Cats and water don’t usually mix, so giving a cat a bath can be incredibly stressful for them. Unless your cat is one of the few that actually likes water or is at least used to it from being bathed since an early age, the likelihood is your cat will resist it at all costs.
Generally speaking, cats don’t need baths, but there are circumstances in which giving your cat a bath might be entirely necessary. If they’ve rolled in something unpleasant, for example, or their coat has become matted, then this would be a good time to bath them. Before opting for a full bath though, try to remove as much as possible with grooming tools and splashes (or sprays) of water. This will make it a more enjoyable experience for you both!
When bathing a cat is recommended:
- If they are a Sphynx or other hairless breed then they will need bathing once a week to remove the oils from their skin. If they’re not bathed regularly they can develop cat acne and will feel greasy to the touch.
- If your cat has fleas, then baths can help with severe infestations or symptoms relating to flea allergies. If your cat is too young for flea products, then bathing is one of the only ways to effectively remove fleas and their eggs.
- If your cat has ringworm – a nasty fungal infection that needs medicated baths to eradicate.
- If your cat has rolled in something sticky or smelly, or even something toxic.
- If your cat is very old, and maybe arthritic, then they may struggle to groom themselves properly. They will probably appreciate the warm water too.
Tips for bathing:
- Use your sink instead of the bathtub to give you more control over your cat.
- Avoid using a shower head, unless the flow rate is very gentle.
- Use a hypoallergenic shampoo specially designed for pets.
- Make sure the water is the right temperature and not too deep.
- Ensure that you dry your cat thoroughly afterwards so they don’t catch a chill.
- Give your cat a treat to teach them that having a bath leads to a positive experience.
Alternatives to bathing:
- If you can get away with not bathing your cat, take the opportunity! Your cat will definitely thank you for it. Instead, use a specially formulated dry shampoo or cleaning wipes, and use a selection of grooming tools to help detangle, smooth and clean the coat.
If you have any advice on bathing a cat, including alternative suggestions, feel free to share them by commenting below!
Written by: Hannah Dyball