Do cats really need baths? In a word, no. After all, grooming themselves is something cats do very well. And they should, considering how much time they spend at it. With their barbed tongues they are usually quite capable of keeping their own coats clean without any help from humans, thank you very much.
However, regardless of your cat’s opinion, there are some circumstances that make shampoo and water necessary. For example, if you discover external parasites, stubborn dirt (such as paint or sap) or smelly stuff in your cat’s fur, nothing short of a bath will safely get her clean.
If your cat has long hair (yes Persians, this means you) keeping it clean may be more than she can handle, regardless of her grooming skills. On the other hand, hairless cats such as Sphynx need periodic baths to remove body oils that are normally absorbed by the hair they lack.
There are also medical reasons why your cat might need a bath. Cats that are elderly, obese or have mobility issues may find it a challenge to keep clean (at least to cat standards). Or, if you have a human family member with a cat allergy, giving your cat a weekly rinse can help reduce allergy-aggravating cat dander. Of course, while this may improve life for the allergy sufferer, we can’t say the same for the person bathing the cat. 😉
THE BOTTOM LINE
If done properly, a bath can be beneficial for your cat’s skin and coat. Just remember that this does not mean she will enjoy it. And that she has been sharpening both her claws, and her fighting skills, for an event like this.
To bathe, or not to bathe? At the end of the day, the decision is up to you and your cat. (Although you probably know how your cat would decide.) If you choose the way of the tub, be prepared to do battle… because chances are, your cat won’t go quietly. And if you have any questions about whether a bath is safe for your cat, always check with your veterinarian.
Read “Giving Your Cat a Bath” to learn how to survive bathing your cat with your skin still intact.
Table of Contents
- Why Cats Don’t need to be Bathed
- When to Bathe a Cat
- How to bathe a cat
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I was with my five year old son the other day and he asked me this question out of nowhere: “Do cats need baths?”
Being the cat lover, I readily had an answer. I guess he was pretty satisfied with my explanation.
But what if you’re just new to taking care of cats? What would your answer be? Should you really give your cat a bath?
My answer is Yes, Cat need baths.
Why Cats Don’t need to be Bathed
I will admit that when I was younger, I really thought that cats were just like dogs that needed to be bathed. I eventually found out that unlike the canines, our feline friends don’t need baths most of the time.
Cats are one of the cleanest animals on the planet. They are role models of personal hygiene. They moisten their forepaws with saliva and use it to clean themselves.
In fact, half of their waking hours are spent on grooming themselves. That’s how much of a stickler they are when it comes to grooming.
Thus, giving her a bath isn’t really needed except for certain situations which I will discuss a bit later.
Cats not only groom themselves because they want to be clean. Grooming has many benefits to our feline friends. These include:
- Self-defense . Believe it or not, cats groom themselves so that they won’t be detected by their enemies. Getting rid of food and odor causing ingredients can help them be on ‘stealth’ mode, so to speak.
- Fur maintenance. By licking themselves, cat can distribute their natural oils to their coats evenly.
- Cooling down . Cats use their saliva to maintain normal body temperature.
- Relaxation . Cats can cope with stress by keeping themselves clean.
- Blood flow stimulation . Just like how brushing the hair can promote blood circulation on our scalp, cats licking their body can improve circulation. The tongue of cats has tiny, bristle-like hairs that can do the trick.
Aside from the fact that cats have the unique ability to groom themselves, there are other reasons why you should think twice about giving them a bath such as:
- Cats generally aren’t fond of water. Submerging them in water can cause their fur to become saturated with water. In turn, this can weigh down your cat and make her very uncomfortable.
- Most cats are also very sensitive to odors. It is also possible that the scent of chemicals from tap water may upset her. The same goes for the chemicals found in shampoo.
There are a few cat breeds, though, that are known to like water like the Turkish Van and the Bengal.
When to Bathe a Cat
But while bathing a cat is generally discouraged, it doesn’t mean that you should never bathe your cat. There are some cases wherein you have no choice but to bathe her, even if she doesn’t like it.
For example, your cat was away from home for a few days. When she got back, you noticed that her coat has turned black. You assume that this was caused by exposure to automotive oil.
This is a very dangerous scenario because automotive oil exposure can be very fatal to cats.
Senior cats may also be assisted from time to time. Aging cats with arthritis usually have lost their interest in grooming, so you may have to bathe them from time to time. Even overweight cats may have difficulty in cleaning themselves.
How to bathe a cat
Now what would you do if your cats need a bath? Here are some of the pointers that you should remember:
- Seek the help of another adult. You will need another pair of hands to keep a hold on the cat, who likely won’t enjoy being bathed. In fact, there’s a very good chance that she will immediately try to get out when you put her in the tub. This is why I suggest that you enlist the help of another person.
- Fill a large tub with around 5 to 6 inches water. The water should be lukewarm. Cats don’t like too hot or too cold water.
- Carefully wet your pet. Apply shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Don’t let the shampoo get into her eyes. I suggest you wipe down her face with a wash cloth.
- Remove her from the bath and then wrap her in a towel.
- Dry her in a warm room. You can try a hair dryer too if she allows it. Just don’t get the heat too close to her.
If your cat is afraid of water, I recommends trying dry bath products.
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Bathing is something you won’t normally do to a cat. Most of the time, your feline friend can take care of herself when it comes to grooming.
But there will be times when you need to bathe her, like when she gets too old or too fat that grooming becomes less of a priority. Or when she figures in an accident and her coat gets exposed to oil.
Did you learn something from this article? If you do, why you won’t share this article on your social media accounts? I’m certain your other friends will appreciate your effort.
The Spruce / Ana Cadena
If you know cats, then you probably know that most cats love bathrooms. Does your cat follow you into the bathroom? Perhaps it rubs on your legs while you are in there. Maybe it jumps on the counter to lounge in the sink even when you’re not around. It might meow loudly and paw at the closed door. Some cats seem to want more attention when you are in the bathroom than they do when you are anywhere else in the house. What is it about the bathroom that cats seem to love so much?
A Bathroom Is a Great Place to Play
Bathrooms can seem like playrooms to some cats. There’s a tub to spin around in and toilet paper rolls to play with. There may be fun things such as towels and robes hanging on the wall. They might be able to roll around on the floor and play with the rug or bathmat. A cat can have a lot of fun in the bathroom, whether or not you are in there. Plenty of owners have learned this the hard way, when they get home to find kitty’s disaster in the bathroom. Hopefully, you wouldn’t have to deal with a worse mess, such as pooping or peeing in the sink or tub!
Closed Doors Pique Curiosity
Most cats cannot stand closed doors in their homes. The bathroom door is no exception. A closed bathroom door with you on the other side could be enough to drive your cat crazy. Over time, some cats seem to learn that you are likely to close that bathroom door. So, they want to be there to make sure they don’t miss out on the fun. Cats want to know what is happening in their domains at all times. If cats had one rule, it would be that there should never be closed doors!
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The Spruce / Ana Cadena
It’s a Great Time to Get Attention
Cats love attention (as long as it’s on their terms). Let’s face it, who’s not going to pet a sweet cat who is rubbing all over your legs, while you sit on the toilet. The cat seems to know you are “trapped” in there for at least a few minutes and that it’ll be easy to get your attention. It also may be that your cat can tell you are not distracted by the television, a book, work, or some other activity. You are there doing nothing too serious, able to return the love and attention they give you. Many cats also like to lick their humans after a bath or shower. Silly kitties!
Sinks Are Like Cat Beds
Think about the shape of the sink. The rounded sides seem to perfectly cradle the feline body. It seems only natural that a cat would enjoy the feeling of a sink to lounge and sleep in. The coolness of the sink might feel good in warmer months. During cold months, the cat’s body heat might warm up the sink and make it extra cozy in there. Some cats will also lick drops of water out of the faucet while lounging in the sink.
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The Spruce / Ana Cadena
Water, Believe It or Not
Although most cats don’t like to be wet, many like to be around water. In the bathroom, a cat can drink fresh water from the sink or tub faucet. Fresh running water is just one of the many things that cats love. Cats that like sinks will sometimes get in there while the water is running. Some cats like to lick the wet tub or even drink bathwater!
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The Spruce / Ana Cadena
Cats Enjoy Routines
Coming to visit you in the bathroom can become a routine your cat learns to love, especially if you give in to its pleas for attention. Your cat may also be anticipating mealtime if that’s something you do after using the bathroom in the morning.
Your Cat Loves You
The bathroom is full of the smells of you: your cat’s favorite human! You spend time there doing important things, or at least it may seem that way to your cat. Your cat may be intrigued by watching you do all the little things humans do in there. Many cats will sit on the vanity, mesmerized while you brush your teeth or do your hair. Bathroom time may be some very valuable feline bonding time!
Cats are known for their grooming habits. With their tongues, teeth, and paws, theyвЂ™re usually able to keep themselves fresh and clean without any outside intervention. Sometimes, though, your cat might need help staying clean. If your feline friend is covered in something dangerous, smelly, or sticky, or if they have picked up some parasites, it might be a good idea to give them a bath. HereвЂ™s how to bathe a cat with a minimal amount of stress for both of you.В
1. Trim the Toenails: Your catвЂ™s claws are one of their main forms of defense. An upset cat may claw anyone nearby, including you, during the course of bath time. Cat scratches can easily become infected, so itвЂ™s in your own best interest to trim your catвЂ™s nails before attempting a bath.В
2. Brush Before: Cats shed frequently, all year long. That extra fur wonвЂ™t be good for your plumbing, and it will make it more difficult to get your cat really clean. If you can, brush your cat thoroughly to remove any loose fur and mats before you begin the bathing process. You can also put cotton balls gently in their ears to keep water out.
3. Time It Right: Cats generally donвЂ™t like to be in water. A cat thatвЂ™s full of energy is going to object more strongly to a bath. Schedule the bath for a time when your cat is tired and mellow, such as after a long play session with a cat dancer or some catnip. If you can schedule your catвЂ™s bath so someone else is around to help you out, even better.В
4. Get Traction: Your cat appreciates traction just as much as you do in the shower. Give your cat a folded towel in the bottom of the tub or a rubber bath mat to stand on so they donвЂ™t panic when they canвЂ™t stand easily. Once the mat is in the tub, add three to four inches of comfortably warm water to the tub, then have your helper put the cat in the tub. You may need your helper to hold onto the cat for the whole bath to avoid scratches.
