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Giving a Cat a Bath

July 20, 2011

When I give my house-cats, Josie and Fuzzybutt, their bath, I love each one up really good first. Then I pick her up and get into the shower with her. I have the water just right for her and have the two separate large plastic cups from a Quickstop with diluted shampoo and conditioner ready on the floor. Pouring this mixture slowly over the animal helps you evenly distribute it through the hair and not get it all in one spot. It also helps it get rinsed out better.

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I get to her level and use the hose and sprayer at the softest level and wet her down and soap her up. I turn the water off when I don't need it, and this keeps her from being traumatized. She may act like she hates it, but she really likes it!

Dogs and cats that only get bathed occasionally need skin conditioning just like we do. Their skin can get dry and flaky and cause scratching. Have your towels over the wall or shower rod and wrap your kitty up to calm and soothe them. Absorb as much water as possible before releasing your cat in the closed bathroom. Keep the kitty confined till nearly dry. Change towels several times to dry.

Source: I learned to use my shampoo and conditioner from working at my friend's grooming salon.

By carlajo from TX

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My cat, Teddy, is impossible to bathe. Although normally cats do not require a bath, he sometimes seems to get dirty using his litter box and then smells, albeit rarely this happens.

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Catherine Forman
April 16, 2006

You may feel like giving your cat a bath is akin to taking your life in your own hands' but it doesn't have to be a traumatic experience. Really!

orange tabby in the sink

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Could someone please advise me how to clean my cat? I adopted Beffie some time ago from a shelter. The hair on his back is very dirty and hard, but there is no way I will be able to bath him, as he HATES being held. Could I dust him with baby powder/Maizena and then brush him?

Thank you!

Kind regards,

Carol from Republic of South Africa

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By Teresa (Guest Post)
August 1, 20070 found this helpful
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One thing I found that worked for me back when I had a cat was to get an old window screen and place in the bottom of the tub/sink. This gives the cat something to dig his/her claws into while bathing them. Good Luck, Hope this helps

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August 1, 20070 found this helpful
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A cat can be bathed, but very, very carefully. I would suggest (even if it's hot weather) to dress in heavy clothing and gloves. Have the tub full of nice warm water BEFORE putting the cat in. And you have to hold him/her down firmly. Once they realize they can't get away, they quit fighting.

They will glower at you for a little while afterwards, but you will have a clean cat, and they'll forget it over a little time.

The gloves and heavy clothing is for your protection. I once gave a cat a bath and she got one of her hind claws on the inside of my elbow and dug a hole in it. Talk about being painful - it was! I don't know that I especially had to, but I did go and get a tetanus shot.

Needless to say, I rarely give a cat a bath. I have heard though that if you give them baths starting when they are kittens, they don't fight it quite so hard.

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March 7, 2006

I just wondered what people's opinions were on giving cats baths. My cat, Destiny, is an inside short-hair and when I first got her, I gave her some baths, which she hated, of course. As she got older, I had such a hard time giving her baths because I couldn't hold her in the tub and she'd claw me to death, and ultimately, I decided not to give her any more.



She never goes outside, so she doesn't get dirty and I know they keep themselves clean. Anyway, my mom has been having some problems lately and kind of decided it's the cat giving her trouble. I definitely don't want to give up my kitty, I love her too much, but my mom thought perhaps giving her a bath every 1-2 weeks might help with her problems somewhat.

I gave her a bath tonight and had a little more control holding her in the tub and we did get it done (as much as possible), but she really hates her bath - does anyone have any advice or opinions about this? Or an easy fast way of doing it?

Thank you so much!

Stacey from Orem, UT

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By neko (Guest Post)
March 7, 20060 found this helpful
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I have a shorthair and a long hair, both indoor.
it seems a bit odd ( especially to those who know you are doing it lol) but alot of cats like going in the shower better. apparently they like the flow of water better, its like a massage! and get less scared when they are held to you in a safe position ( i use her front to my front, and she places her paws on my chest, one hand under her tail, one around her upper back- ( my shorthair LOVES it!) i just make sure the water isnt too hot, just comfortably warm and the stream isnt too strong, pick up kitty and get in the shower with her!

Make sure you have her cuddled to you when you are doing it, the only time my cat struggles or gets scared is when i'm shampooing her because its hard to cuddle her close while doing it. -and only EVER use shampoo specially formulated for cats, human skin has a different ph to cats and shampoo for humans may burn your cats skin.

You also might need to take it slow to get your cat used to it, because she may freak out a bit at first- take her in there with the shower off, hold her for only a little time to start off with, and go from there. let her know if she panics, she can leave. my cat is extremely trusting of me ( she hasnt scratched me in her life, but she'll atack anything else that moves haha), so she has never spazzed out on me in the shower :P

She puts her ears back so she doesnt get water in them and points her face up into the stream. Its very cute!

I towel dry her and put her in front of the heater to dry off.
also, you can reduce the amount of hair coming out ( and sticking to you!) by brushing her before you get in the shower, also brushing her and wiping her with a wet cloth daily/ every two days (however often you need to) will help to reduce loose hair and dust irritating your mothers allergies (i assume its allergies)

hope this helps!

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March 8, 20060 found this helpful
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Yes my cat loved her showers. She also liked her
baths the key being to start young. Make it fun for
the cat. you might want to start with the bucket method.
1)cat shampoo and water bucket
2)clear lukewarm rinse bucket
3)clear lukewarm final rinse
towels LOTS
dip cat in each bucket so they can stand with cat deathgrip claws hanging on bucket rim not your skin
be gentle but FIRM
have a good grip
most important tip
keep door closed otherwise you will have a soaking
wet mad CAT running for its life through your house
and it will find your best bedding, couch to find
shelter (I learned this the hard way)
good luck

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June 17, 2012

It is hard to bathe my cat, so now what?

By jjaross

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June 19, 20120 found this helpful

Have someone help you and both be personally calm and verbally soothing and don't be overly forceful. After the bath wrap your fur baby in a towel and hold him/her close to you while giving praises for being a good sport and then just leave him/her alone while they preen themselves and dry off. After about an hour give him/her more loving praises and a treat. The more you give a cat a bath in this way the less stressed they'll be at bath times in the future.

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June 19, 20130 found this helpful

I've found that unless the cat is really dirty, wiping them down with a warm wet washcloth will take care of dirt on their fur. (if they're short haired) It will remove the worst of the dirt, and encourage him to groom himself. If he's long haired, recruit a brave friend to help you. Hold him firmly by the scruff of the neck, and use warm water, like you'd put in a bath for yourself.

Work quickly, and make sure you rinse him completely. To dry him, wrap him in towels, covering his head. Hug the towel-wrapped cat for a few minutes, then let him to to groom himself and sulk. Clean up the bathing area, change your wet clothes, and offer him some of his favorite foods to apologize.

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