There are very few cats who actually like taking a bath – or should we say being bathed – purely because cats were never really designed to get wet, or even to like getting wet – but if you start while they’re young most will grin and bear it.
If kitty has gotten herself into a real mess that she cannot possibly clean herself, you may find the need to get the shampoo out. Interestingly enough, many cats will hate water being poured over their heads and bodies, but will tolerate you using a showerhead to spray water on to their fur.
Anyone who has ever bathed a cat will probably have images of claw rakes down ones hands and arms (and anywhere else that kitty could latch on to in a desperate attempt to escape the bath), but if you are able to handle your cat firmly, with confidence and an assistant, the whole process can actually be a lot easier than initially imagined.
The most important thing is that you don’t want your cat having heart failure from slipping around in the bath while she tries to make an escape, so the first thing you need to do is place a small folded towel at the base of the bath or your sink. This makes a perfect non-slip surface.
Brush your cat to remove any tangles and make sure that you have a special cat shampoo on hand. If your cat will let you, place cotton wool balls in her ears to stop water from getting in, and remember to take them out afterwards.
The next thing to do is fill the bath or sink one quarter full with warm water. Be careful not to make it too hot or two cold.
Make sure you have a jug and a large drying towel close by.
When you’re ready, put kitty into the bath or sink and grab her by the scruff of her neck (like a mother cat would grab her kittens) – this will help keep her still – and try to support her hind legs.
Using a jug or a shower head, gently pour (or spray) water over your cat. Pour shampoo over the neck and back first, finishing with the face and head. Using a facecloth to wash the face and head is usually very effective. Be very careful not to get any shampoo into your cat’s eyes, ears or mouth as this will make it an unpleasant experience for both of you.
Work up a lather and then rinse quickly, but thoroughly, with fresh water, remembering that you may need to change the water a few times if your cat is standing in the water. If you have the patience, apply conditioner and rinse well again.
Take kitty out of the bath and wrap her in the towel, gently drying her fur. If she is not terrified of the hairdryer, you can use it on a low heat and finish off that way. As cats get cold easily, keep her in a warm room until she is dry, or if it is summer, let her sit outside in the sun.
And for the sake of kitty’s dignity, try not to laugh as she walks off flicking her back legs out looking extremely unimpressed. She will forgive you soon enough for subjecting her to every cat’s worst nightmare.
-Article posted by Phillipa Mitchell