Note: Cats donвЂ™t sweat like humans do. The steamy hot water you might prefer for a shower or bath can overheat your pet. Instead, aim for a few degrees above lukewarm.В
5. Try a Pour-Over Method: Your cat probably wonвЂ™t willingly go under water. Instead, use a handheld sprayer, a pitcher, or a plastic cup to gently pour water over their body until theyвЂ™re thoroughly wet.В
6. Use a Cat Shampoo: DonвЂ™t use human shampoo on your cat. TheyвЂ™re В not safe if your cat licks it, and they may hurt your catвЂ™s delicate skin. Instead, use a shampoo thatвЂ™s designed for cats. Start at your catвЂ™s neck and gently massage the shampoo toward the tail. Avoid their face, eyes, and ears.
7. Rinse Well: Once youвЂ™ve fully lathered up your cat, you can begin rinsing them off with clean, lukewarm water. Take the time to make sure all of the soap is gone; anything thatвЂ™s left will be ingested by your cat when they clean themselves again later. It can also irritate their skin and attract dirt.
8. Clean the Face: If your petвЂ™s face also needs cleaning, donвЂ™t pour water over it or use shampoo. Instead, use a warm, damp washcloth to carefully wipe it off. Be extra cautious around your catвЂ™s eyes and ears, which are sensitive and can be easily damaged. If you do need to use something more than plain water, you can use just a drop or two of cat shampoo on the washcloth to remove anything sticky or dangerous.В
9. Dry Thoroughly:
The most important part of bathing your cat is drying them off afterward. Dry them off as quickly as possibly with a large towel, and keep them in a warm room until theyвЂ™ve completely dried. If your cat lets you, you can also use a hairdryer on its lowest warmth setting to speed up the process. If your cat has long fur, take the time to comb it out with a wide-toothed comb to avoid mats later.В
10. Treat Time: Once bath time is over, make sure to reward your cat for behaving. Treats, praise, and playtime afterward may help your cat come around on the idea of bath time so itвЂ™s not as much of a struggle next time.
Central California SPCA: вЂњIs Bathing a Cat Really Necessary (or Just a Myth in Caring for Pets)?вЂќ
Danbury Animal Welfare Society: вЂњHelp Keep Kitty Clean.вЂќ
Humane Society: вЂњDeclawing Cats: Far Worse than a Manicure.вЂќ
Michelson Found Animals: вЂњCat Grooming 101,вЂќ вЂњHow to Give a Stress-Free Cat Bath.вЂќ
As the proud mom to five cats, I am very aware of how different their personalities can be. While I have one cat who will only drink out of a certain water dish (picky, indeed, huh?!), my other kitty Little Mister has always had an affinity for bathtubs that I’ve never been able to explain. Whenever I’m looking for Little Mister, my first stop is always the bathroom, and nine times out of 10, he’s lounging in the tub.
Oddly enough, Little Mister really doesn’t like water. Although you might come across dozens of funny TikTok videos featuring cats taking baths with their owners, Little Mister sadly isn’t that brave. Instead, he likes to stretch out in the tub and bask in all of his glory while chirping at me until I pet him.
Sounds pretty strange, right? Determined to discover the real meaning behind my feline’s love of the tub, I asked Dr. Zay Satchu, Bond Vet’s cofounder and chief veterinary officer, who said it’s really not all that uncommon! Scroll ahead to learn why some kitties just love to sit in the tub.
My Cat Hates Water, but Loves the Bathtub . . . Why Is That?
“While most cats don’t like being wet, many do enjoy exploring or playing with water on their own terms — especially dripping water from a faucet,” Dr. Satchu told POPSUGAR. “Perhaps to your cat, being adventurous and looking into a bathtub as a play area is a very different (and more fun!) water experience than being caught in the rain or sudsed up for a bath.”
Additionally, Dr. Satchu said it actually might be a texture preference, as kitties might enjoy the cool, slippery surface. “If your cat is hanging out and relaxing in the tub while it’s empty, they may just enjoy lying on the smooth surface and watching people go by from behind the edge of the tub, treating it as a fun hiding spot or cozy sleeping nook,” she said.
Why Does My Cat Chirp at Me When He’s in the Bathtub?
There’s nothing I love more than hearing all the funny little sounds my cats make. And though Little Mister isn’t usually vocal, he won’t stop “talking” while lounging in his favorite spot. “While most people are familiar with common cat noises such as meowing and hissing, cats can actually make many different sounds for communication,” Dr. Satchu explained.
She noted that sometimes felines make noises to let their owners know they’re in a good mood. “A chirp, chirrup, or trill is a happy noise used for greetings to acknowledge you when you speak to them or for expressing excitement (if they’re chirping at a toy or at a bird outside the window, for example),” Dr. Satchu said. “It’s also the noise mother cats use to get their kittens to follow them, so a chirp could be your cat’s way of asking for attention or trying to show you something. So if your cat is chirping in the bathtub, they are likely enjoying their time in the tub!”
Is Letting My Cat Play in the Bathtub OK?
“If your cat enjoys swimming or playing in the tub, by all means, let them do so for physical and mental stimulation. Just be sure to supervise them, and don’t leave your cat unattended in the water,” Dr. Satchu advised. “Be sure the tub is free of chemicals (like cleaning products). Try filling the tub to a height where your cat can comfortably stand with their head above the water.”
Of course, if you notice a sudden change in your kitty’s behavior, it’s best to ask your veterinarian for advice. “If you are worried about your cat suddenly spending more time sleeping in an empty tub, you are right that any behavior change is potentially a cause for concern,” she said. “Cats hide pain and illness very well, so spending more time in a hiding place may be your kitty’s way of isolating themselves. But take this in context with their overall behavior. Is your kitty still eating well, playing, and otherwise their normal selves, or do they seem a bit ‘off’? When in doubt, it never hurts to be on the safe side and call your vet with any behavior change.”
Is Hanging Out in the Bathtub a Normal Cat Behavior?
While it’s not exactly normal for cats to enjoy hanging out in the tub, or near water at all, it’s usually just a form of harmless fun. “It is unusual for cats to like being in the bath or being wet in general,” she said. “We might not know exactly why or what is going through a cat’s mind when they get wet. However, it’s likely a cat feels a loss of control in a slippery tub. The ancestors of house cats evolved in arid climates and thus didn’t spend time swimming. Soaking-wet fur might make a cat feel weighted down, make it difficult to groom themselves, or make it harder to regulate their body temperature.”
And although getting a handle on your cat’s lineage might be challenging, there are some breeds of domestic cats that tend to like swimming! “These breeds includes Maine Coons, Abyssinians, and Bengals,” she shared. “Interestingly, there’s also a breed called the Turkish Van, which has a waterproof coat and loves to swim. However, individuals within a breed may vary in terms of their preferences, so don’t push your cat to swim or play with water if they’re not interested.”
It’s a long-held belief that cats and water don’t mix, but is it true? If it is, why do cats hate water so much? When it comes to understanding why many cats don’t like water, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Not every kitty hates showers, and certain breeds even love to swim.
Cats and Water: A Tepid Relationship
Many cats have an aversion to water, but the exact reasons why continue to elude experts.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) theorizes, “One reason for the aversion may have something to do with the fact that the feline species evolved in arid desert climates. Throughout their early history, cats were not exposed to rivers, lakes and rain and as a result were not as familiar with water as some other evolving species.” Unlike dogs, who love to frolic in the water and in some instances are even trained to work in it, most kitties aren’t fans of getting wet.
A second often-cited reason is related to your furry friend’s preference for a meticulous coat. If you’ve ever been stuck in the rain without an umbrella, you well know that wet hair is notoriously difficult to manage, and that doesn’t sit well with cats. A drenched coat weighs down your kitty, making her uncomfortable, and it can take a long time for the coat to dry. Cats, ever-diligent with their personal hygiene routine, spend about a third of their waking hours grooming, notes the CVMA. A sopping-wet coat makes their job very difficult.
Splish Splash: Taking a Cat Bath
Why doesn’t your cat like water? Petful offers another answer, noting “Cats are also sensitive to odors, and it is speculated that your cat may not like the scent of chemicals from tap water.” The situation gets even more overstimulating if you factor in shampoos full of unfamiliar smells.
Don’t be deterred, however, from giving your cat a bath if she needs it. You can do it if you have the right tools and techniques. Items to have on hand include towels, vinyl gloves, a gentle cleanser and after-bath treats. Your greatest tub-time help, however, is a trusted friend or family member who will be patient with you and your possibly unruly kitty. Your cat’s meticulous grooming skills ensure that she won’t need a bath often, but if she gets herself into a dirty or smelly mess, it’s good to know the tips and tricks of the trade.
As a pet parent, you may notice that while your fur baby may dislike being wet, she loves to play with water. Whether it’s lapping up drips of water from the bathroom faucet, drinking from a pet fountain (a great option if your cat needs to drink more water), or trying to stick a paw into your running shower, she’s all about the fun and games of moving water (as long as she doesn’t get too wet).
Experts theorize that a cat’s predilection for running water (like your kitchen sink) over still water (like a bathtub) is a matter of playful fascination. Dripping water “is a cat magnet,” says Animal Planet, providing an exploration of the senses. It’s also possible that her instincts associate running water with fresher streams that would be safer to drink in the wild than a still puddle.
Although most domestic cats don’t like water, their wild cousins, such as tigers, happily use it to cool off or hunt their next meal. There are also a few breeds of household kitties, including the Maine coon, Bengal and Abyssinian, that love the water and occasionally enjoy a few laps around the pool.
The cat most known for her skills in the water is the Turkish van, a rare breed that has been nicknamed the “Swimming Cat.” According to The International Cat Association, these cats “have a unique texture to their cashmere-like coats that makes them waterproof which lets them enjoy swimming and other water games.” With a built-in wetsuit, the Turkish van can paddle around as much as she likes.
So why do cats hate water? Well, yours might not. When you welcome a cat into your home, it won’t be long until you learn your feline friend’s preferences and discover fun new (possibly splashy) games to play.
Cats and water don’t mix, or at least that’s how the old saying goes. But what is it about this banal liquid that makes them lose their mind as captured by so many “cats vs bathtubs” videos on the Internet? And do all cats hate water? Find out here.
Our feline friends have mysterious ways that keep us guessing about plenty of things, but one of the most enduring conundrums has to do with a pretty basic element: water.
Why do cats hate water? And how come they love the water dripping from a tap, but will fight teeth and claws if they come close to a bathtub full of water? We’ll probably never know for sure, but experts have a few ideas that can help baffled cat owners understand their pet’s behaviour a bit better.
Why do cats hate water?
Cats are fine with water to drink, but if it gets near their fur water can instantly turn a happy cat into a miniature lion. Here are some of the causes that help explain why.
1. Water weights a cat down
Imagine having to carry a soaking wet blanket on your shoulders until it gets dry again. A similar principle is at work when it comes to cats and water.
