Cats love to groom themselves. They will take care of themselves and will remain perfectly shiny and clean and will seldom look like they need a shower. However, there are always times when they will come across something dirty or sticky. If not given a shower, this will create further issues. Even though cats do like to take care of themselves, you will find that giving your kitten a bath is quite a task
If you want your kitten to take a shower without complain, you will have to be gentle and careful. Remember, kittens are much like kids, and they have claws. So, here are a few guidelines as to how to achieve this extremely difficult task.
Preparing your cat for the bath
This is the first step. Making your cat not be fearful of bath time is critical. Here’s what you can do about it:
- First you will have to clip the claws of your cat. This is to prevent any scratch at the time of bathing. However, do this a day or couple of days back so that you cat calms down. Also, make sure that the claws are nipped such that it does not cause any pain or bleeding. Give some treat for getting the nails trimmed.
- Brush your cat to get the fur untangled. This is very important as it is very difficult to untangle the fur once wet. Cats also love to be brushed in general. So, this is an effective way to calm down your cat.
- Getting your excited cat bath is quite a task. You will have to make sure that the cat is tired and a not overly excited. Play with your kitty to tire out. Or, select a time when he is most calm during the day. Using bath time toys is also a great idea. You may put the toy in the tub and slowly keep adding water as you play. This will make your cat accustomed to the water. Giving a special toy just while taking bath might also help as he will look forward to bathing in future.
- Only use shampoo meant for cat. No other shampoo, not even dog shampoo, will do and can be toxic. Dilute the shampoo if necessary. You may use washcloth for applying shampoo.
Prepare the bathroom
Laying down the ideal area of action is essential if you are bathing your cat for the first time and do not change the setting in future. Cats feel secure at familiar place.
- Secure the bathtub. Keep some mats at the bottom to give you cat secured footing. Also keep a rack in the tub as support for your cat. Keep your bathroom floor covered in towels as water will be spilled. Keep a few towels handy to dry your kitty when needed.
- Fill the tub till about 7 to 9 inches with mild warm water. At no point of time during the bath run water from tap as this might frighten your cat. User water tub kept separately besides the bathtub for excess water if needed. Do not use shower head directly to pour water on your cat.
- Secure the bathroom while bathing. Keep the door closed to prevent your kitty from running out. If you have more than one cat, make sure all other cats are outside while one is bathing. The other cats might create panic in the cat being bathed. Also, close your toilet lid and keep the waste-bin away so that your cat does not make a mess of everything.
- As safety precaution, wear full-sleeved clothes and gloves. It will prevent you from getting scratched.
Bathing your cat
All the preparation leads up to this. Bathing your kitty is the most critical activity and should be done with care.
- Calm your cat down by talking to him in a soothing and soft tone. Some cats prefer to keep the front paws out. In that case make the kitty stand with his back towards you. Hold by the scruff to ensure that he does not jump out. If needed, ask another person for help. Using cat restraint should be the last choice but can be done, provided your cat is not hurt. Ensure that your cat can breathe properly at all time. If your cat is too scared or struggling try completing the bath as fast as possible, but do not rush.
- Do not fight with your cat at any point of time. A scared cat can do a lot of damage, even to two people. Remember, you cat can understand if you are too excited or nervous and will react likewise. If it becomes too difficult, you might have to try bathing your cat completely another time. Let him get used to it slowly.
- Soak your cat neck and go towards the tail. This is the direction in which the fur grows and it will feel soothing to the cat, much like massaging. Try not to stress your cat too much. Wash like you are petting your cat. Do not make this seem anything unusual.
- Make sure that the shampoo does not enter eyes, ears or mouth of your cat. Plug the ears using cotton balls so that the water does not enter. Also, it will reduce noise from entering. While giving a flea bath start by wetting the neck. Wet neck will prevent the fleas from moving towards the head during the bath and help you rinse off using shampoo.
- There should not any trace of shampoo left on your cat. Rinse until the coat is free from all traces of shampoo or lather bubble. Diluted shampoo prevents excess use.
- The head and face can be cleaned using washcloth. If you had lot of trouble while bathing or the process was unsuccessful, leave the face and head cleaning for a later date.
- Always keep an eye out for signs of panic and distress while bathing your cat. You do not want to upset your kitty too much and create trust issues. If you cat is overstressed the first time you will have a very difficult time taking him for bath next time.
- If your cat is not at all comfortable with getting into water you can use washcloth instead. There are medicated washcloths available for cats as well. Some come with pleasant smell.
Drying your cat after bath
This should be done with care. Check out the steps closely.
- Use towel to dry your kitty. Use a towel until it is completely wet and then move on the next. Repeat until only the towel is wet. Warm the towel if needed so that your cat feels comfortable. Use a massage motion to dry your cat. However, if your cat protests against using a towel, do not force.
- Dry your cat using a hair dryer. Use the warm mode only. Do not make it too hot. Cats with small hairs might dry themselves. The ones with longer furs will need more taking care of. Comb the fur until it is completely dry.
- In the end you must never forget to give your cat some special reward such as his most favorite food or catnips or something special. You might even consider keeping a special treat essentially for post-shower. This will make sure your cat takes shower more willingly the next time.
Using alternate means for bathing your cat
If you cannot bathe your cat in a tub there are other means as well. Choose the one which will be most suitable.
- Using a bucket full of water is a good idea. You can use this for cats that stay outdoors. Use two buckets filled with lukewarm water. Dip your cat till neck in the first bucket. Then apply shampoo. Use the second bucket to rinse off the shampoo. You will need help with this process as the cat is certainly going to protect and try to escape.
- Use showerhead to gently wash your cat. Use mild pressure and warm water. Some cats love getting shower and this is great approach. However, some will get frightened by the sound of running water. Keeping the handheld shower close to the cat’s fur dampens the sound. Keep the space curtained and door closed to prevent your cat from escaping. Do not use this if he is too frightened as this might result in injury to the cat and yourself.
- Use a small sink or tub and wash your cat under a tap. Make sure the water is not cold. This is a good idea if your cat is too frightened as small space will help keeping him in control. Place a terrycloth towel in the sink or tub so that the cat can find firm grip and is less frightened. Calm him using your voice.
- For oily fur you can use cornstarch. Apply cornstarch instead of water and gently massage it within the fur. Leave it for about 20 minutes and then brush off the starch. However, if your cat has any poisonous substance on the fur this method is completely ineffective.
Keep in mind that your cat needs to trust you and you need to keep that trust. Even though he needs shower, do not force too much and try to be as gentle as possible. Cats fear getting into water. Keep that in mind and try to be supportive. Do not forget the treat at the end of any shower.