How to Give Your Cat a Bath (And Live to Tell the Tale)

Kitty needs a bathCats typically don't require any help from you when it comes to “being clean”. They are meticulous clean freaks and spend a ridiculous amount of time preening and primping. Kittens discover at a very early age how to clean themselves – mainly because mom is constantly showing them how. owners rarely need to give their kitties a bath, however, there can be times you'll find it necessary.

You never know when your cat will get so dirty that they will need some extra help. Or, if your cat has skin allergies or fleas infestation, you might find it necessary to bathe your cat. Sick and older cats might find staying clean as well.

You'll likely discover that your cat resists taking a bath, but if you're prepared, you should be able to accomplish the task.

Get Your Supplies in Order

A smallish, private room is the best place to bathe a cat. A large wash tub in your laundry or a deep bathroom sink is ideal.

The objective is to get your cat in a cozy, safe location to help them feel at ease. If nothing else, you could use an “newborn” tub and set it inside your own bathtub. This might be a “pain in the back for you”, but could prove to be an excellent option for your cat.

Additionally, it is advisable to make sure you have everything you need readily available before starting. It will be practically impossible to get a towel or while you're dealing with a struggling feline.

Grab several old bath towels, a good non-irritating pet shampoo (or baby shampoo), and a large a cup or bowl for rinsing. You can use a turkey baster to reach beneath the chin, neck and between the legs. Additionally, it's a good idea to cut any mats in the fur away before you begin.

Ready the Bath

Assuming your collection of supplies, towels, shampoo, (band-aids? :)) is ready and handy, the next step is to prepare the bath.

Your cat is not going to like too hot or too cold water – lukewarm water is ideal. Consider the temperature you'd utilize when a baby. It should work the same when you wash your cat.

Next – you don't need a great deal of water when you bath your cat — just enough to rinse the kitty off. Also, it's wise to place a non-skid mat or folded soft towel in the bottom of the basin or tub before you start filling it. This keeps kitty from slipping around too much.

Ease your Pet into the Water

Now comes the challenging part. You must ease your cat right into the water. This sounds easier than it actually is. Some cats will resist a lot more than others – you are the best judge of your cat's temperament.

Start out by gently lowering your cat right into the water. Make this work by putting one hand underneath the kitty's belly and another hand firmly, but gently, on its back. Lower the back legs directly into the water. If your cat struggles too much, wrap a small towel around your cat to avoid getting scratches.

You might be surprised at your cat's reaction. Some cats will sit there calmly and allow you to do your work. Others will be terrified and will make every effort to escape. You'll get wet, but you hugging cat's body right next to your own while bathing so he/she feels safer.

Don't yell or move too quickly, because this can really freak your cat out.

Finally, the Bathing Part

After your cat is somewhat situated in the water, you can begin to bathe. Work rapidly, but gently – beginning at the head and working toward the tail.

Try to avoid getting water or shampoo in your kitty's ears or eyes. A very small amount of shampoo should suffice. Using too much, requires longer rinsing. If you are treating a infestation, simply follow the directions on the flea shampoo.

If you need to remove sticky stuff from the fur, you can use a little bit of vegetable oil. Don't use too much since it leaves an oily residue. Even so, it's harmless.

Clean as a Whistle

Now that kitty is clean, you'll want to make sure the stays clean as well. Out friends at have got you covered. Just take a look at their best cat litter scoops, and you'll make yourself – and your cat – happy.

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