Well, although cats don't enjoy paddling in the swimming pool with their doggie pals, they still can get just as dirty or flea infested as dogs. There are times when there is just no other option besides giving your cat a bath.
As long as you do not bathe your cat more frequently than once a month, you will not damage his hair or skin.
Before you begin bathing your cat, you will need to gather a few supplies.
At the minimum, you will need two absorbent terry cloth towels, a pet safe shampoo, a pet safe conditioner, a sponge, and a sprayer attachment for your sink or tub.
If you don't have a sprayer attachment, you should have a pitcher or large cup that you can use to scoop clean water over your cat's body. Ideally, you should also have a non-skid mat to help your cat feel more secure.
If you decide to bathe your cat in the tub, you may have a harder time holding on to him if he becomes frightened. However, it is usually easier to keep him contained if he escapes in your bathroom rather than in the kitchen.
Place your non-skid mat in the bottom of the sink or tub. Add two to three inches of warm water and gently place your cat in the tub. Talk to him quietly and reassure him and he will most likely settle down within a few seconds.
Once he is calm, begin to wet him down. If the sprayer attachment scares him too badly, you may have to pour water over him using your pitcher or cup, instead. Do not pour water on his head - you will clean his face later.
Once your cat is wet, squeeze out a palm sized dollop of shampoo and thoroughly massage the shampoo into his coat.
If you use slow, calming motions, he may even actually relax and enjoy this part of the bath.
After the shampoo is sufficiently lathered, it is time to rinse your cat off.
Be sure you get all of the shampoo residue out, as the residue can really irritate his skin if it isn't removed.
Now, work a palm sized dollop of conditioner into your cat's coat and then rinse it out.
This step is actually optional if the cat has short hair. However, conditioner will not hurt a short haired cat, so, if he is not too upset, you may still want to use it.
Once your cat's body is clean, dampen your sponge and use it to carefully wipe down his face. Pay close attention to the area under his eyes.
Finally, wrap your cat in one of the towels and blot most of the water from his body.
Replace the wet towel with your other dry towel and continue to blot his coat dry.
After the second towel is damp, your cat should be dry enough to finish the job himself. If you have a long haired cat, you may want to see if he will tolerate a hair dryer on the lowest setting.
However, be sure to keep the dryer moving constantly so you do not burn his skin.
To read more about owning cats and kittens, click here to return to the Cat Ownership Tips home page.