Cats don't love water, so the task of giving them a bath is nothing short of a nightmare. It's a task that would require you to wear an armor to protect yourself from scratches and bites. In fact, getting them inside a tub in itself is very difficult in the first place. Cats do clean and groom themselves using their tongue, but that is far from sufficient. If you want a healthy pet, you have to pay attention to its hygiene; even if that means making yourself vulnerable to an angry feline.
I sometimes need to bathe my little pet Peppers when he is home from his endeavors to the far lands (the lane next to my house) all dusty and sticky ... and even smelly. Neither of us enjoy the bathing process, he hates water and I hate his claws. But, I have learned a few tricks to finish off the business without any major injury to my body. I would love to share some tips that I have learned the hard way.
How to Bathe Your Cat?
A cat can survive without a bath, but it becomes a necessity when it is covered with something sticky, disgusting, or something that you don't want him to ingest. Whatever the reason, you need to follow some simple tips.
Brush, Brush, Brush
It is always better to brush the cat's coat before bathing him. This helps in removing the tangles and knots, especially in long-haired cats. You can even try clipping off the claws to reduce painful scratches.
The best way to avoid getting yourself hurt is to get organized. Before you get your cat to the bath area, get the shampoo, soap, water, towels, etc. Make sure everything is in place. I find it better to bathe Peppers in the bathroom. I can at least close the door and save myself the trouble of running behind a cat covered with shampoo all over the house. If I am giving him a bath in the sink, I make sure I put a rubber mat in the sink. He finds it better to calm his nerves by digging his claws in the mat, instead of my FLESH!
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
The water should not be too hot or cold for the cat. It should be warm enough to give him a relaxing bath. Make sure the water is running when you bring your cat to the bathroom. Before you put the cat into the water, make sure you are wearing well-protected clothes.
Tip: Never wear clothes made from flimsy fabrics when giving your cat a bath. You can wear thick materials, like jeans and long sleeved t-shirts, to avoid being scratched.
1 Cat = 2 People
It is always better to call in extra help. I usually call my mom. You may be wondering why call for extra help? Kitty is so small and cuddly, you can manage her all by yourself. That's what I thought the first time. But, the small little kitty turns into a ferocious feline the minute you pour a drop of water on her. So, ideally, one person should help to restrain the cat, while the other bathes it. That, however, doesn't mean you cannot try the process―or pull it off―single-handedly. You need to grasp the cat at the base of the neck or the scruff firmly, and then try cleaning its body parts. If your cat ends up scratching or biting you, then you may need to reach for the first-aid box for yourself.
How to Bathe a Cat at Home
Finally, you have brought your cat near the sink. The water is ready, shampoo and conditioner are nearby, and the towel is hanging at the towel rack. You have managed to rope in someone to help restrain the cat. Now, comes the biggest challenge of them all: the bathing part.
You need to wet your cat from the head and gradually move down to the tail. I prefer to use a water pipe or hand shower to wet my cat, as it helps me save time and minimizes the chances of me getting scratched or bitten. Then apply the shampoo, again starting from the head. First lather, and then rinse with water thoroughly. Make sure you rinse your cat properly, as soap residue can cause skin irritation. You also need to take into consideration the likelihood of the cat ingest this residue when it licks itself. Also, fleas and ticks can be gotten rid of.
Wet Cat, Dry Cat
The next step is to dry a wet cat. You need to use a soft towel to gently squeeze out the excess water. Then wrap him up in a towel and dry him off. Wait till the cat is fully dry. If you are one of the lucky few people, whose cat does not run off or scratch you to pieces while you try to dry it off, you can even try to brush its coat.
You need to praise the feline; give it some treats to eat and favorite toy to play. My Peppers licks himself a hundred times before dozing off in a cozy corner. You too may allow your cat take a nap, but do not let it out of the house, or you will again end up with a smelly, sticky cat.
I know it's a very painful procedure for you and traumatizing for your cat. Ideally, you should begin bathing it at a young age to get it used to the process. Bathing is important as it keeps your cat healthy. You don't need to do it very often, but at least once in 15 days ... or when your cat is smelly. I do it when Peppers really smells bad and has a sticky fur.