When their entire fur gets drenched, a cat will feel weighted down and unable to move at their normal agility levels. That’s quite an uncomfortable experience for a feline that likes to navigate life with a springy, effortless gait.
2. The cat’s evolutionary history
Another reason why cats hate water is attributed to their history. There is not much in a cat’s background to recommend them for successful interactions with bodies of water, be it small or big. Cat’s ancestors lived in dry arid places which means rivers or oceans weren’t obstacles they had to face. There is not much in their ancestors’ past to prepare the modern cat for the bathtub which helps explain why their first reaction is to scratch their way out of the arms of an owner determined to get them in it.
3. Cats can smell the chemicals in the water
Smell is a cat’s most reliable sense. Even though we might not detect them, the chemicals in the tap water give it a particular odour that a kitten’s sensitive nose will pick up straight away. It’s fine for dipping a paw in every once in a while, but having their fur submerged in a liquid that smells nothing like their coat should smell, is enough to put them off bath time.
4. Negative experiences
Some cats might have actually experienced bathtubs or having their coat wet in early kittenhood. Sometimes it’s those first interactions that can help elucidate the mystery of why cats hate water. If being submerged in the water was a stressful experience the first few times, it’s likely they’ll say “no way” at the sight of the bathtub well into their adult years.
5. Lack of control
There is something else that helps explains why a cat will avoid getting into the bathtub but is happy to play with any dripping tap within reach or even venture close to the full tub to dip their paw in – in those instances a cat will have more control over the situation. After all, they’re still sitting safely on dry land and can easily get away. But being on a slippery wet surface with water pouring down on their coat, getting into their eyes and weighting them down in the process is enough to make their feline instincts go haywire.
Author: Dr. Jason Nicholas
Published: January 16, 2015
Updated: October 15, 2021
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Giving a cat a bath .
Though you likely wouldn’t put the words “cat” and “bath” together in the same sentence (unless it also included the word “never!”), bathing a cat can be done — some actually like it, and sometimes it’s a necessity.
Why might you have to bathe your cat?
Since most cats, in most situations, are quite fastidious in their grooming practices there aren’t many reasons why you’d need to bathe your cat. However, there are a few scenarios where you might find yourself needing to do so.
- Ringworm — This is actually a fungus , rather than a worm. Depending on the severity of your cat’s case, and some other factors, your vet may prescribe medicated baths.
Cats may need a bath if:
- They have ringworm
- They have a flea infestation
- They have something stuck on their coat
- They are obese or arthritic
- And some just love it. So pamper away!
- Flea infestations — Baths aren’t typically necessary for cats with fleas, as most of the newer flea treatments will kill fleas very quickly. That said, in very bad infestations and in cats with flea allergies, baths may be beneficial and even necessary.
Need to get something off their coat — examples include pyrethrin/permethrin flea killing products (which can cause devastating tremors), motor oil or gasoline, antifreeze, potpourri, tree sap, and others.
To bathe your cat it’s important to get all supplies ready first and have a plan
- You’ll need some tasty treats that your helper can use to reward (and bribe) your cat with.
Grab a pitcher or detachable showerhead, pet-specific shampoo, and plenty of towels.
Using your sink, a laundry basket, or Rubbermaid® tub in your bathtub, lay down a towel, non-slip bath mat, or even a cut-up yoga mat so your cat won’t freak out as a result of a slippery surface.
Partially fill (just a few inches) with warm water (not too hot).
Gently place and hold your cat there while your helper uses the pitcher to get your cat’s coat wet.
Lather with pet-specific shampoo (your vet may prescribe a specific one, especially if the bath is necessary for medical reasons — like ringworm)
Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off using the pitcher or showerhead (use a low flow rate so as not to scare your cat).
The Best Brush for Cats
Brushing before bathing is helpful to prevent mats and tangles in your cat’s fur. We’ve found that the Furbliss silicone brushes are among the best options for just about any cat. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, so there’s one for every cat, regardless of the size and amount (and length) of fur they have. Each brush has two sides for different purposes: a brush side for combing and grooming, plus a finer side that’s great for de-shedding.
Since they’re made of silicone, they’re soft, easy to use, and cats actually enjoy the massaging feeling of being brushed. Plus, they can be washed under running water or sterilized in the dishwasher. This also means you can use them in the bath to shampoo your cat and de-tangle their fur as they’re being bathed.
For more brush choices, check out the Tips for Brushing Your Cat article.
Treats to Give Your Cat Before and After Baths
Greenies are great low-calorie treats (at just 1.25 calories per treat) that also help clean your cat’s teeth — plus, cats love them. The Life Essentials freeze-dried chicken treats are also a big hit with many cats, are also low in calories, and are high in protein. We have more low-cal treat choices in our Choosing the Best Cat Treats article.
Some cats are obsessed with bathtubs and sinks. But some cats take this weird fixation even further: They’re obsessed with water itself.
At face value, this cat obsession with water makes no sense. Cartoons, after all, have spent many decades teaching us that cats hate water. And most cats don’t like baths. But some cats are positively mad about water, doing everything from drinking it from faucets to swimming in it.
Video of the Day
Do cats like water?
Many cats love water, at least to drink. This is especially true of running water. Some will only drink from water that’s moving, to the great annoyance of their owners. But why do cats like running water so much more than, say, water in a bowl?
The answer probably lies in survival instincts. Cats tend to seek out fresh, clean water over stagnant water, probably because fresh water is less likely to contain harmful bacteria than stagnant water is. Plus, running water just tastes better.
Because they descended from desert dwellers who got most of their water from the prey that they ate, cats can be pretty picky about the water that they drink. And cats are sensitive to the smell of water, which can quickly get stale if their bowls aren’t changed frequently enough or cleaned regularly. Plus, running or moving water is just more fun.
How often should you bathe a cat?
So today’s magic question is how often do cats need a bath? And the not-so-surprising answer, according to Cat Behaviorist and television personality Richard Kirschner, host of ‘The Cat from Hell’, is almost never!
Bathing cats should never be a regular thing for your cat. It’s only required in very specific and unusual situations. While cats can’t go too long without drinking water, they can go a lifetime without a bath. Let’s find out when exactly you should do it, if ever.
When To Bathe A Cat
So why does ‘Mr. Catman’ not advocate bathing your cat, or to be more precise, giving your cat the full immersion treatment in the bathtub?
The first reason is that cats are incredibly clean animals. They spend up to 50 percent of their time each and every day grooming themselves. Cats can be incredibly fastidious animals and can even turn their attention to you – who else has a cat that licks them!?
In the wild, all cats groom themselves for the principal reason that they need to remove or mask their scent from their prey. A tiger, masking their scent is essential if they want to stay alive. Otherwise, their prey will scatter.
Domestic cats have their origins in the wild North African / Southwest Asian wildcat, scientifically named the “Felis silvestris lybica.” Cat domestication may have begun as early as 10,000 B.C.
Not only do their ancestors the wildcats clean themselves near continuously, but cats inherited another thing from their ancestors, their remarkable tounges.
Cats have backward-facing spines on their tongues, called filiform papillae. These spines act just like a comb and are fantastic at getting into the crevices of a cat’s fur.
About the only part of cats, fur that they can’t reach is behind their neck around their shoulder blades, which may explain in part while cats like to roll in dirt besides dry dusting to spread their scent around.
Cats Say No To Bath
There’s another major reason that bathing a cat can work against you. Soaps and detergents can be very irritating to a cat’s delicate skin beneath its fur. These soaps strip the natural oils needed to keep a cat clean.
Another solid reason for avoiding bathing your cat is that they just don’t like it. As a consequence, if you bathe your cat too often, your cat may develop behavioral problems.
Everyone knows that when cats are upset they can be vindictive. What happens is that cats get stressed and as a result come up with some crazy and baffling behaviors to relieve the stress. You could end up with more than a little cat love bite!
Your cat can even get so stressed that every time you pick him or her up, they think, ‘Uh oh, something bad is about to happen.’ A very social cat can become quite unsociable in a hurry.
The good news then is that generally most cats never need a bath. There are, however, exceptions.
One of these is if you have a hairless breed of cat. These cats have difficulty regulating the oils on their hairless skin, which can be clogged. So a gentle bath around once per week is appropriate. Some people even like to use cat bath wipes.
Reasons To Bathe A Cat
Another reason for a cat bath is if your cat is newly adopted. These cats, particularly if they were previously homeless, may be covered in both dirt, motor oil, and fleas.
Two other common exceptions for the bath rule are older cats and obese cats. These poor animals may no longer have the ability to get to the fur on their backs, and the fur there can become extremely matted.
Baths for cats are situational. For example, if a cat has run into a wild skunk, only a bath will make that cat livable in the house. Oh perhaps you took your cat out on a boat (make sure you’re using the best cat life jackets) and it fell in some toxic algae – then it would need a bath.
Cat Bath Alternatives
In general, while regular bathing should rarely occur, you will need to do proactive cleaning of your cat’s ears as well as trimming their nails. Long-haired cats need to be brushed frequently.
Does your cat resist cleaning its ears, trimming its nails, or brushing? Try to find a particular treat he loves such as peanut butter and then only give it to him when you are engaged in one of these activities.
How To Bathe A Cat
Finally, if you must bathe your cat there are a few tips to make things easier:
- Have a partner – cat bathing by yourself if difficult
- Put down a non-slip matt – if your cat resists, slipping will make the bathing experience much worse
- Draw the water before you bring your cat in – many cats hate the sound of running water
- Have a washcloth handy – using a wet washcloth on your cat’s head and face is much more preferable than pouring water over his head
- Buy an unscented gentle cat shampoo – don’t use dishwashing soap
- Have plenty of towels on hand- a minimum of 3 towels is a must
- Go slow – trying to rush your cat through the bathing process only leads to more resistance
Most cats rarely need a bath, but when it does happen, make it as gentle and unstressful as possible for both you and your Molly (or Tom). Perhaps even make sure you’ve got a good heated cat bed ready for when it’s over – or at least a place in the sun.
Our long haired male black tomcat is looking “scruffy”. I told my husband one of us needs give Sam a bath. My husband laughed and told me he wasn’t in the mood for driving me to the hospital ER because that’s where I’d be going if I attempted to bathe Sam.
It’s interesting to me that, whenever this question gets asked, it’s always about how often as opposed to at all. The question itself is an example of how we tend to look at cats through“dog-colored” glasses. Since it’s pretty well-established that dogs need to be bathed regularly, it is usually presumed that cats do, as well. But the truth is, there is simply no reason to bathe your cat.
So should you bathe your cat? NO! Absolutely not.
