Although your kitty may seem to have grooming well in hand, or tongue, there are times where you need to lend a bit of help to ensure full cat cleanliness. Here are some basics that can make a cat bath less traumatic for all involved.
1. Collect your supplies
Be sure that you have all the items you need sorted and ready in the area where you will complete the bath. Choose your sink or tub carefully, ensuring that you have enough room for your cat and your hands, then place a mat or other non-slip surface on the bottom of your chosen washtub. Run just an inch or two of comfortably warm water – not hot – into it. Assemble pet shampoo, a soft cloth and a fluffy towel within hand’s reach.
2. Start slow
Unless your cat is in immediate danger because of exposure to a toxic substance, take measured steps to bathe your furry friend. Spend a few minutes brushing your cat and speaking calmly and lovingly. If possible pick a time of day when you know puss is in a laid back mood. If your cat will tolerate it, place a small ball of cotton wool into each ear.
3. Into the tub
Continue to speak in soothing tones to your cat as you gently place them in the water. The inch or so of water should not irritate the kitty if you are just letting them stand in it. If your cat really dislikes having wet feet consider performing the cleaning process in the shower without any water in the tub at the onset. A handheld shower head or large cup or bottle to hold warm water is essential if starting with a dry tub.
4. Wet and soapy
Using a handheld sprayer or shower head at very low pressure, wet your cat on the back first. Using diluted cat shampoo, as just a bit will do, gently rub the suds through the fur, reaching underneath to get to the belly. Rinse off the back using either the sprayer or a container of warm water poured carefully over your pet’s fur.
5. Facial matters
Just like a human, having soap and water on the face will be a little trickier with your cat. Once the back is rinsed, wet the soft cloth with fresh warm water. Very delicately, rub your cat’s face, taking it slow around the eyes and ears.
6. Final rinse
If the top of the head and the chest need soaping to be completely clean, do it with a small amount of diluted cat shampoo, being scrupulous about keeping soap out of the ears, eyes and mouth. Cup the water gently in your hand to get any soap residue off the head. Then use the sprayer for the chest and belly.
7. Check for residual soap
Since cats groom themselves by licking, make sure that all soap has been removed by rubbing a wet, clean hand briefly on all areas of the coat. If you see some suds bubbling, rinse again.
8. To the towel
Once your cat has been lathered and completely rinsed, gather the dry towel around him or her and lift them out of the sink, tub or shower. Wrap the towel around them and keep kitty in a warm place until dry.
9. Praise and comfort
Be sure to stay with your cat during the drying process and speak in calm, encouraging tones. Do not rub the towel vigorously as this can cause knots and tangles in their fur – particularly with long haired cats. This would be a good time to treat kitty with a tasty morsel if they are up to it.
10. Comb out
If your cat has short hair, your job may be done when the towel comes unwrapped. If your pet has fluffy or long hair, use a wide toothed comb to untangle the fur once you unfurl the towel.
When bath time is over, make sure your cat’s sleeping area is also outfitted with a clean blanket or pad. At a minimum, shake out the bedding so that your cats wash lasts longer. And that’s that, a stress-free way to keep kitty clean!