How to bathe a cat
Before discussing how to bathe a cat without getting scratched, you should know that the cats are meticulous groomers, you’ll find times when they really require a bath. Some times they become sometimes very sticky or dirty. Other times they have a medical problem which requires regular washing with medicated shampoo.
Despite this, most cats can react adversely to getting a bath, which is stressful for both your cat and you. Luckily, there are a few tips, steps and rules which you can do to make bath time less stressful for both you and your kitty.
Steps for how to bathe a cat
1.Getting Your Cat Ready for a Bath
The first step for how to bathe a cat is trimming your cat’s claw before bathing:
1.Start by Gently Touching Her Feet
First get your cat really relaxed by cuddling or stroking her in the way you know to be her favorite (if you haven’t figured this out, it’s the way you touch her that makes her purr the most or offer you that part of her body she likes you to touch).
Then touch her feet, very gently pressing down on each of her toes, which extends the claws—just for a second on each toe, and just long enough to get the claw to peek out. Do this every day for a week.
2.Study Her Claws
- After a week, your cat should be relaxed when you play with her feet. Now you’re going to start exposing her claws and leaving them out for a moment.
- The best way to get that claw to extend all the way out is not so much by squeezing the toe but by placing a finger underneath her paw, on the pad just beneath the claw, and pressing up.
- The claw will come right out. The claw will be transparent or whitish with a very hooked curve on the tip. That curved white bit at the very end is all that you are going to be cutting.
- You’ll see a pink center with a vein in it, which is called the quick. Be sure to avoid cutting the quick when clipping nails because it will hurt the cat and bleed quite a bit.
- Some cats have black nails that you cannot see through, so be sure that you clip just the curve of the tip to blunt the nail and avoid the quick.
3.Touch the Nail Clipper on the Cat’s Toes
Once your cat is comfortable with having her claws exposed briefly, touch her toes with the clipper, but don’t cut anything yet. Just get her used to the feel of the clippers on her feet. Do this for 2 or 3 days.
4.Cutting Your First Nail
Don’t be nervous. There’s no reason to be worried about hurting your cat because you are only cutting off the dead nail—you aren’t going anywhere near that scary quick.
You won’t risk hurting (and thereby scaring) your cat if you avoid cutting close to the quick and you’re only snipping off the very little curved bit at the tip. Begin by cutting a nail or two at a time so you can feel at ease and not strain your cat’s tolerance level.
A few hours later, clip another nail or two and give it a rest again. Do only a few nails at a time, going slowly and getting both of you accustomed. Think of nail cutting as blunting the tip, just snipping off a teeny bit.
Your goal is that when the cat steps down on her foot, the new flat tip that you cut will be flat on the ground.
5. If You Do Hit the Quick
Don’t be alarmed if you take off a little too much. The nail does bleed quite a bit if you hit the vein. There are three ways to stop the bleeding:
- use a styptic pencil (sold for men who cut themselves shaving) that you dab onto the nail, have a box of cornstarch nearby so you can put a little in the palm of your hand and dip the bleeding nail into it or use a soft bar of soap that you can press the nail into for the same effect.
(B) Brushing Your Cat
The 2nd step for how to bathe a cat is brushing your cat before bathing. You may wonder why you even have to think about grooming an animal who spends a good portion of her waking hours doing that very thing for herself. But there are a number of good reasons why your cat will benefit if you brush her regularly.
Benefits of brushing your cat
1-Long-haired cats need the most help keeping their coats in tip-top condition, but even short-haired cats benefit from strokes from your brush.
2-Outdoor cats naturally shed twice a year, in preparation for winter and for summer, since they are exposed to the outdoors and the natural changes in the light and temperature. A completely indoor cat does not have major sheddings twice a year because she lives in artificial light and a more consistent year-round temperature, so she sheds moderately but continuously. In either case, shedding creates a lot of excess hair for the cat to lick and swallow. Without grooming help, especially at these times, your cat can wind up with uncomfortable hairballs from all that swallowed hair.
3-A cat experiencing stress, even a small dose of it, will shed automatically as a response. Since we know how long the list is of stress factors for cats, this can happen quite frequently and your cat will need some extra brushing help from you. So if you know that your cat has recently been in a stressful situation—your absence, going to the vet, household visitors and so on—then jump right in with some extra brush strokes.