In fact, cats can spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming to cover themselves with their scent. So when you step in and bathe them, you are essentially erasing their ID—a Raw Cat staple and a source of serious mojo. Moreover, if you choose to bathe your cat regularly, you are cultivating a negative association with merely handling her. It can get to the point where, even at times when you innocently reach out to love on her, she won’t necessarily know that you’re not about to haul her away to the tub, and she could take a defensive posture toward you. This kind of association can be difficult to break.
So now that we’ve established the no-bathing rule, we do want to point out that there are tub-less ways you can proactively clean your cat like…
- Clean inside of their ears
- Trim their nails
- Brush regularly, especially if your cat is a long hair
Here are a few notable exceptions to the no-bathing rule
- Your cat has been skunked, soiled himself, or rolled in some indescribable source of nasty;
- Your cat is a hairless breed, in which case(because of their unnatural physiology and production of excess oils) they’ll need to have a bath once a week;
- Your cat is a recent rescue from the street and is exceedingly filthy and/or covered with fleas;
- Your cat is either elderly and doesn’t groom much anymore, or is obese and can’t effectively clean themselves.(In either case, they can be wiped down with a baby wipe.)
Those exemptions aside, please remember the mojo mantra—“Cats are not dogs!”—and step away from the bathtub!
So if you ever find yourself in one of these above situational or breed related ‘exceptions’ we do have a few tips for making a trip to tub town a little less stressful for you and your cat.
- Fill the tub or sink with water beforehand, the sound of running water is never good for a cats nerves
- Clean the face first with a washcloth, covering their ears and eyes with water while trying to keep them still is a losing battle… trust us
- Research and consider DIY cleaning solutions, especially an unscented formula
- Clean on a non-skid surface, if they continually slip through the cleaning it will cause them to fight back even more
- Keep loads of towels on hand, we’re talking lots and lots of towels
- Take it slow, cats can sense our nerves so keep it cool
You can check out the full scoop when it comes to the million dollar question, “Should I bathe my cat?” in our video below.
Creatures of comfort, cats love to seek out those warm spots in your home. Whether it’s a toasty suntrap on the patio, stretched out on the floor as the sun streams through a window or even on a sill to catch the full effect of the sun’s rays, if there is a bit of sunshine, chances are your cat will be there. But with all that fur, why do cats like the sun and what is it that drives your kit to sunbathe, even on hot, summer days?
We explore the reasons why your cat loves to sunbathe as well as ask whether all those rays are a good thing for your puss.
You may also like our article on Cat Window Perches.
Why do Cats Sunbathe?
When looking to answer this question, we also need to ask: do cats need sunlight? And the simple answer is, yes. When your cat stretches out in the sunlight, he is not only boosting his health, he is also adding to his overall happiness and well-being. Here are the four main reasons your cat loves to get his sunshine fix:
Cats like heat and can adapt to a range of climates, both cold and warm, with an ability to withstand temperatures of up to 50ºc. When it comes to your cat’s psyche, warmth also equals security, which is why he is so ready to relax when the sunshine beams in. This pleasure principle drives your kit to seek out the sunniest place in your home so that he can really kick back and Zen out as he soaks up all that delicious warmth.
Your puss doesn’t just indulge in a spot of cat sunbathing for the feel-good, it is also for the warmth. At 102.5F, your feline’s normal body temperature is actually higher than humans and so seeking out sunshine can help him to regulate his own body temperature during the day. This desire to use the sun to warm their body up can also be linked to their wild ancestry and is one of the main reasons why you will find your cat in the sun.
Their wild ancestor is the African wildcat which was a desert dweller and had evolved to be an efficient hunter in more extreme climes. To keep their higher body temperature regulated, these wild creatures would sleep and rest during the day, to conserve their heat and then get ready to hunt at night. While your domesticated cat is no longer needing to hunt for food at night, many of these instincts remain, including the desire to rest and keep warm during the day.
To Conserve Energy
Like most mammals, your cat’s body temperature will dip during rest, which is why they instinctively seek out a warm or sunny spot to keep their body heat up as they sleep. But it is not just heat they are conserving; it is also their energy stores. During rest your kit’s basal metabolism – that is, the rate at which their body uses energy to maintain vital functions such as breathing – will also drop so that they can use the stored energy for physical activities when they are awake. This mirrors their life in nature when they would need reserved energy to climb and hunt. To help overcome this drop, conserve more energy and to help their body function more efficiently while they sleep, your cat will seek out a warm place to sleep. This could be near a radiator, wrapped up in your freshly dried laundry or in a window, where sunlight is streaming in.
To Create Vitamin D
We humans like to get our own dose of sunshine, and also need it, for the vitamin D it produces in our skin. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and this also applies to your cat. But whereas sun enables our skin to create an oil which contains vitamin D which is then easily absorbed into our skin, with cats it is a little more complicated. They create the same oil, but it then sits on their fur, waiting for the next grooming session where your cat will ingest the vitamin rather than it being absorbed. While your cat may well be enjoying that sunbathing session for the feel-good and energy-conserving benefits, they are also working hard to produce enough vitamin D for their all-round good health. So, there is also a health answer to the question, why do cats lay in the sun! Take a look at our review of vitamins for cats for more info.
Is the Sun Good for Cats?
While we may now understand why do cats like the sun, it is also important to ask whether it is actually good for your cat. Yes, they obviously like the warmth and comfort sunbathing can bring, and there are health reasons why they need to sit in the sun and get warm, but there is a good case for moderation as too much too often can bring problems.
It is essential that wherever they sunbathe, they can get out of the heat when they need to otherwise they could over-heat and this can be a life-threatening situation. And then there are the obvious risks associated with too much UV ray exposure, especially if your cat is a short-haired breed or has minimal or no fur. White cats are also more at risk of sunburn than darker colored cats and all cats have their vulnerable areas when it comes to the potentially dangerous effects of the sun, namely their nose, backs of the ears and tummy.
Too little sun can also be harmful to your pet, especially during the winter months so it is essential your feline friend always has a suitable way to warm themselves and to ensure their body temperature doesn’t drop below 100F.
Tips for Cat Sun Protection
You can’t stop your cat seeking out the sun and you shouldn’t really need to if sensible precautions are taken to ensure they only get what they need and are never in a situation where they can overheat. When it comes to the dangers associated with your cat sunbathing, prevention is better than cure. Keeping your cat indoors during really hot summer days is always an option, as is adding a reflective film to your windows which can help to filter out UV rays. You can also use sunscreen to protect your cat from the potential sunburn and cancer-causing UBA and UVB rays, but just make sure it is cat-safe and does not contain zinc oxide and octyl salicylate, which can be toxic for your kit. Use on their sun-vulnerable areas and regularly re-apply on very hot, sunny days.
If you’ve done anything on the list below, don’t worry; nobody is perfect (except our cats, of course!) and luckily, our felines always find it in their hearts to forgive us. But by being aware of what bothers them, we can help our feline family members live their best lives possible!
11 Things Humans Do That Cats Dislike
1. Not giving them a comfortable place to relieve themselves.
We all know that cats are picky creatures, and this extends to their litter box preferences. As a general rule, there should be one litter box for each cat in the house, plus an extra one. They should be cleaned daily, but your kitty may prefer that it’s scooped more often than that.
If your cat is avoiding the litter box and you’re not sure why, try making a few simple changes. Check out 5 Ways To Make Your Cat Comfortable Using The Litter Box for ideas.
Image Source: Chris Murphy via Flickr
2. Making loud noises
With their strong senses, cats cat be skittish, especially when it comes to loud noises. Shouting, banging, or slamming — even if it’s not directed at them — is sure to send your kitty into a tailspin.
3. Scolding them
While you may want to train your cat to do or not do something, yelling at him, pointing, or forcing him to do something will not work. Scolding cats only leaves them feeling confused and scared. Try gentle guidance and rewarding good behaviors, instead.
4. Ignoring odd behavior
By nature, cats disguise their pain, so it’s up to us to detect when something isn’t right. You know your cat best, so if you notice any strange behaviors, like persistent scratching, frequent / infrequent trips to the litter box, or lack of grooming, make sure to have her checked out by your vet. See 6 Subtle Signs Your Cat May Be Sick.
5. Giving them a water bowl they don’t like using
It’s important that all creatures stay hydrated, but your cat may be deterred from drinking his water simply because he doesn’t like his bowl! While it’s okay to give kitty some sips from the faucet, he should always have access to a water source that he’s comfortable using. Read 10 Reasons Cats Don’t Like Drinking Out Of Water Bowls for more info.
Image Source: Teresa Boardman via Flickr
6. Teasing them
This is a given, but cat owners should make extra sure that their kitty’s space is being respected when there are guests around. Poking, pulling, chasing, or sudden movements will make any cat feel scared and unsafe.
7. Declawing them
This procedure, which is simply a convenience for owners, can wreak havoc on your cat. Animal lovers have become more aware that declawing is an actual bone amputation, not just a removal of the claw. It can cause your kitty long-term pain, as well as leave her feeling defenseless and more vulnerable. This can lead to increased aggression, and it really poses a problem for cats who end up outdoors with no defenses. Check out 7 Reasons To Never Declaw Your Cat for more.
8. Dressing them up
Cats have strong instincts that give them lots of similarities to their wildcat ancestors – it’s one of the things we love about them! That’s why putting a “cute” outfit on your kitty will most likely make her agitated. Clothing can make cats feel restrained and hinder their agility, plus they don’t like being ogled or laughed at.
9. Ignoring their grooming needs
While your cat does a pretty good job grooming herself, sometimes she needs a hand. She may not like baths, nail trims, or getting brushed (or maybe she loves it!), but what she dislikes even more is being unkempt. Knotted hair can cause painful mats, long nails can snag, and fleas and ticks are no fun for anyone! Grooming is one exception where it’s worth doing something they may not love for the benefit of their overall wellbeing.
Image Source: ocean yamaha via Flickr
10. Not respecting their space
Every cat should have a “safe space” where he can retreat, whether it’s a room, a kennel, a perch, or a cardboard box. By respecting your kitty’s wishes when he wants to be alone, he will feel safe and loved. Cats should never be forced into interaction – it will only backfire.
11. Neglecting to give them enough attention
With the above point said, when your cat is ready for affection, make sure you receive her request with open arms! While they have a reputation for being independent, cats need love, just like we do! And remember: they may be able to occupy themselves all day, but there’s nothing like some one-on-one play with their favorite human.
Are there any points that we missed? Share with us in the comments below!
Have you ever seen a cat on the beach or swimming in a pool? Most people, myself included, would probably say no. So have you ever wondered if there is any truth to the commonly held belief that cats hate water?
