How to Clean and Keep Your Cat Healthy
Kittens learn to clean themselves by licking as early as when they are two weeks old and adult cats spend up to 50 percent of their active time cleaning themselves. However, you should still give your cat a bath because it helps stimulates the skin and removes excess oil, dander and shed hair. Cleaning your cat also offers a good opportunity to teach your cat that being handled even in unpredicted ways won’t hurt them. Cats will sometimes need to be touched by the vet, handled by vet techs, house sitters or guests. Making the bath a pleasant experience helps cats relate the event to future similar situations.
How Often to Bathe Your Cat
The good thing is to wash his short hairs no more than every six weeks that is, two to three times a year and during shedding season should adequate. Bathing too much can dry the skin. Kittens may accept baths most readily, as long as it’s at least four weeks old. Adult cats or extremely sick cats may be stressed by bathing so you should seek your veterinarian’s recommendation in such instances.
What You Will Need
For routine cleaning, you only need a few things, including:
- A simple bathing shampoo labelled specifically for cats. Human baby shampoo or dog shampoos can be too harsh and toxic on the cat’s skin.
- Several towels
- A rubber mat
- A washcloth
- A Ping pong ball, a toy or another floating distraction
- Warm Water
Preparing to Bathe Your Cat
Before getting your cat in water, brush its fur thoroughly. As for you, make sure you wear home clothes and expect to get wet.
The bath area should be warm and dirt free. A bathtub will do, but you may get more comfortable if you can bathe your cat in a high waist sink. Move all breakables out of the surroundings and push drapes or shower curtains out of the way. Avoid anything like strong scents, scary objects or mirrors that might easily frighten cats, so as to make the bath is as pleasant as possible.
Carry your shampoo, several towels and a washcloth near the sink or bathtub and run warm water before you bring in the cat. The cat bath temperature should be around body temperature and pretty warm.
Place a towel or rubber mat at the bottom of the bathtub or sink. Cats hate and are insecure of slippery surfaces and this will make it less stressful. You can try standing the cat on a plastic milk crate so your cat can grip it with its paws. This also allows you to wash the cat from both above and below without turning the cat over.
Close the door to the bathing area, or you might risk having a soapy cat escape.
For kittens, it is advisable to use the double sink in the kitchen, two or more large roasting pans or a couple of buckets or wastebaskets set in the bathtub. Fill each with some warm water, then gently lower your cat into the first container with one hand supporting its bottom and the other beneath its chest to get it wet. Most cats prefer this method more often than being sprayed.
Let your kitten stand on its hind legs and clutch the edge of the container as you thoroughly wet every part of the fur. Then, lift the cat out of the container onto one of your towels, apply the shampoo and use the washcloth to clean its face.
After lathering, dip the cat back into the first container to rinse. Get off as much soap as possible before removing and before rinsing in subsequent containers of clean water.
Adult Cat Dip or Spray Method
Cats can be hard to dunk and running water can also be scary to them. Instead, you can use a ladle to dip water. If you have a spray nozzle on the sink, be sure to use a low force, with the nozzle close to the fur so kitten doesn’t see the spraying.
Never spray in the cat’s face. Always use a wash rag to wet, soap and rinse that area. Hold the cat with one hand at all times because they might try to escape. You should begin rinsing at the neck, down the cat’s back and don’t neglect beneath the tail or tummy.
Wrap the clean cat in a towel to dry. Short-haired cats dry quickly, but long-haired cats may need an additional two or more towels to dry away most of the water. If your cat tolerates or enjoys the blow dryer, use only the lowest setting in order to avoid burns.
How to Prevent Problems with Your Cat During a Bath
Some cats tend to enjoy their bath and others will be anxious about bathing. Be patient with your cat and don’t scold your cat during the bath. If your cat really hates the bath, you can try plenty of praise, solicit some help or rinse off the soap and try again next time. If bathing your cat at home seems to be too problematic, try a professional groomer that is experienced with cats and you can bet for an effective cleaning by a professional.
- Cut your cat’s claws a day beforehand to prevent scratches. Don’t do it immediately before or the cat will associate the claws cutting with bathing.
- Try floating a ping pong ball or another fascinating cat toy in the water to entice the cat to try to remove it out. A cat that plays with the water will be less likely to fear it.
- Don’t dunk your cat’s face, splash or spray water on it. This is what gets upsets cats.
- Most professional groomers often use a figure-eight cat harness to tether the cat in place, which leaves your hands free to clean the cat.
- If you suspect your cat is sick, visit your vet immediately. For health related questions, always consult your veterinarian. They will have to examine your cat, be aware of the cat’s health history and make the best recommendations for your cat.