If your cat hasn’t already shown you, cats aren’t a big fan of baths. Why go through the effort of shampooing, when your tongue can lick you clean for days on end? More often than not, taking a cat to a groomer to be bathed, adds extra stress because now it’s an unknown person scrubbing every inch of their body. Hence, if you can bathe your kitty at home, there’s nothing like it! But, have no fear, for Petsy’s help is always near!
Prepping for the bath
Shampoo & Wipes
Choose a shampoo that is best suited for your cat's coat condition. This is best determined with the help of a veterinarian or certified groomer. Long-haired cats may also require an additional hairball prevention shampoo alongside their regular shampoo. Once you've got your cat shampoo, you can look for cleaning wipes. Cleaning wipes help to remove dirt from the sensitive parts of your cat's body, i.e. eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. These parts are best cleaned with wipes and not washed with shampoo, given their sensitivity and your cat's stress.
No matter how gentle your cat is otherwise, the claws do come out when they aren't a fan of baths. It's just their way of saying they absolutely hate it! Trimming your cat's nails before a bath helps to keep your skin free of cuts and bruises when things go unexpectedly wrong.
A white towel is handy not only for after baths, but to also check for flea dust whilst brushing. By placing your cat on the towel and then brushing them, it is easy to notice flea dust that falls on the white towel. Once you're done with brushing, you may choose to use a different towel or dust the same one before use.
Many cat parents find using a baby wash basin easier than a faucet or a sink because the wash basin helps with restrain. Consider getting a washbasin with higher sides to prevent your cat from jumping out easily.
Gloves help with gentle grooming for both before and during baths. They also help with de-shedding while brushing and massaging while bathing.
Brushing your cat before grooming helps them to relax, since gentle brushing is calming. Moreover, it also helps to remove any knots and spreads the coat's oils evenly. You may also choose to add flea combing to the pre-bath routine in order to rid your cat of any ticks and fleas.
During the bath
Set up the wash basin: Get your gloves, shampoo, wipes, and towel ready by the basin. Fill the basin upto two inches with lukewarm water and then squirt a small amount of shampoo in it to make a fine lather.
Allow your cat some time: At this point, your cat knows what's to come, and chances are they might run off or hide. The best way to handle this is to leave the basin unattended for 10-15 minutes and go about doing other chores around the house. This takes attention off the fact that the basin is for a bath, and allows for your cat to come out, sniff the tub and leave. All the while, it is important that you pay no attention to the tub or when your cat is near it.
Leave the water: Turn on the tap and let lukewarm water run for sometime. Once you've found the perfect temperature, turn off the water.
Put on your gloves: Put on your gloves and lift your cat firmly with both hands - one holding their belly and the other at their scruff. Lower your cat into the basin holding them steady for 5 minutes.
Soak and lather: Once your cat is wet, use one hand to add shampoo onto their skin and massage gently in a circular motion. Repeat the process with another shampoo if need be.
Rinse and swaddle: Drain the soapy water and fill the tub with fresh lukewarm water. Rinse your cat by slowing pouring water from their neck to tail. Sometimes, your cat may not allow you to rinse off all the shampoo, and may end up licking most of it. Hence, ensure your shampoo is safe for cats to lick in small amounts. After rinsing, swaddle your cat firmly in the towel until all the dampness is soaked.
After the bath
Once your kitty has done their victory lap of surviving the bath, ensure to treat, praise and reward their good behaviour. This forms a positive association with baths and is more likely to earn you less stress in the upcoming baths.
And, there you have it - a clean kitty and a bruise-free parent!
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