Wild cats and water
A good way to start the conversation is by looking at our domestic cats’ wild relatives. After all, many of our pets’ behaviors are remnants of their wild ancestors’ instincts. Regarding water, wild cats fall into two camps—generally depending on where they live.
- Cats from warmer climates, such as lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and ocelots, like water to cool off and are generally good swimmers.
- Cats from colder climates, like bobcats, lynx and snow leopards, avoid water because getting wet would hamper their coats’ ability to keep them warm.
Domestic cats and water
Domestic cats, though related to these wild cats, are not directly descended from them. Domestic cats have developed over many centuries from a single wild ancestor that still exists in the wild today, the Near Eastern wildcat of the Middle East. As water is scarce in the Middle East, these cats were not exposed to it in any great degree, and their decedents, likewise, do not generally appreciate water except for drinking.
Domestic cats that don’t like water
Today, most domestic cats would rather not bathe in, swim in or otherwise interact with water. Fortunately, they do not need to. While other species of animals (such as humans) clean themselves with water, it is not necessary for cats to do so. Cats are inherently clean animals; they use their tongues, which have minute hooked shaped papillae, to assist in grooming out knots and keeping the coat clean, sweet smelling and in tip-top shape. In addition, many breeds have coats that trap water, so getting wet makes it hard for them to stay warm in cool weather.
Domestic cats that do like water
Of course, there are exceptions to the general rule:
- The Turkish Van, a breed of cat known as the “swimming cat,” loves water. So does the Turkish Angora that hails from the same area. It is possible that these cats enjoy water because of where they evolved, that is, they swam in Lake Van to cool down.
- Bengal cats are also well known to love water; this makes sense when you consider that the Bengal is the offspring of domestic cats crossed with the Asian Leopard Cat—a wild cat known to swim.
- Likewise, Savannah cats—developed by crossing domestic cats with wild servals—retain the wild cats’ love of water.
- Norwegian Forest Cats have been known to snag fish from lakes and streams in their native habitat.
- Maine Coon Cats, with their dense and water-repellent coats, were a mainstay of New England whalers.
- Abyssinians were ship cats, making the journey from their Indian Ocean coastal homeland to Europe by boat in the 19th century.
- Interestingly, three cats with short or absent tails also like water: The American Bobtail, the JapaneseBobtail and the Manx. While the Manx (from the Isle of Man) and the Japanese Bobtail were developed on islands, perhaps accounting for their affinity with water, the American Bobtail may have just developed its affinity in conjunction with the natural mutation that brought about the short tail.
Many cats will play with water
Many other domestic cats will play with water, such as water left in a shower stall or dripping water in a sink—even with the water in their drinking bowl. Some will even sit on the edge of your bath and play with the bubbles, rubber duckies, or wet children (like Starlite, my own domestic shorthair cat). The key to getting a cat to like water is to introduce them to water when they are young and avoid using water as a punishment (that means no squirting them with water).
So what is the truth about cats and water?
Cats are very individualistic. While most domestic cats naturally show indifference or even an aversion to water, there are exceptions and you will find individuals that actually like water. Conversely, there are individuals from breeds known to have an affinity to water, that go against the norm and dislike it.
So does your cat love or loathe water? Tell us below!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Why do kitten hate shower?
- Why do kitten hate shower
cats hate water
first of all, Cats and water do not mix, or at least that is how the old expression goes. Because, what is it all about this commonplace liquid which makes them shed their thoughts as captured by a lot of”cats versus bathtubs” movies online? And also, do all cats hate water?
Our feline friends have mystical ways that help keep us guessing about lots of things; however, among the most enduring problems must do with an essential element: water.
And how do they love the water dripping from a faucet, but can combat claws and teeth should they come near a tub filled with water? We will likely never know for sure, but specialists have a few thoughts which could help baffled cat owners know that their pet’s behaviour is somewhat better.
Cats hate water, but Cats are good with water to drink, but when it gets close to their fur, water could immediately turn a joyful cat into a tiny lion. Below are a few of the factors which help clarify why.
Water burdens a down cat
Imagine having to take a soaking wet blanket in your shoulders till it becomes dry. A similar principle is at work in regards to water and cats.
If their whole fur becomes soaked, a kitty will feel weighted down and not able to move at their regular agility degrees. That is instead an uncomfortable experience to get a feline that enjoys navigating life with an elastic, effortless gait.
The kitty’s evolutionary history
Another reason, cats hate water is credited to their account. There’s little in a kitty’s background to urge them for useful connections with bodies of water, be it small or large. Cat’s ancestors dwelt in arid places, so oceans or rivers were not barriers they had to confront. There’s very little inside their ancestors’ past to prepare the contemporary kitty for the tub that will help explain why their initial response would be to scratch their way from the arms of the owner decided to receive them inside.
Cats can smell the chemicals in the water
The smell is a kitty’s strong sense. Though we may not find them, the chemicals in the tap water supply it a specific odour. A kitty’s sensitive nose will select up right away. It is excellent for dipping a paw in every once in a while, however, using their fur submerged in a liquid that smells nothing like their jacket should odour is sufficient to put them off tub time.
Some cats hate water maybe because they have experienced bathtubs or using their coat moist in early kittenhood. At times it’s those very first interactions that could help elucidate the puzzle of why felines hate water. When being submerged in the water proved to be a stressful encounter the first few times, it is likely they will say”no method” in the sight of their tub well in their adult years.
Deficiency of control
Yes cats hate water but there’s something else that helps explains why a cat will prevent getting into the tub but is pleased to perform any leaking faucet within reach or perhaps venture near the entire bathtub to dip their paw inside — in these cases a cat is going to have more control over the circumstance. After all, they are still sitting securely on dry soil and can readily getaway. However, being on a slick wet face with water pouring down on their jacket, getting in their eyes and weighing them down at the practice is sufficient to create their feline instincts go awry.
Are there some cats who enjoy water?
These reasons felines hate water to consume for many kittens. However, just like any rule, there are also exceptions, and a few cats do enjoy the water.
Why do cat hate water? A Maine Coon’s water-resistant jacket usually means these kittens won’t be afraid to dab every opportunity they get. Leave the faucet running a little too long, and you will shortly have a Maine Coon on the instance.
Historically these cats are trusted pest controls on sailing boats. Which can help explain why they’re so at ease around bodies of water.
Among the most breathtaking examples is that the Turkish Van cat breed. Their waterproof coat does not hold water that makes swimming a somewhat pleasurable experience for them. Does the Turkish Van cats hate water? These kittens have this affinity for water that lots of owners. They try to find cat pools so that they could paddle and float into their heart’s content. They love being in the water, so they’ve been given the nickname”the swimming cat.”
Another cat that’s fond of water, the Abyssinian. He won’t wait before exploring everything from a complete tub to their water bowl by dipping their paws in. Kittens came in Europe for the very first time by ship. So maybe their absolute comfort seeing water stems from that first voyage throughout the ocean.
Can I give my kitten shower or my kitten hate shower?
kittens do not have saltwater fur or a calm approach to all things moist such as the cat strains over. You wondering correctly what to do if your cat gets in a wreck they can not wash all independently.
Under specific circumstances, you can bath your kitty. It may be tricky, but a high starting point is to acquire the essentials right. Ensure that you have prepared a no floor mat, expert towels, shampoo and a brush.
This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as “Dr. B” to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited hospital and Boston’s first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.
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While cats are generally good at grooming themselves, there may be times where you need to bathe your cat. If your cat gets into something messy, for example, she may need a bath. Cats are often resistant to water, so it will take some training before your cat will participate in bath time smoothly. You will have to spend some time getting your cat used to being touched. When you’re ready to bathe your cat, make sure to go slowly so your cat is comfortable the entire time. Prior to bathing your cat, it’s a good idea to clip her nails so she cannot hurt you.
In this Article
- Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible for Both of You
- Nail Clipping
ThereвЂ™s nothing like a little pampering to make your pet feel amazing and look like the star they are! Most cats naturally groom themselves frequently вЂ” youвЂ™ve probably watched as your pet gave themselves one of their daily baths. However, as tidy as cats normally are, sometimes theyвЂ™ll need a little help to feel or look their best.В
Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible for Both of You
The process of grooming your cat should be fun for you and for them. Try to schedule a grooming session for a time when your cat is already calm and sleepy, such as after dinner. You should also be in a good mood вЂ” your cat will notice if youвЂ™re grumpy or stressed during the grooming session, and this can stress them out in turn.
Your cat may become impatient with all the attention the first few times you groom them. Keep your first few sessions short, just five or ten minutes. Once your cat is used to the routine, you can gradually lengthen the amount of time you spend keeping them clean.В
You can also use this time to help your cat get used to being handled. Play with everything from their ears to their feet so they arenвЂ™t as stressed if this happens in the future!
You donвЂ™t need to push your cat to accept grooming, either. If your cat seems upset or stressed, take a break and try again later. If you need to bathe your cat, get someone to help you out so it goes quickly. Never hesitate to praise your cat or give them treats if they behave well during grooming.В
Cats need regular brushing to keep their coats looking tidy, especially if they have long fur. Brushing also helps remove dirt and tangles while spreading healthy oils throughout their coat, keeping their skin and fur healthy and getting rid of irritation.В
Cats with short hair only need to be brushed once weekly.В
- Use a metal comb to loosen dead fur, starting at their head and working toward the tail.В
- With a bristle or rubber brush, do the same thing to remove the dead hair.В
- Always be careful around your catвЂ™s face, belly, and chest.В
Long-haired cats need a little more care and should be brushed daily.В
- Start at your catвЂ™s legs and belly, and slowly work your way up.В
- Brush the fur in an upward motion to help lift and clean it.
- Finally, part the fur on your catвЂ™s tail down the center, then brush each side individually.
If your cat needs a bath, youвЂ™ll know. They will either feel oily to the touch, or they will have gotten into something smelly or sticky. In these cases, youвЂ™ll need to get a brand of shampoo made for cats and give your cat a real bath.
