Everyone knows cats hate baths, right? Well, that’s mostly true, some cats, especially cats in the wild like cougars and jaguars actually like water and will soak in it if given the opportunity. Some breeds of domestic cats that are more acceptable of getting wet and may even enjoy water are Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, American Bobtail, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Shorthair, Turkish Van, and Bengal cats.
If your cat is one of those oddballs, you may find them soaking in your bathtub or swimming pool, but most cats are not fans of water, so how do you keep them clean and how do you give them a bath if they need one?
Cats do manage to keep themselves fairly clean, spending a large portion of the day in grooming. It may be enough to keep them clean with good, regular brushing. But even indoor cats can get into mischief that lands them in need of a good cleaning. Cats that are overweight may have a hard time self-grooming and cats are known for their curiosity which can sometimes lead to sticky or even toxic substances in their fur.
If you find that your cat needs a bath, the best advice we can give you is to be prepared. Be sure and have all your bathing supplies ready and close at hand before you start because you won’t be able to retrieve them once Fluffy is wet.
A suggested list of supplies to have on hand:
- Non-drying shampoo formulated for cats
- A tub or sink
- Mineral oil, to protect your cat's eyes from shampoo
- A cotton ball to put in their ears
- Cat comb or brush
- Non-breakable cup or pitcher
- Hair dryer
- Protection for your forearms and hands
- Cat carrier
Prepare your cat for their bath by combing or brushing her. Make sure to carefully remove any mats in their coat, since water will just make them worse. As an optional step — and if your cat lets you — place half of a cotton ball in each of their ears to keep water from getting in, and a drop of mineral oil in each eye to protect them from shampoo.
A few helpful tips to get you through the actual bathing:
- Acclimate your cat to the tub by placing them in it for a few minutes for several days before the bath.
- Enlist a helper to assist by holding the cat or helping to pour the water.
- Be sure and have some tasty treats available for distraction purposes.
- Use a non-slip mat in the bottom of them tub so they aren’t slipping and sliding all over.
- Thoroughly rinse your cat using the pitcher or shower head. Leftover soap may cause itchy skin.
- Be sure and dry your cat thoroughly with towels or the dryer. If they are still damp, use the cat carrier to keep them in a warm, dry place until thoroughly dry themselves.
Once your cat is wet, work fast, if they manage to escape you, you’ll probably never catch them again.