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We Answer 5 Questions About Bathing Your Cat

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Once in a while, you may find it necessary to bathe your cat. Perhaps she got into a tussle with a skunk. Or, if she has ringworm or fleas, your veterinarian may prescribe a medicated bath. You may have questions about how to bathe your cat.

Here are 5 answers to the most common questions about bathing your cat.

Q: Can I use regular shampoo on my cat?

A: No, you can't use Head and Shoulders on your kitty. Human shampoo is too harsh and drying for a cat's delicate fur. Instead, use a shampoo that is specially formulated for cats. Look for a shampoo that is labelled as hypoallergenic and unscented. Here's a list of the best cat shampoos.

Q: What supplies will I need for a cat bath?

A: You'll need to assemble the following supplies to give your cat a bath...

  1. Rubber gloves (thick ones)
  2. Cat shampoo
  3. Cotton balls to stop her ears and prevent water from entering them
  4. A small, soft washcloth for her face
  5. A large, soft towel
  6. A helper to hold the cat while you wash her
  7. A blowdryer (optional, only if your cat tolerates the noise)

Q: How often should I give my cat a bath?

A: If you have a hairless cat breed like a Sphynx, she will need weekly baths. Other high-maintenance breeds, like Siamese cats, will need a bath every 3-4 weeks. 

If your cat is a regular Joe, he won't need regular baths. If he stumbles into something toxic, sticky, or just too dirty for him to clean with his tongue, you'll need to give him a bath. (For example, he might get into a skunk fight or accidentally step in motor oil!) Or, as we mentioned previously, the vet may order a bath for certain medical conditions.

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Q: How much water should I use for a cat bath?

A: You might think that more water equals a faster bath, but expert cat parents disagree. One cat mommy explains why, "What will ensue will be a scene straight out of some Animal Planet alligator wrestling show where the two of you will both be fighting for your lives while you attempt, in vain, to keep his sharp teeth away from you."

Instead, you should use no more than 3 inches of lukewarm water. You can also use a pitcher to pour water over your cat. 

Note: Under no circumstances should you attempt to bathe your cat in the shower. It is too frightening for cats.

Q: Is there any way to make cat baths easier?

A: If your cat is struggling with bathing, there are some simple things you can do to make the process easier.

  • Gently brush any tangles out of her fur before bathing.
  • Clip her nails before a bath.
  • Close the door(s) so she can't escape.
  • Choose a time when she is relaxed and doesn't have too much energy left.
  • Use a flower essence blend to reduce your cat's anxiety. 
  • After bathing, reward your cat with praise, cuddles, and lots of treats.

Let's Chat:

Have you ever bathed your cat? What tips do you have for other cat owners? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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