- First, brush your cat as much as you can so the hair doesnвЂ™t clog your drain.В
- Next, put a rubber mat in your bathtub or sink so that your cat feels comfortable standing up.В
- Fill the sink or tub with a few inches of warm, not hot, water.В
- With a pitcher or gentle spray hose, get your cat entirely wet. Avoid their face, particularly their ears, eyes, and nose.В
- Carefully rub on a small amount of shampoo, working from neck to tail.В
- Rinse off all the soap, avoiding their face.В
- Dry off your cat with a warm, dry towel, then keep them somewhere warm for the rest of the day.В
Your catвЂ™s claws are often something you donвЂ™t think about until you get a pointed reminder that theyвЂ™re too long. If you only pay attention to your catвЂ™s feet when itвЂ™s time to trim their nails, then your cat may be upset at the unusual feeling.В
To make everything easier, play with your catвЂ™s feet when youвЂ™re not about to trim their nails. This helps them get used to the feeling so that they feel safe. It doesnвЂ™t hurt to praise your kitty and give them lots of treats while playing with their toes, either. After a couple of weeks of this, your cat will likely accept nail trims calmly. В
When it comes to the trim itself, hereвЂ™s what to do:
- First, gently squeeze the top and bottom of your catвЂ™s foot until their claws emerge.В
- Use a dedicated cat nail trimmer to cut only the white tip of your catвЂ™s nails.В
- Never cut the inner pink area of your catвЂ™s nail; this is the quick, and it contains nerves and blood vessels.
- Have styptic powder on hand in case you cut the quick by accident. Styptic powder will stop the bleeding quickly.
ASPCA: “Cat Grooming Tips.”
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home: вЂњHow to groom a cat.вЂќ
Bethel Community Pet Hospital: вЂњTraining Your Pet to Tolerate Nail Trimming.вЂќ
Blue Cross for Pets: вЂњHow to groom your cat.вЂќ
Central California SPCA: вЂњIs Bathing a Cat Really Necessary (or Just a Myth in Caring for Pets)?вЂќ
The Humane Society of the United States: вЂњTrimming a catвЂ™s claws.вЂќ
VCA Hospitals: вЂњGrooming and Coat Care for Your Cat.вЂќ
Wisconsin Humane Society: вЂњCat Nail Trimming 101.вЂќ
There are a number of reasons why your cat might prefer your warm bath water:
- It associates warm liquid with its mother’s milk
- The water is fresher because it’s just come out of the tap
- Your cat feels safer drinking when you’re in the bath because it assumes you’re looking out for it
Why does my cat drink bath water?
Until you learn to speak ‘cat’, there’s no way of finding out the real reason behind this behavior, but you can rest assured that it’s perfectly normal.
My cat will drink out of pretty much anything except his designated water bowl – he even drinks from the toilet (I only found out when I noticed little paw prints inside the bowl).
As I mentioned above, there are many reasons why your cat might feel compelled to drink from your bath water – cats tend to do whatever they want, and sometimes there’s just no understanding them!
Why cats drink from bathtubs
One possible reason that I find rather endearing is that your cat might feel that bath time is a safe time to go for a drink.
When a cat drinks, it has often got its back turned to any potential danger – so a cat will pick its drinking time wisely. If your feline friend knows you’re sitting around in the bath tub, this might make it feel more secure, because you’re there to watch its back as it has a refreshing drink.
Whatever the reason, you can work around this problem by simply making sure your cat has a constant supply of fresh water in its bowl – and you can also try shutting the bathroom door next time you run a bath!
If you’ve ever tried to bathe a cat you will know that felines have an aversion to water.
However, one little kitten has gone viral for his penchant for splashing about in a bath—and the internet finds it adorable.
In a 45-second clip, which was shared to Reddit by a user called Immaeatyourpizza, we can see a small ginger cat paddling about in a bath tub and chasing his tail.
A human hand then reaches down to move about inside the tub, creating a miniature whirlpool in the water.
Trained zoologist Luis Villazon explained in the BBC Science Focus Magazine why, traditionally, cats don’t like water.
“Cats groom themselves with constant regular licking, and this stops skin oils from building up on their fur,” he revealed.
“As a result a cat’s coat is fluffier and less waterproof than a dog’s, so they get colder and their fur feels heavier if they get wet.”
However, Immaeatyourpizza explained under their video, which can be viewed here, that their cat became interested in bathing when their husband was showering one day.
They wrote: “We kept the bathroom door opened at all times (just in case he needs to use a litter box). And then one day he randomly decided to jump inside the bathtub when my husband was taking shower.
“Now it’s impossible to take a bath/shower without our fluffy boy, he’s going full bonkers mode whenever there’s a sound of running water.”
The adorable footage, which was shared on December 5, is captioned: “We adopted a kitten who’s head over heels in love with water.”
The clip has gained a lot of traction online, having surpassed a whopping 24,500 upvotes and attracted many comments, with some people admitting their pet also loves to splash around.
One Reddit user, Ximena, wrote: “Adorable! I hope I get a cat that loves water.”
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Another person, LargeMosquito, added: “My cat absolutely loved drinking running water from the bath.
“Every morning she’d get in the bath and start crying until someone turned on the tap.”
Accomplished_Meet834 admitted: “So jealous! I have 3 [cats] and they all hate water.”
ZOOMER_COOOOOMER gushed: “I want to buy him little rubber duckies and cute bath toys and play with him.”
Significant_Shoe_17 revealed: “My tabby loved water! He was always playing in the sink! He would hop in there and wait for us to turn the faucet on.”
Maximum-Student2749 stated: “What a sweetheart!”
Sabaqueen_ stated: “I have two orange tabby’s and they also love water!!”
SammieBoy17 gushed: “I’ve had cats that LOVE water too. Depends on the cat I guess.
“My daughters fat floofy girl loves baths, well I should say she doesn’t love them at first, but is ok with it once she’s wet.”
Homemade and commercial dry baths for your cats
MetPet.com Staff Writer
Most of the time your cat simply needs a light brushing to keep her clean. A cat can spend hours every day keeping her coat and skin in good condition and free from debris and dirt. As long as she looks good to you, she’s doing a good job. A long-haired cat may need extra care for mats but these can be kept to a minimum with a gentle daily brush.
Every now and again though, your cat may need a little extra help. Perhaps he has been ill or is old or a little overweight and not limber enough to reach all of his parts. Perhaps you just want to do a little extra grooming before company comes. If you wish to provide that extra bit of care but want to avoid trying to actually bathe your cat, try one of the dry bath preparations.
You will want to make sure that your cat has used his litterbox, been fed and is otherwise content. If you have a second person hold your cat during the bath it will make things go much faster. Otherwise, you can try doing just a portion of your cat’s coat and see how it goes.
You probably do not want a half ‘dusted’ cat running around the house trailing powder in his wake so it’s best to start small. You may also find that your cat is thoroughly pleased with the bath and is happy to lie down and purr while you massage his coat and skin.
There are a number of commercial preparations known as dry shampoos. You will want to start with a dry cat so that the dust does not clump onto the hair.
Cover the top of your table with newspaper, find the cat and the shampoo and gently brush your cat from head to tail to fluff up the coat and make it easier for the shampoo to penetrate to the skin. Dust your cat with the shampoo according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Gently work the dust into your cat’s hair and leave on according to the manufacturer’s directions. You may want to confine your cat to a small area of the house so that he does not dust your furniture with the shampoo. Gently comb out the dust thoroughly so that your cat does not ingest it when he resumes licking himself.
Alternatives to commercial dry shampoos include corn starch, unscented talcum powder and bran. Bran, which is readily available at grocery stores or at pet stores as food for bunnies, can be spread onto a cookie sheet and warmed in the oven. When it is warm, but not hot, to the touch you can massage it into your cat’s coat and then leave it on for several hours.
If you are new to bathing your cat, you can start off working half of your cat’s coat or just a small section to see how easily your cat takes to it. Try and keep your cat from licking or ingesting too much of the bathing material.
Wipes for Allergies
Although not technically dry and not technically a bath, these wipes are made just for cats. They are made to pick up traces of a cat’s saliva that create allergic reactions in some people.
If you are going to have a guest who you know is allergic to cats, this is nice added measure.
Cats are very clean and observant animals. We often see them sniffing many things, whether it’s an object, an animal or even us. If you have a pet cat you may have wondered what types of smells they don’t like.
In this AnimalWised article we’re going to tell you the top 10 smells cats hate. Some of them you may know already, whereas others may surprise you. Continue reading to learn more!
- Sense of smell in cats
- Citrus scents
- Dirty litter box
- Old fish
- Soaps and deodorants
- Essential oils
- Other cats
Sense of smell in cats
Did you know cats have a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than that of a human being? This is because their nasal organ is bigger than ours. A cat’s olfactory system is distributed throughout its entire head, which gives them an amazing ability to smell. This fact is important to keep in mind as we go through our list of smells cats don’t like.
Most cats don’t enjoy smells humans don’t like. However, there are also some other interesting smells that they hate but that we might enjoy.
1. Citrus scents
The first scent is any citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, etc. In fact, these foods are used as natural repellents for unwanted cats in certain areas, such as a garden. Cats not only dislike the smell but they also hate the taste of any citrus fruit.
Banana is another fruit that can keep a cat away due to the scent. Although tasty and high in potassium, cats don’t seem to be so impressed with this scent. Many people rub a banana peel on the sofa or table to keep their cat away from there.
3. Dirty litter box
Who likes to go to a bad-smelling bathroom? The same applies to cats when their litter box is dirty. Under no circumstances will they want to go near it. In fact, this may lead them to relieve themselves in another area. So, don’t forget to provide your cat with enough litter boxes, and make sure they are regularly cleaned!
Even though some natural sands comprise of this type of material, making it more pleasant for the cat, you mustn’t abuse the intensity of this smell. Doing so would have the opposite effect on the cat, to the point in which tit ends up hating the sand and rejecting it. Instead, opt for neutral-scented sand so your cat is comfortable with their litter box and uses it instead of going elsewhere.
5. Old fish
This is another similarity between cats and human beings. There is a huge difference between liking the taste of fish and liking the smell of it once it’s gone-off. Cats, just like humans, hate everything that is out of date. We recommend that you never give your cat spoiled fish.
You should also make sure your garbage is covered so it doesn’t smell and bother your cat whose sense of smell is heightened in comparison to us.
Cats don’t appreciate the smells of spicy or heavily seasoned foods such as pepper, mustard or even curry. Their sense of smell perceives these as if they are toxic. Therefore, if you cook for your cat, keep it plain. Cats enjoy cooked meat with no spices.
7. Soaps and deodorants
Cats do not appreciate strong chemical smells. Be careful with the soaps and cleaning products you use around the house. You must be especially careful with the products you use to clean their litter box and food bowls as they need to be non-toxic to your cat. Keep it plain and natural!
8. Essential oils
Cats love most flowers and plants, they can interact with them without problem. Otherwise you wouldn’t have much of a problem keeping out of your garden. However, due to their strong sense of smell, they have problems with essential oils. They are too overpowering and can cause them to have quite a severe reaction. This is not to mention the fact that there are some plants which are toxic to cats. While smelling shouldn’t do them much harm, ingesting their leaves, flowers or even essential oils can.
