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Cat Bathing 101

Cat Bathing 101

If your reaction to this blog’s title was an incredulous laugh, you aren’t alone. Aside from a few exceptions, cats are notorious for despising immersion in any sort of liquid. Any attempt at bathing a cat usually brings scratched arms, water everywhere, and one extremely upset animal. It isn’t fun for anyone. So why are we bringing it up?

Why would I ever bathe my cat?

A majority of cats won’t need to be bathed regularly because they are very fastidious about hygiene as a species. However, due to inconsistencies in their upbringings, some cats fail to clean certain parts of their bodies. Other cats get so overweight they cannot reach sections needing to be cleaned. Other cats have physical defects that prevent them from reaching every part that needs attention. The patch of fur on your cat’s back, just before his tail, is a commonly-neglected section. It and any other neglected section can get itchy, flaky, matted, greasy, and even infected. This is a misery for your cat. At our Palmdale animal hospital, we have given many baths to cats suffering from just this issue. In most cases, it is better for your cat to go through the unpleasantness of a bath rather than have to tolerate the discomfort of dirty, sticky fur.

Okay, I need to bathe my cat.

Because your cat will probably get upset and you’ll be stressed, we recommend recruiting a helper and making sure everything is set up before kitty goes into the tub. Having everything set will allow you to get Fluffy in and out of the bath as quickly as possible, minimizing the number of minutes he spends stressed out of his mind. Here is what you should do:

Veterinarian CTA Final

Fill the tub with comfortably warm water.

When it comes to shampoo, you need one that is cat-friendly. It should have no additives, no scent, and absolutely not sulfates. A mild organic shampoo specifically designed for cats is your best option.
Trim Fluffy’s nails if you have trained him to tolerate this. You will probably be glad you did.

Once you and your helper have Fluffy in the tub, be ready to let him bolt. If he gets so upset he can’t handle it, you may just want to let him bolt and that’s that. If Fluffy does okay, you’re free to move to the next steps:

  • Do not wash your cat’s face or head.
  • Wet Fluffy from the back of his neck to his tail.
  • Lather him up with the shampoo. If he has long fur, you might want to dilute the shampoo.
  • Wash the back, sides, belly, legs, bottom, and tail.
  • Rinse very thoroughly, especially in the belly, underside of the neck, armpits, and under Fluffy’s tail. It can be tempting to rush through rinsing, but if you do, shampoo residue will irritate your cat’s skin.
  • Wrap Fluffy in a towel and take him out of the tub.

The team at Antelope Valley is here to help you in any way we can. Make an appointment today!

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