Monthly Archives: August 2011
I write this post coming from my many experiences giving cats a bath. As always, if you have any concerns, just consult with your vet! :3
For most people, the words “cat” and “bath” in the same sentence means the sentence has to also include “insane.” While most cats will never need a bath (usually a good, regular brushing is enough to keep a cat’s coat healthy), if your cats are indoor-outdoor and have a favorite hobby of rolling in the dirt, as mine do, a once or twice a year bath can help keep kitty clean and healthy! I just gave Clemmie a bath yesterday, as her fur was starting to feel a little bit grimy, and now she’s soft and beautiful as always! I thought I’d share some of my tips for making bathtime a little bit easier.
Some cats are just never going to be bathable. Their personalities make just make them too scared. If those kitties ever get really dirty, just bring them to an experienced, safe groomer to help them get clean.
First things first, you’re probably going to end up with one or two scratches, especially if it’s kitty’s first time in the tub. You can wear long sleeves to help avoid this, and hopefully these other tips will help keep kitty relaxed, but even with my cats being exceptionally good bathers, I still get one or two scratches in the process.
If it’s your first time, it might be helpful to have a buddy with you to help gently hold kitty while you gently scrub, and to hold the towel to wrap kitty up after when you pull her out of tub! I no longer need assistance, as I’m fairly experienced, but it can be very helpful!
It also might be helpful a few days in advance to just bring kitty into the bathroom and let him explore. Put him in the tub, let him walk around and sniff things. Being familiar with the surroundings could make things a lot easier.
You will need:
- Three big, warm towels
- Cat-safe shampoo and/or conditioner
- A plastic cup
- Possibly an assistant
ALWAYS be sure to use a cat-safe shampoo! Cats have natural oils on their skin, just like we do, and human soap or shampoo can strip those oils and damage kitty’s skin. It’s VERY important to buy a shampoo/conditioner (heehee, I have a kitty conditioner) that is EXPLICITLY made for cats. You can get them at any pet store.
Some people bathe kitty in the sink, but I prefer to use the bathtub. I find that you get more leverage that way, and things go a lot faster and are slightly less messy. So, here’s my process!
1. Get some warm, big towels ready. I usually pop a couple BIG towels in the dryer for about ten minutes pre-bathtime. Kitty is going to be really cold afterward, and the first thing you’ll want to do is wrap him in a giant towel to help get the initial wetness off.
2. Have kitty follow you/bring her to the bathroom and close the door. Talk soothingly to your cat, tell them what a great kitty they are, maybe have some treats ready. Keep talking to your cat this way through the whole thing. It reallys helps keep them calmer.
3. Run the bathwater–WARM, not HOT–to where it would just cover kitty’s feet. You DO NOT need a lot of water in the tub. The highest the water should go is to where your kitty’s legs bend–never higher. You should never fully submerge your cat! This is only going to be terrifying for most cats. Some cats (Pickles the Drummer, for instance) may enjoy a little more water (it’s true!), but most cats really, really won’t.
4. Add a little kitty shampoo while the water is running for a bubble bath. You just need a little bit of shampoo, and I usually add some to the bathwater to make a tiny bubble bath. This helps things go faster and smoother.
5. Turn off the water. Put kitty in feet-first. Don’t go too slowly, don’t go too quickly. Keep talking calmly and telling her what a good kitty she is. Let her stand in the water a moment before you start bathing to see that it’s not that big of a deal. This is in part why it’s important to use just a little water–Kitty will be a LOT more cooperative if she doesn’t feel like she’s going for a swim. I don’t do this, but some have recommended putting a towel in the bottom of the bathtub, so kitty can grip something with his claws.
6. Gently sweep the water up to kitty, from legs to back. Do not get kitty’s head wet. Just start bringing the soapy water up to your kitty and softly scrubbing the fur, starting at the legs and moving up to the body. This is where an assistant might come in especially handy the first time, to keep kitty in place while you scrub. If you need a tiny, tiny bit more soap, just pour a little bit on the middle of the back, and work your way down after you’ve wet the fur.