Most cats are averse to the smell of some plants because they are toxic for them. A typical example is their rejection of eucalyptus, since their essential oils can be harmful to them, and they know it. Nature is wise!
10. Other cats
Cats may also dislike the smell of other cats they are not used to. This usually has more to do with territory and safety than the actual smell. Nevertheless, unless it is their human companion or another animal in their household, cats will typically not appreciate the smell of any other animal.
If you would like to read more articles likes this one, we recommend you check out our section on facts about the animal kingdom. We also encourage you to check out our video down below about 10 things cat hate!
If you want to read similar articles to 10 Smells that Cats Hate, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.
My cats still don’t like getting a bath, but at least they can’t wreak havoc.
Julia Gomez Kramer
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/Amazon
If you’ve ever tried to give a cat a bath, you know how exhausting it can be. The typically water-aversive pets are no strangers to creating an escape plan once they realize what you’re trying to do.
Despite cats being known to clean themselves, baths aren’t entirely unavoidable. My two cats, Tuna and Salmon have long hair that occasionally needs a good wash and groom. Pre-pandemic, I’d take them to a groomer, but these days I’m on my own. Typically, this leads to howling, hissing, and cats running around my home while still soaking wet. This was all before I tried the HATIKY Cat Bathing Bag.
HATIKY Cat Bathing Bag
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I first heard about it from a friend who had seen one being used on TikTok. The bag is easy to use. It opens at the bottom, you slip the cat in the same way you’d pull on a hoodie (which is easier than it sounds), tuck their head through the turtleneck-like opening at the top, and adjust the size as needed with the drawstrings. It even has a handle on the top, allowing you to easily carry the cat-in-a-bag around, and a zippered opening at the bottom so you can access their paws for the ever-dreaded claw-trimming.
Given their size, I assumed the bag might be a tight squeeze for my cats, but figured it was worth a shot. The first time I put them in the bags I just let them sit in them and get adjusted. After the initial confusion of why I was zipping them into a strange piece of fabric passed, I was honestly surprised to find they settled in quite comfortably. When I went to give the actual baths, I was met with the same sad look and panicked meows, but no flailing limbs or attempted escapes. I applied the shampoo to the outside of the bag and scrubbed as I normally would, letting the suds work their way through the holes of the mesh and onto their coats. I used the zippered opening at the bottoms to clean their toe tufts, rinsed the shampoo out, did a quick pass at drying them off, took them out of the bags, and they sprinted off to plot their revenge. If Tuna and Salmon weren’t terrified of hairdryers, I would’ve kept them in the bags and given them blowouts to complete the spa day they didn’t want.
Hopefully their self-grooming will be sufficient enough to avoid another bath for at least a few months, but once that dreaded day comes back around, this little mesh bag will help make a once-grueling process a breeze.
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(Picture Credit: marieclaudelemay/Getty Images)
We all know cats hate water, right? Not so fast! Tigers and jaguars are fond of swimming, and plenty of domestic cats think taking a dip in a lake, getting in the shower with you, or just splashing around in their water dish is the most fun ever.
Sometimes stereotypes just don’t apply, and several cat breeds out there can show us why. Maybe you’ve even got a kitty at home who seeks out a running faucet every time and dips their tiny head in the stream.
Some cats simply adore the water and are happy to swim with the fishes. Fish tank owners beware! Meet ten cat breeds that love the water and swim against the current when it comes to getting wet.
(Picture Credit: GrashAlex/Getty Images)
This big, furry lug was a popular ship’s cat in their native New England. No self-respecting sea captain left on a voyage without one.
The Maine Coon boasts a dense, water-repellent coat that comes in many colors and patterns.
Norwegian Forest Cat
(Picture Credit: Astrid860/Getty Images)
As befits a Viking cat, the Wegie, as they’re nicknamed, is an intrepid fisher who’s known to snag fish from lakes and streams. Watch out if you have an aquarium!
Cousin to the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat also sports a thick coat that repels water.
(Picture Credit: maxoidos/Getty Images)
The adventurous Aby hails from Indian Ocean coastal areas, so it’s no surprise that they take to water play. It’s likely that this energetic and fun-loving cat came to Europe by ship in the 19th century, which may have reinforced their comfort with the wet stuff.
Don’t be surprised when your Abyssinian learns to turn on the faucet so they can have their own personal water park.
(Picture Credit: Aletakae/Getty Images)
A native of the Isle of Man off the coast of Britain, the Manx is an island cat par excellence. It’s not unusual to find them dabbling their paws in their water dish or even joining their humans in the shower.
Their double coat can be short or long and comes in many different colors and patterns.
(Picture Credit: NancyAyumi/Getty Images)
Another island-born cat, the Japanese Bobtail is fond of splashing in water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t raiding your koi pond or aquarium, and check your faucet frequently to make sure they haven’t turned it on to run a bath.
Their usual tricolor coat of red and black on a white background also comes in other colors and patterns and is water-resistant.
(Picture Credit: Kurgu128/Getty Images)
This cat has the exotic appearance of a small wildcat, and indeed they were created by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic feline.
The breed today doesn’t retain any wild blood, but that heritage is probably the source of the Bengal’s love of water. If given half a chance, they will happily join you in the bath or shower.
(Picture Credit: Jane-Khomi/Getty Images)
This short-tailed cat is the result of a natural genetic mutation. Along with that mutation, apparently, came a love of water. They can often be found dunking their toys in water.
The American Bobtail has a shaggy coat that comes in short and medium lengths and any color or pattern.
(Picture Credit: CaptureStock/Getty Images)
This large, active, and curious cat was created by crossing the serval, a small wildcat, with domestic cats. That no doubt accounts for the pleasure they take in playing with and in water.
They are very smart and can be a handful. The Savannah stands out for their boldly marked coat, long neck, and large ears.
(Picture Credit: Instants/Getty Images)
Don’t let their delicate, beautiful appearance fool you. Like their cousin the Turkish Van, the Turkish Angora is fond of water and will play in it readily.
They swan through life in a long, silky coat that comes in many more colors than the trademark white for which they are known.
(Picture Credit: Sergio Amiti/Getty Images)
Legend has it this Turkish breed swam ashore from Noah’s Ark after it came to rest on Mt. Ararat. Nicknamed “swimming cat” for their love of playing in water, the Turkish Van won’t hesitate to explore any body of water they come across — from your toilet to your swimming pool.
They can be klutzes, so make sure they can swim in case they fall in — it’s not always a natural skill. You may want to provide them with a child’s pool that they can lie in during the heat of summer.
Did we miss any water-loving cat breeds? Does your kitty love to swim and play in the water? Let us know in the comments below!
Ask any cat owner and they’ll tell you the same: Most cats don’t like getting wet. But what to do if you feel your feline friend is dirty and due for a good old-fashioned soak in the suds? “Domestic felines do not need to be bathed,” says Vanessa Spano, associate veterinarian at Behavior Vets of NYC. “Cats, unlike dogs, groom themselves daily—this is a normal species behavior. The majority of cats also may not like being exposed to water, and an unnecessary bath can be very stressful and uncomfortable for those felines unaccustomed to water.”
Of course, there are some instances where a bath is necessary, but you should always check with your veterinarian first. Felines’ agile bodies and sandpaper-like tongues make them excellent self-groomers, says Hannah Shaw, a Royal Canin cat expert and founder of Kitten Lady, so you can skip the dip unless yours develops a skin condition, like ringworm (consult your vet about using a medicated soap), or gets especially dirty.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your cat needing an actual bath, as well as effective ways to clean them at home, too. We reached out to Serena Juma, a cat behaviorist at Purina, for advice; here’s what she to say.
Brush Your Cat Regularly
The best way to keep your cat clean outside of bath time? Juma says to brush them regularly. “In general, a healthy adult cat doesn’t require bathing unless he or she has gotten into something that has coated the fur and can’t be easily removed with brushing,” she says. “Cats groom themselves naturally, however their owners should help keep them clean by brushing or combing them regularly.”
Only Clean as Necessary
If your cat happens to get dirty enough that you can’t just brush them clean, Juma suggests only washing the areas that are soiled. “If a cat does require a bath, I recommend only bathing the area that needs attention,” she says. “Some cats enjoy being in and around water, while many don’t like the feeling of being submerged as it causes their coats to become heavier. By only washing areas that need attention, you can help reduce the discomfort that a cat may feel if submerged.”
Use the Right Shampoo
“It is critical to buy a shampoo made specifically for cats,” says Juma. “Shampoos made for humans or dogs, especially flea shampoos, can be toxic to felines. Most pet stores will have a cat-safe option that clearly states on the packaging that it is feline-friendly. A veterinarian may also recommend a specific shampoo or cleaning method if there is an ongoing health issue that requires the owner to bathe a cat regularly.” Or forgo the bath entirely and opt for something like Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath Dry Shampoo ($7.49, amazon.com).
If a partial bath is in order, Juma says to follow these steps to ensure a successful (and less stressful) cat cleaning. First, before you draw the bath, trim their nails (if needed) to avoid accidentally being scratched. “Recruit a family member to help,” she suggests. “This will allow one person to focus attention on interacting with the cat while the other cleans the cat.” Prepare everything that’s needed for the bath ahead of time; this includes a cat-safe shampoo like Pro Pet Works All-Natural Organic Shampoo ($14.29, amazon.com), a washcloth, a measuring cup for pouring water, and a clean, dry towel. “Brush the cat thoroughly to remove any tangled or matted fur,” she says. “Just like for humans, a cat’s hair will become more tangled or matted when wet.”
“Fill a sink or bathtub with a few inches of tepid or lukewarm water,” she says. “Get the area that needs to be cleaned wet by either dipping the cat into the water, pouring water onto her with the measuring cup or using a washcloth to dampen her fur. Avoid getting water in the cat’s eyes, nose and ears. Use a wash cloth when cleaning the face area. Use a wash cloth or soft brush to apply cat-safe shampoo.”
Wrap her in a towel, and dry vigorously. “You can also back-comb her fur to help it aerate more quickly,” adds Shaw.
Cats are generally self-cleaning, but sometimes you might need to know how to wash a cat to help them out. Read on for tips on how to wash a cat.
Updated 17 August 2021
By Cleanipedia Team
Forget dogs, cats really are manвЂ™s best friend. Everyone loves having a cat around for affection and company, and most of the time cats are pretty low maintenance. No need to take them out for walks or amuse them all the time.
There may, however, be times when cat ownership requires a few extra chores. From time to time your cat might need washing. As this doesnвЂ™t happen very often, you may not know where to start or find yourself asking: Can you bathe a cat?В In this article we answer the key questions: when and how to give a cat a bath.
