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Tips From a Metairie, LA Vet On Bathing Your Cat

February 15, 2024

While Fido may enjoy rolling in muddy puddles, and probably wouldn’t mind skipping baths altogether, our feline friends are quite fastidious about their hygiene. This is actually one of the advantages of owning a cat. Your kitty may spend as much as a third of her waking time cleaning herself, but there are still a few things to keep in mind. Read on for some tips from a local Metairie, LA vet on how to give your cat a bath.

Should I Bathe My Cat?

Though bathing isn’t a necessity for cats, it’s still an option you might want to consider—especially if she gets something spilled on her fur. That said, you should always consult your Metairie, LA vet before bathing Fluffy. This is particularly important if your pet is elderly, a very young kitten, or has health issues.

Additionally, until your vet gives the green light, you shouldn’t bathe a cat that is recovering from surgery.

When Should You Wash Your Indoor Cat?

Indoor cats can usually stay pretty clean without the need for their humans to bathe them. However, if you do bathe Fluffy, you should only do so every 4 to 6 weeks. Otherwise, you could end up stripping the oils from her skin and coat. As a result, your furry friend may end up looking dry or even frizzy, which could also lead to irritated skin. Ask your Metairie, LA vet for more information. 

Do Cats Enjoy Being Bathed?

If we could poll our feline companions, the majority of them would probably pass on being bathed. Despite this, some breeds apparently did not get the memo. Two examples are the Bengal and Turkish Angora breeds, both of which enjoy water and even like to swim.

Do Baths Make My Cat Happy?

If you’re bathing Fluffy because you accidentally dropped some ketchup on her, or she had a nasty run-in with a skunk, then she will certainly be much more comfortable after a bath. Flea infested cats also feel relief after being bathed, but this falls under the medical care category. Generally speaking, cats do not particularly enjoy baths. (Actually, this is an understatement. Most cats absolutely despise being bathed.)

How Should I Bathe My Cat?

Bathing a kitty isn’t rocket science, but there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

First, it’s a good idea to brush your cat’s coat before a bath, to remove any dead fur or dander. 

Next, make sure everything is ready to go before you embark on the bathing process. We strongly recommend wearing thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. We also suggest having several towels on hand. It’s also probably a good idea to put down a mat in the tub or sink to prevent scratches.

One important thing to remember is that our feline pals have very sensitive skin. As such, water that may seem pleasantly hot to you might actually hurt your kitty. The water should also not be any deeper than your cat’s chest.

During this time, your pet may express her opinions about the situation. Talking to her gently and petting her can help calm her down and reassure her.

Another crucial thing to note is that products made for dogs or humans are too strong for cats. Instead, you should wash your feline friend gently with a shampoo that’s formulated specifically for cats. As you lather her, be particularly careful not to get suds on her head. You can use a washcloth to wipe her face and ears, if necessary.

Rinse your pet gently using a sprayer or teapot. Do not use high pressure or heat. Repeat the process once more using a smaller amount of shampoo.

What’s The Best Way To Dry My Cat After A Bath?

Once Fluffy’s bath is over, wrap her in a dry towel. Do not rub her vigorously, but gently press the towel into her fur. This will help absorb most of the water from her coat. If your kitty has had enough, though, just let her go. You can blow dry her if she doesn’t mind. Just be sure to use a gentle, low heat setting.

Once bath time is officially done, your cat will most likely retreat to one of her favorite warm, cozy spots and start grooming herself in order to get her fur back in place. Her indignation at being subjected to (gasp) being bathed may also be expressed in the occasional dirty look cast in your direction. To win back her affection, try giving her a new toy, a tasty treat, or perhaps a little catnip.

Is There A Preferred Time To Bathe My Cat?

The time of day that works best for bathing your cat will ultimately depend on your schedule. We do recommend waiting until it’s fairly warm outside. Fluffy shouldn’t be too chilly while drying off.

My Cat Cries When I Bathe Her. Should I Be Worried?

One reason cats are naturally nervous around water is that they aren’t good swimmers. Fluffy could be over her head in just a foot of water, and even a gentle current could potentially sweep her away. Getting wet may also seem unsafe to your pet. In the wild, bodies of water often hide predators. Additionally, when a cat’s fur gets wet, it emits a distinct scent that might attract predators. In other words, Fluffy’s fear of water could simply be instinctual.

Why Do Cats Get So Cuddly After A Bath?

Despite the fact that there’s still a lot we don’t know about our feline friends, we have a few good guesses. Scent glands help cats ‘mark’ their territories. When you wash your kitty, you strip her of her natural oils. In order to ensure you are properly anointed, and therefore ‘claimed’ as hers, your pet may want to rub all over you. Or your furry little diva may simply be letting you know she’s glad it’s over.

Can I Take My Cat To A Groomer?

If your kitty has particularly thick or long fur, you may need to take her to the salon. Likewise, if your cat is a senior, having her professionally groomed might be a better option for both of you. 

When Should I Give My Cat A Flea Bath?

Before using any type of flea shampoo, especially one purchased from a regular retailer, you consult your Metairie, LA veterinarian. Unfortunately, some of these products contain hazardous ingredients that could be unsafe and harmful to your cat’s health. In addition, doubling up on other types of parasite control by adding a flea bath could expose your cat to unnecessary amounts of chemicals. It’s better to err on the side of caution with these things. Less is often more.

Even though cats are normally very clean, you can bathe your feline friend if you wish. Just make sure that you are doing so safely and always check with your Metairie, LA vet before doing any at-home grooming.

Have questions about your cat’s health or care? Feel free to contact us, your Metairie, LA animal clinic, today!