How Often Should You Bathe Your Cat?
Keeping your cat’s skin and coat healthy is important for your cat’s well being. For the most part, cats are great self-groomers and do not need much help. But there will come a time when your cat may need a bath.
Contrary to popular belief, it is alright to give your cat the occasional bath. In general, an average indoor cat can be bathed one or two times a year. Frequency depends on environment, coat length and type, self-grooming behaviour, activity level, and health.
While it is generally advised to keep bathing frequency to a minimum, the best way to determine how often to bathe your cat is to consider the following factors.
Environment: Cats that tend to roam around outdoors will need a bath more frequently than those that prefer to stay indoors. This is based on the fact that outdoor cats are more likely to soil themselves than indoor cats. Only bathe your cat when you notice that its starting to smell, or has gotten itself dirtied.
Coat length and type: Longer coats will require more maintenance than short coats. Long coats tend to get easily matted and tangled up. If this happens to your cat, try brushing out the knots first before going to the bath. Only bathe your cat if brushing does not untangle the knots.
Self-grooming behaviour: Cats that cannot or do not groom themselves efficiently need regular baths to keep their coat from becoming greasy or sticky. Overweight cats have difficulty reaching all areas of the body, so they will need to baths to keep their fur groomed – the rear end often becomes matted and the skin can become itchy, flaky or even infected. That being said, there are ways to clean your cat without bathing, such as dry shampoo and wipes.
Activity level: Cats that are highly active will require more frequent baths as they accumulate grease and dirt quicker.
Health issues: Issues such as skin irritation, tick or flea infestation and loose stools may require more frequent baths, as directed by your veterinarian.
Benefits Of Baths For Cats
Bathing a cat reduces shedding.
Baths help to wash away the dead hairs, reducing the amount of hairs dropped around the house.
Bathing a cat will make its coat shinier and healthier.
The occasional bath will help improve your cat’s coat. Make sure you use the right shampoo and conditioner for your cat’s fur. This will help reduce dandruff and leave the coat looking shiny and healthy.
Bathing a cat will help to get rid of fleas and other skin parasites.
When it comes to skin and coat problems, baths are sometimes necessary. If your cat has been infected by fleas, using a flea-control shampoo can get rid of the problem easily.
How To Bathe A Cat
While some cats don’t mind water, most are averse to the touch of water. So how can you bathe your cat without getting hurt by those talons?
For frisky cats that detest getting wet, it is best to trim their nails before bath time to prevent yourself from getting hurt. We also recommend playing with your cat just before the bath to get the energy out of it.
- Brush down your feline’s fur to remove loose hair and untangle knots
- Gently place a cotton ball in each ear to protect them from getting wet
- It is recommended to use a bath mat so that your cat will feel more secure
- Fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water
- Gently turn on the shower head to a low pressure and rinse your cat. If it seems to be extremely afraid of the shower head, try scooping up water from the bath tub instead
- Follow the bathing instructions of your cat’s shampoo, making sure to avoid the eyes, ears and head. You may use a damp washcloth to clean those areas after
- Thoroughly rinse off the shampoo. Do not rush this step as residue soap can cause skin irritation
- Use a large towel to dry off your cat. Blow dryers on the lowest heat setting may be used if it doesn’t frighten your cat
- Remember to reward your cat with praise and treats. This gives it something to look forward to after the bath