**There will be a LOT of crying, most of the time. Just keep talking soothingly! You’re NOT hurting your baby, they are just a little freaked out because they’ve never had the experience before (like some kids at their first haircut). You won’t traumatize them if you’ve taken every precaution to make it as much of a relaxing experience as possible!**
7. Start draining the water and run fresh, warm (not hot!!) water at a trickle. Just a trickle! Anything more is going to freak kitty out. Fill up your plastic cup, and then carefully start to rinse kitty down, starting at the back. Be sure to rinse thoroughly! If you have one of those snake showerheads, those are perfect for this–but remember, just a trickle of water!
8. After rinsing, wrap kitty in a big, warm, soft towel. I wrap my kitties all the way up and hold them to try and let the towel soak as much water as possible.
9. Use the second towel to carefully rub kitty’s wet fur all over. This is going to be a bit of a challenge, but you want to help dry kitty as much as possible.
10. Leave the third warm towel out, folded, as a sort of bed, and leave kitty in the bathroom for a bit. Kitty is wet, cold, and just wants to lick herself dry for awhile. Especially since I have other cats, I’ll just let my freshly bathed kitty alone in the bathroom with the door shut for 15-20 minutes to let them lick themselves dry and get their fur sorted out. You may feel bad or guilty doing this, but if you let your cat out, they are just going to be wet and cold somewhere in your home, and the other cats (if you have more) are just going to bother them. I will sometimes run a hot shower for a few minutes to get the room warm and steamy, then just leave them in there with the door shut a while to relax. Bring some treats in after a few minutes, if you like.
And that’s it! This is the process I use every time, and all three of my cats are cooperative and mostly calm during bathtime. Of course, they cry a little bit, but they forget about the whole ordeal as soon as they are dry, soft, and happy. I have found that bathing can do wonders for a messy outdoor kitty. Hope this helps!
Hey there, everyone! We have quite a few featured felines lined up, so get ready to make some new feline friends! This week we’re meeting Mini, a spastic Tabby who, according to his human, Shalini, loves “digging to China”! (My cats totally do this, too—do yours?)
Where/how/when did you got your cat? In RVT school, a class mate brought in her foster kittens to be looked at. This one particular tabby caught my eye, he was very sickly, and cuddly and slept in my cleavage all day! SOLD! I got him on my birthday that year, the same day my mom left to be out of the country. 6 months later, she came back and asked who’s cat this was :)
What’s the inspiration behind your cat’s name? Initially an ex named him Jack Nicholson, but I nicknamed him Mini and it stuck :)
How old is your cat? 3 glorious years!
What breed is your cat? Tabby with awesome markings, and spots on his tummy in the shape of a smiley face!
What are their habits, likes, dislikes? He literally is a spaz. My friends swear I give him drugs. He is hilarious, he tries to dig to China in the bottom of crystal bowls, likes to sleep looking like he got ran over, has pica so he chews on EVERYTHING… including our really expensive plantation shutters!
How about favorite toys, foods, places to sleep, hobbies? Plastic milk bottle caps, aluminum foil, my feet, his weird green catnip toy. Loves to sleep on my mom’s bed (even though she hates it), under the couch, on my butt. His favorite past time is terrorizing my older Siamese. They’ve lived together for 3 years and he still swears she wants to be friends. She SO doesn’t.
Want us to feature your cat(s)? We’re accepting submissions!
Watch the beautiful Mona perform Madonna’s “Like a Virgin!” Super cute and hilarious!
One fun, silly thing I’ll sometimes do is add the word “Cat” or “Cats” into a song. The results can be very funny! New Tumblr blog Kitties&BS does the same thing, only author Sofia Falcon draws funny cat comics with it for added hilarity! There are not many out yet, but I can’t wait for more! A little corny, but sooo amusing!
We’ll definitely feature more as they come out! Check out Sofia Falcon’s Flickr for some more of her artwork!
I love these silly sketches of food kitties!
I don’t know what it is, but food kitties never fail to delight me. Well, actually, it’s probably because I really like cats and I really like food.