Cats are generally pretty good at keeping themselves clean. Any time they have a spare moment in their hectic schedule of napping and pouncing, you’ll see them using their tongues to give themselves a bath. Sometimes though, it becomes necessary to intervene - if they’ve picked up parasites, are covered in something dangerous or if they’re just especially messy.
If you’ve got a particularly long haired cat or one who likes to get messy, it’s good to know how to give them a bath without stressing them out. Of course, we have a luxury cat spa right here at Barker’s and Mitten’s where our team of professionals know all the tricks of the trade, so if you’re in any doubt, come down and see us before attempting this at home!
There are a few things to consider before introducing your moggy to the bath.
We’ve spoken about them before - they’re really sharp and most cats have 18 of them. Cats have claws and even the most chilled out feline doesn’t like getting wet. Luckily, you can give them a trim fairly easily and cut down on any nasty scratches.
Most cats shed their fur all year long - if you think it’s unpleasant unblocking the drain after someone else has been in the shower, just think what a full body of fur will do. A thorough brushing will remove any loose hair before it troubles your plumbing and make getting them nice and clean that bit easier.
If cartoons have taught us anything, it’s that cats don’t like water. A relaxed cat is much more likely to tolerate a bath than one who’s full of energy. Tire them out with a nice long play session with a catnip laced toy before you introduce them to the water - they’ll be more relaxed and you’ll be less scratched.
- Have Everything ready to go
Keep everything you’ll need within easy reach. Cat shampoo (don’t use human shampoo as this may irritate your cat’s skin) and treats to reward them are musts. You don’t want this to become a drawn out task with a lot of coming and going as you search for things.
No one likes slipping in the shower and that goes for cats too. Fold up an old towel and place it in the bath to give them something to grip on to. If they can’t stand easily, there’s a risk of them panicking and that’s the last thing we want.
6. Teamwork makes for dream work
Cleaning a cat is really not a one woman job. One person should hold and sooth the cat (and give them loads of treats) while the other deals with shampooing and rinsing. Making this a team effort will keep the cat as calm as possible and minimise any stress and scratches.
- Water control
The sound of running water can stress out some cats, so it’s best to have your sink already filled with a small amount of tepid water rather than add it while your cat is in there. The reason we use water only a few degrees above room temperature is that cats don’t sweat like we do, so if it’s any hotter you risk them overheating. Use a cup to rinse off the shampoo.
- Towel Dry
Rub your cat down with a nice warm fluffy towel to finish. Not only will this help calm your cat down (it’s an all-over stroke!) it’ll help get rid of any hair that’s come loose during the bath. It’s totally normal for a cat to spend a long time grooming themselves after a bath, so a towel dry can help cut down on any furballs.
Of course, if it’s not an absolute emergency and you just want your feline friend looking (and smelling) their best, it’s best to leave this to the professionals whenever possible. You can check out a video of our Spa’s cat services below.