Monday, July 4, 2011

How To Bath A Cat

Cats are normally very clean animals, and spend much of their time grooming themselves. Cats are very effective at keeping their fur and bodies clean, but sometimes cats can get into some less than desirable things, especially outdoor cats, and come home smelling just awful. You will certainly know whether or not your cat is going to need a bath, your nose will tell you for sure, but cats are not always cooperative when it comes to bathing. This is especially true if your cat has not been exposed to bathing from an early age. Cats who are bathed regularly from the time they are kittens learn that bathing does not represent a threat to their wellbeing and many cats do enjoy a nice bath. But, if your cat is not familiar with being bathed, it will be a stressful event for the cat, and probably you as well. The first step is to learn how to bathe a cat.

If you are wondering how in the world am I going to bathe my cat, you are not alone. Many people will not bathe their cats, and prefer to take them to a professional groomer. This is a good option, but it can also be expensive. Once you have done a little research on how to bathe a cat, you have taken the first step at getting your cat clean. One of the most important things is the before bath preparation. You will certainly have your hands full once the cat is in the water, so make sure you have all the necessary items readily available. Gather the shampoo, towels, brush etc...before the bath starts so you will not have to leave your cat unattended in the water. Never leave your cat unattended in the tub. Then, you must decide where you are going to bathe your cat. Consider the size of your cat, and if your cat is small enough to bathe in the sink, this might be your best bet. The kitchen sink is a great place because it has a built in spray nozzle which makes rinsing the cat much easier. But if your cat is too large to be put in the sink, you may need to put the cat in the tub. If you need to bathe your cat in the tub, make sure you put down a non-slip mat for your cat's safety.

Once you have done your research on how to bathe a cat, you will need to purchase the appropriate shampoo for your cat. First, consider your cat's needs. Does the cat have fleas? If so, you will need a flea shampoo, but if your cat does not have any fleas, do not use flea shampoo as it contains chemicals to kill the fleas and is not necessary unless there is a flea problem. You should buy a mild cat shampoo for bathing your cat. Do not use human shampoos as they are not meant for animals and can be too harsh and irritating to your cat's skin.

Once you have gathered all necessary bathing items, and decided where you are going to bathe your cat, the next step is locating your cat and start the bathing process. If you have never bathed your cat before or your cat is resistant to being bathed, you may need the assistance of another person for help. If you do have to bathe your cat in the tub, it will make your life much easier if you purchase a hand held shower nozzle that attaches to the shower head. This makes rinsing your cat less time consuming and makes it much easier to thoroughly rinse your cat, which is important. If you find that your cat just will not cooperate and will not stay in the tub, you can try this helpful trick that my vet suggested for me, and it really works. Find an old window screen, preferable still in the frame, and place it in the bottom of the tub. Then put your cat directly on the screen. They will naturally latch onto the screen and stay in place for you during the bath. Just make sure it is an old screen because the cat's claws will surely do damage to the screen. You may have thought bathing your cat would be easy, but with some cats it is anything but. Reading up on how to bathe a cat really pays off for both you and your cat as it makes a stressful event, a little less stressful.

Once you have your cat in the tub and you are ready to start the bathing process, make sure you test the water temperature before spraying it on your cat. The water should be warm, not hot, and not cold either. Warm water will feel good to the cat, while hot water can burn your pet, and cold water will not be enjoyable and make the bath experience awful for your cat. Start by rinsing your cat from the neck down to its tail with the warm water. If you do not have a hand held shower or if your cat does not like the hand held shower nozzle, you will have to resort to filling a large cup with water to rinse. As you can see, this requires more time and effort, so a hand held shower is optimal. But if the hand held shower makes your cat upset ore more nervous, it may be better not to use it and just use a cup to fill with water. Keep the water away from the cats eyes, nose and ears. I recommend using a wet face cloth to clean your cats face. If you find that your cats head smells too, apply some shampoo to the wet face cloth and gently rub onto its head, making sure you keep away from eyes, ears and nose. Then when you rinse, you must be careful to keep the water away from its eyes, ears and nose. Use a enough shampoo to create a good lather and use your hands to wash your cats body, belly, tail and legs. Once you have lathered all areas, then you can begin to rinse with warm water. Make sure you completely rinse the shampoo off your cat in all places, as insufficient rinsing can result in a rash or irritated skin and will make the cat itchy. Once you have rinsed your cat completely, you can then get the towel and wrap your cat in the towel while you pick up the cat to get it out of the tub. If you have used a window screen, your cat may still be latched onto it. Just carefully remove your cat's claws from the screen before picking the cat up. If you use a towel to pick your cat up out of the tub, you can begin towel drying right away. If you just let the cat run wild, you will have many wet floors, and the cat could get injured running wet on the floors, so I recommend you keep the bathroom door closed so the cat cannot just run away. Use a big water absorbant towel to dry your cat as much as possible and if desired, you can blow dry your cat's fur with a blow dryer. Not all cats will like the blow dryer so you might not be able to use it to dry your cat. But, some cats love it and it helps if you get them used to it at an early age. Just make sure you use a low heat setting with the blow dryer as air that is too hot can burn your cat. If you prefer not to blow dry, make sure your home is warm, and towel dry your cat as much as possible, as the cat will be wet and you do not want it to catch cold. You can also get the help of another person for blow drying to help hold the cat. Another set of hands can be very helpful to help keep the cat still while you blow dry or bathe your cat. Once the cat is fairly dry, you may need to give the cat a break before a good brushing. If the cat is stressed, let the cat go and be where it wants to be. Then, when the cat is ready, you can give it a good brushing to smooth and shine its coat and give your cat that well-groomed appearance.

Learning how to bathe a cat is certainly worth the time. But, you need to remember that some cats will simply not allow you to bathe them. It depends on the temparment of your cat, and not all cats will allow you to bathe them. If you try to bathe your cat and the cat simply will not allow it, do not pursue the issue. You may need to find a professional groomer if your cat really needs a bath and just will not cooperate. If your cat is very resistent to the bath, do not pursue it as your cat could panic and hurt itself or hurt you. In this case, find a good, qualified, professional groomer as they are trained to handle these kinds of situations. Just make sure you have chosen a groomer who is very familiar with cats. And, do a little research online, talk to friends and family to see if they have any recommendations, to make sure you are choosing a groomer with a good reputation.

Because cats do such a good job with grooming themselves, you should not have to bathe your cat unless they get into something that makes them smell. But, some people do prefer to bathe their cats on a regular basis and if you are this person, just remember that it is best to get your cat used to being bathed at a young age. It will just make the experience much easier for you, and also less stressful for your cat as they will learn that the bath will not hurt them, and will get easier with each bath. But, for the most part, cats do keep themselves very clean and do not require regular baths like dogs do. But, you should brush your cat on a regular basis to remove excess fur and reduce hairballs.

Now that you have taken the time to learn how to bathe a cat, you can give it a try. You will not know how your cat will respond until you try. Your cat will likely meow and cry during the bath, just use a calm tone and talk to your cat to reassure it that all is ok. Try not to get upset, and if you find it impossible to bathe your cat, do not continue. But, lots of cats are very cooperative with the bathing process and if you do your research on how to bathe a cat and then bathe your cat the right way, the end result is a clean smelling cat with a shiny coat and well-groomed appearance

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