To most people the idea of washing a cat is ludicrous. After all, most normal healthy cats keep themselves quite clean all by themselves. However, a number of situations can warrant kitty bath time. For example, if your cat gets into something disgusting, whether it’s oily, smelly, or sticky, you will want to clean it off, rather than let your cat throw it up all over your house. Bathing the cat also can help allergy problems. Interestingly, many people who are allergic to cats aren’t allergic to the fur, but cat saliva. If this is the case, just soaking the cat with water (i.e., without using soap) can be enough to reduce the allergic reaction. Of course, with the advent of warmer weather, you also may need to give your favorite feline a flea bath.
No matter what the reason, giving a cat a bath doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. The first thing to do is trim the cat’s toenails. (The reason for this should be obvious.) If your cat has long hair, next you should groom her. Contact with water will tighten any mats in the fur, so you should remove them before bath time. As a side note, if you have a new kitten, getting her used to being washed when she’s still a kitten is a very good idea.
When you are ready for the event, get all your gear in place. Place a rubber mat or towel at the bottom of the sink or tub, so your cat has a good clawing surface (that’s not your leg). Depending on your cat’s preference, you may want to have water already in the sink or tub as well (to reduce the potential trauma of the sound of running water). If you have one, a hand sprayer attachment makes it much easier to soak the cat. Also be sure to use shampoo specially designed for cats. Using other shampoos for dogs or humans can be dangerous because cats can absorb chemicals, which may be poisonous, through their skin.