A stress-free guide to washing cats

Bath time doesn’t need to be as stressful as people say.

Cats spend approximately 50 percent of their waking hours cleaning themselves or their young. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to take note of your pet’s behaviour and for cats, noticing a shift in hygiene care is important. While it isn’t overly important to bathe your cat regularly there will be times when you need to.

A trigger when observing your cat’s health is how much time they spend grooming themselves. An unkempt cat is a key indicator of an unhealthy cat. If you notice your cat has stopped taking care of itself then it is time to book an appointment with your vet for a check-up.

Cats are a strong independent species, and as mentioned above they already spend sufficient time caring for themselves. However, your cat will need a bath if, after spending time outside, they have returned home muddy, sticky, or dirty.

Start young

Familiarising your cat with bath time will help them create a healthy relationship and attitude when it comes to bath time. The best way to overcome fuss early is by giving them short baths on occasions starting from a young age. This is especially important if you are wanting to get them into a routine of bathing them down the track.

Preparation is key

Just like starting any new recipes or structured process you will need to prepare well in advance.

Bathing is not a natural experience for cats and therefore it is important to keep them calm throughout the whole process. Be sure to pick a day and time where you are free for an extensive period. Your cat will struggle to stay calm if you are rushing and pressed for time.

The first step is to check if you have enough of each product you plan on using. The second step is to have all the products within arm’s length of the bath.

Bathing tips

Including bath time into a structured grooming routine will help your cat grow accustomed to the process. If possible, wash your cat in a location where they are familiar and comfortable. By picking an environment where they spend most of their time they will encourage them to feel safe and calm.

When you are bathing your cat check the temperature of the water. The water temperature should be warm while the water levels should be notably low. The crucial step is slowly introducing your cat to the water. The key is to the let them acclimatise at their own speed, you can do this by gradually lowering them into the water.

When washing your cat with shampoo take on a delicate approach. You will need to be extremely gentle with their ears, whiskers, nose, and eyes as they are extremely sensitive. Once you have massaged the shampoo into their fur be sure to rinse out the soapy lather thoroughly.

Just like we do, your cat will love drying off with a fluffy towel following bath time. It is extremely important that you provide a lot of positive reinforcement. Following the bath reward your cat with a treat and try not to disrupt them for a little while, give them time to reflect on this new experience.

If your cat does fight you during bath time just remember, science has proven that your cat likes you more than food.