Washing your cat only when necessary and having some fast acting bathroom cleaner to hand to clean up any mess in the house when you are done!
Should you bathe cats?
Most of the time cats bathe themselves, or rather lick themselves clean. No need for human intervention. But sometimes they may require a bit of help. If your cat has got really muddy or dirty, maybe they fell in an unclean pond or perhaps got their paws stuck in some sticky condiment, then you need to help them get clean.
Top tip: Try to time the wash for when theyвЂ™re at their most placid and sleepy, perhaps after a big meal.
How to wash a cat
So now we come onto the important question of how to bathe a cat. There are a few key steps:
Where do you buy your dishwasher tablets?
Step 1: Dry brush the cat before putting it anywhere near water. This helps to remove any knots in their fur meaning you have to do less work while bathing.
Step 2: Then place them in a special bowl big enough to act as a cat bath and make sure they are calm. Try giving them a toy at this point or stroking their fur until they seem relaxed.
Step 3: Slowly add water making sure itвЂ™s the correct temperature and apply special cat-formulated shampoo.
Step 4: Rub the shampoo gently into their coat making sure not to get it in their eyes or ears. Try where possible to let the water run from the head down their body rather than the other way around.
How to bathe a cat that hates water
That all sounds pretty straightforward, but what happens if you are bathing a cat who is just not having it? ThereвЂ™s no point trying to bathe a cat who is angry or upset. YouвЂ™ll get nowhere and your pet will just become increasingly irritated and aggressive.
There are a few things you can do in these circumstances:
Take the process slowly вЂ“ rushing often stresses pets unnecessarily
Speak gently to your cat throughout
Stroke their fur continually
Try associating bath time with a favourite toy
How to clean your bathroom post-wash
So youвЂ™ve managed to placate your moggie and she is now lovely and clean. Your bathroom however might not be. Washing pets can be a pretty messy business, but never fear; if you have a few cleaning products to hand, you can sort it out in no time.
Cif Cream Cleaner is great for ceramics and enamel, making it ideal for bathroom tiles and sinks. We like the classic lemon variety to give your bathroom that freshly cleaned fragrance. As always read the directions on the label, test in a small area first and take any necessary safety precautions.
And there you have it! Now you should (hopefully) have one very clean cat, and one immaculate bathroom.
There are certainly dozens of other chores you’d rather tackle than giving your cat a bath—and without a doubt, your kitty doesn’t welcome the idea either! But when you need to provide the best care for your adorable fuzzball, we have helpful tips to make bath time easier.
Do Cats Really Need to Be Bathed?
The good news is, most cast breeds don’t require regular bathing says Tarina L. Anthony, DVM, a longtime practitioner of feline-exclusive medicine, and owner and medical director of Aurora Cat Hospital and Hotel in Aurora, Colorado. “Many people ask me when they get a new cat how often they should be bathing them,” she says. By nature, cats are fastidious creatures and able to keep themselves clean.”
A cat’s rough tongue is covered with tiny curved barbs called papillae that transfer saliva across her fur. This is like a mini spa treatment, as each lap spreads healthy natural oils across her coat and skin. Those little spines work as natural detanglers, too, which is why you’ll often see your kitty licking and biting at fur clumps until she smooths everything out.
Although a cat spends about 30 percent of her time on daily self-care—between naps, of course!—Anthony says it’s more important to keep your cat groomed than to worry about bathing them, as regular brushing and combing helps reveal health problems more quickly. “Many times, skin conditions are signs of underlying metabolic or gastrointestinal disease, so if your cat’s hair coat has changed, talk to your vet,” she says.
Routine salon time with your kitty also helps reduce loose hair and prevent hairballs. WebMD recommends using a metal comb to gently loosen matted areas, especially under her belly and along her legs. Follow with a rubber or bristle brush to remove dirt and loose hair all over her body. Groom short-haired cats about once a week, and long-haired beauties every day.
So How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?
Certain circumstances require you to give a cat or kitten a bath. Anthony advises bathing a cat if she’s gotten into something she shouldn’t ingest, such as motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, or paint. Basically, anything that gets on her fur that could be harmful needs to be washed off immediately.
Anthony also notes some felines develop skin conditions that are soothed with bathing, such as seborrhea, a disorder that causes flakey, red, and itchy skin. Your veterinarian might also recommend medicated baths for treating other health conditions, such as severe flea allergies or ringworm.
Older cats with arthritis or who are obese might need you to bathe them more frequently, as they’re not always able to groom well and often have trouble reaching certain spots and preventing odors. As much as cats hate water, they dislike being unkempt even more.
Many long-haired breeds, such as Maine coons, Persians, and Himalayans, benefit from a bath every couple of months or so to minimize fur matting. Some short-haired cats with dense coats might also need an occasional bath.
Hairless breeds, like the Sphynx, probably need more frequent bathing than furred felines, as they have an oily residue that gets on fabrics when they’re particularly grimy. If you don’t want to bathe your hairless cat weekly, Anthony suggests cat-specific grooming or baby wipes for regular upkeep.
Consult your veterinarian about your pet’s particular needs to establish the best routine.
Tiger has recently started using the bath tub for his litter box, instead of the litter box. i usually keep them clean, we have 2 other cats as well, and they both use the litter boxes, we have 3 boxes, can you tell me why he is doing this, and how i can get him to stop, and start using the litter box, again?
Related article:FLUTD – Urinary Tract Blockage in Cats.
Dr. Marie replied:
Sorry to hear that Tiger is having problems like this.
Whenever I hear of a case like this the first thing I recommend is to have his urine checked by your veterinarian. Often when a cat has irritation in the urinary tract it can cause them to urinate in unusual places. The bathtub is a really common place where cats urinate when they are uncomfortable.
The urine test will tell you if he has a condition such as crystals, bladder stones, interstitial cystits or an infection.
I wouldn’t advise that you wait too long because if this is a medical condition and he gets worse he could end up with a life threatening blockage.
If the tests are normal then you can talk to your vet about behavioral modifying medications such as amitryptiline.
Other things that often help are:
- Having one more litter box than the number of cats you have.
- Trying different types of litter.
- Offering both covered and uncovered boxes.
- Offering litter boxes in more than one room and at least one on each floor.
- Using Feliway which is a product that releases a pheromone into the air which greatly reduces cat stress.
I hope things are improving soon!
—This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.—
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While dogs are generally considered the diggers of the animal kingdom, most cat owners know that cats like to dig around a bit, too.
Whether it’s in their litter box, outside in your garden, or in your potted plants, cats like to dig! They also like the scratch!
The reasons behind this behavior are mostly evolutionary. Historically speaking, digging is very important for feline survival (except for when they do it in your potted plants… that’s just annoying).
So, we’re here to answer the question: why do cats dig?
In this article, we’ll cover the following;
- Cats and Digging- What You Need to Know
- Why Do Cats Dig?
- When Do Cats Dig?
- How to Stop Your Cat from Digging?
Cats and Digging – What You Need To Know
It’s important to remember that most feline behaviors are instinctual. That is, your cat really can’t help it!
While digging isn’t the most pleasant of kitty behaviors (it’s in the same category with marking and scratching), it is a primitive behavior that is deeply rooted in evolution.
Both kittens and adult cats will dig, and they’ll do it in a variety of places. Most cats will dig in their own litter box (and we’ll explain why later), and some cats enjoy digging outside, in plants inside your home, and even in their cat bed!
While digging can be problematic, especially if your cat is systematically killing all of your plants, the first step to curbing this instinct is understanding why your cat digs in the first place.
Why Do Cats Dig?
The most important reason why cats dig is that they are trying to hide their scent.
In the wild, leaving a scent trail is the prefect way to let a predator know where you are and where you’re headed! To avoid this, cats will often bury any “evidence” they leave behind, most commonly urine and feces.
If your cat is digging a hole in their litter, peeing in it, and then covering it up, they are trying to hide their scent. While it may seem a little silly to try and cover their tracks inside the safety of your home, your cat is reacting purely on an instinctual level.
While this can be annoying if they throw cat litter all over the place, you’re unlikely to be able to convince them to stop!
Cats will also hide their scent to disguise themselves when hunting. If a mouse can smell them from a mile away, your cat has no chance of catching one!
Cats will also dig to make themselves comfortable, like when they dig in their bed. Cats will sometime dig in their beds to create the perfect little indentation on which to sleep.
They’re definitely creatures of comfort!
Lastly, cats may dig because they are hunting (or at least pretending to hunt!) You’ve probably noticed that most cat play is actually feigned violence- they will “hunt” you, love bite, and run around like crazy. All of these behaviors are rooted in their deeply ingrained hunting instincts, and digging is no different!
If left to their own devices outside, cats are master hunters. They will dig around to find mice, snakes, and rabbits. Because their hunting instincts are so fine-tuned, they may mimic this behavior in your living room!
This cat is very enthusiastically hiding their scent:
When Do Cats Dig?
Cats generally dig right before and after they use the litter box, as well as at night. Because cats are nocturnal, they generally are most active at night when you’re asleep.
If you’ve ever woken up to find that your cat has dug up your houseplants overnight, you know what we mean!
Cats will dig in their beds when they feel especially safe and comfortable, while most other digging is either a sign that they are playing, hunting, or trying to hide their scent.
These cats found the perfect outlet for their digging instinct: the snow!
How to Stop Your Cat From Digging
We get it- digging can be an annoying behavior in cats. In many cases, it’s best to leave them alone. If your cat is sending litter flying all over the place when they dig in their litter box, your best bet is to simply put down a mat or spread newspaper on the floor around the litter box to make it easier to clean up.
Trying to punish your cat for instinctual behavior, especially regarding their toilet habits, is likely to be unsuccessful and will just confuse and distress your cat.
If your cat is digging in inappropriate places, such as digging around in your potted plants, there are a couple of things you can try:
- If you can them in the act, you can use a spray bottle filled with water, say “no!” and give them a quick spritz. Most cats don’t like water, so this is often a good deterrent.
- Cover the base of your plant with aluminum foil. While certain determined cats may try to dig anyway, most of them will be foiled by the foil (haha).
- Add some orange peels the potted plant. Cats don’t like the scent of citrus, so this may dissuade them.
- You can try sprinkling cayenne pepper at the base of your plants. Cats don’t like the smell of pepper!
- Spray your plants with orange oil or lemon oil– it won’t hurt your plants, and your cat will likely stay away!
These kittens aren’t digging yet…but that potted plant doesn’t seem safe!
Another cat behavoir question you may have is why cats put their ears back. Find out here!
Is your cat a dogged digger? Have you found ways to keep your cat from digging in places where they shouldn’t? We want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.
After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I’ve been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I’ve been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.