face using only water.

Step 9: Take her out the bath, still holding firmly, and wrap her in a towel, and dry thoroughly.

Step 10: Reward her with her favourite treat. If your experience is a bit “hair-raising” to say the least, don’t give up! The more you do it, the more your cat will learn to tolerate bath-times and soon they will become a fun bonding time between you and your furry friend. 

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