How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?

October 4, 2021 10:33 pm Published by

Cats can be fussy creatures—at least, it seems that way given their constant grooming. Between that and their usual hate for water, you might assume that Mr. Kitty doesn’t need to be bathed as often as a dog would be. When should you bathe your cat, and how often?

Your cat actually does a great job of keeping themselves clean. For the most part, you don’t really need to give them a bath, unless they’ve rolled around in the dirt, had an encounter with a skunk or are otherwise grimy or smelly. While some experts differ in their cat bathing opinions, there are some general rules of thumb you can use to decide when it’s bath time.

When should I bathe my cat?

Here are some factors that can influence whether your cat needs a bath:

  • Where they live: If your cat primarily lives outdoors, they’ll need to be bathed more often than an indoor cat. Dirt, mud, other animals and plant life can all make for one messy creature.
  • Coat length and type: The longer your cat’s fur, the more often they’ll need to be bathed. However, even hairless cats need a bath once in a while.
  • Health issues: If your cat suffers from ticks, fleas or skin allergies, they may need more frequent baths. Talk to your veterinarian to get specific advice for your cat’s issues.
  • Activity level: Like humans, the more active your cat is, the more often they’ll need to be bathed.

The best way to tell if your cat needs a bath is to look at them—and smell them. As fastidious as they seem, they may develop unpleasant odors or track dirt around.

General cat bathing tips

It’s hard to spend five minutes on the internet without running into an angry wet cat meme. It’s true that many cats do not enjoy the water. However, you can follow these tips to make it as painless as possible—for both of you:

  • Play first: If your cat is feeling particularly energetic, bath time can be difficult. Try tiring them out first with a good play session.
  • Give them a good brush: Next, thoroughly brush your cat to remove as much shedding fur as possible.
  • Trim their claws: Don’t want to get scratched? Trim your cat’s claws before you start the bathwater.
  • Plug their ears: Next, plug your cat’s ears with cotton balls. This will prevent water from getting in and making their experience worse.
  • Avoid spraying them: Cats hate being sprayed with water. Instead, gently lower your cat into warm water, legs first. This will help them get used to the sensation. Do not completely submerge them.
  • Use a cat shampoo: Always use cat-specific shampoos—human products can burn or irritate their skin.
  • Rinse and dry: Once you’re done shampooing, thoroughly rinse their fur. Towel them dry, then use a blow dryer on low to warm them up and dry their fur completely.

Now that you know when and how you should bathe your cat, call the Kingstowne Cat Clinic for the rest of your cat care needs.

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