4-By grooming your cat you are conducting a health check at the same time. You will be able to feel any lumps, sores or ticks and see ear mites or fleas. This gives you a chance to correct these problems before they cause medical problems or physical discomfort.
5-If someone in your household suffers from allergies, you can make things easier on them by grooming your cat regularly with Allerpet or Dander Free to reduce dander.
6-By getting your cat used to being frequently handled all over her body, you will accustom her to being touched by strangers, such as her veterinarian, the pet sitter or your friends. It is especially useful to make her easier to handle for when you have to give her medication.
2.Bathing your cat
- Generally speaking, an average cat only needs a bath once or twice a year. However there are circumstances that require more frequent bathing.
- A cat with dandruff or other skin problems may need bathing every couple of weeks, and hairless cats need bathing every 7 to 10 days because of their oily skin.
- Also, if members of your household are allergic to cats, then frequent rinsing and bathing (twice a week for the rinsing and every week for the bathing) will make living with a cat much more pleasant for them.
(A) Preparation for the bath
- A successful bathing experience with a cat depends at least in part on having everything set up and thought out ahead of time. Even though you may feel sorry for your cat for having to go through this watery ordeal, it will help if you keep an upbeat attitude instead of a guilt-ridden one.
- Hold positive thoughts about how good the bath is for her and you will transmit an upbeat mind-set that the cat will pick up on.
- Some people say it helps to visualize the bathing process before you begin; the way you see it unfolding is what you will make happen.
- You’re going to soak the cat right down to her skin; then, starting from her neck and working toward her tail, you’ll lather her with warm diluted shampoo; finally, you’ll do a whole lot of rinsing before toweling her dry.
- The 3rd step for how to bathe a cat is preparation for the bath through following these tips:
1.Before You Start, Brush Her
The first tip for how to bathe a cat is good brushing your cat.If you have a long-haired cat, you must get rid of any tangles or mats before even one drop of water hits her or the tangles will tighten up and get much worse.
Because detangling and brushing can take time and patience, plan to groom the cat over a period of hours, breaking it into several sessions throughout the day, before bathing her.
2.Get Someone to Assist You
- The 2nd tip for how to bathe a cat is getting somebody to help you.
- It is much easier to give a cat a bath if you have someone else to hold her gently. Of course you can do it alone, but it’s a messier operation.
- With another person to hold the cat securely, you can concentrate on the lather and rinse aspects, and there’s less chance of the cat getting spooked and trying to escape.
3.Set Out Your Towels
The 3rd tip for how to bathe a cat is setting out your towels. Before you begin, put out a pile of old towels and/or a drying chamois (a synthetic material made for drying cats and dogs that absorbs many times its weight in liquid).
4.Wear Clothes Ready to Be Soaked
The 4th tip for how to bathe a cat is preparing and bringing the wear clothes. Washing a cat can be a messy, splashy endeavor, so wear clothes that can take a beating.
5.Set Out Your Shampoo and Acid Rinse
- The 5th tip for how to bathe a cat is setting out your shampoo.
- Get a plastic squeeze bottle, like the kind sold in kitchenware stores for dressings and sauces, and fill it with a mixture of half shampoo and half warm water. Then make your rinse water.
- This needs to be in a bigger container, such as a half-gallon plastic jug or juice container. Into it put 8 parts of warm water to 1 part plain distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.
- This rinse takes out all the shampoo residue and leaves the right pH balance for the coat and skin.
6.Warm the Water and the Sink
- The 6th tip for how to bathe a cat is warming the water.
- Put the rubber mat in the sink or tub and run very warm water to take the chill out of the basin.
- Then lower the temperature so it is just pleasantly warm, and keep the water running the entire time. You want the temperature to be consistent when you use it, so as not to startle your cat.
- A cat’s body temperature is slightly higher than ours, so you want the water nice and warm but not hot. Try it on your wrist; if it’s comfortably warm, that’s perfect.
(B) Giving the bath
1.Saturate the Cat Down to Her Skin
- The 7th tip for how to bathe a cat is saturating the cat down to her skin. Especially if your cat has oily or greasy skin, it may take some rubbing around to get her fur well soaked.
- Once you’ve got her coat wet through and through, leave the water running throughout the bath, with the flow of water directed away from her.
- Do not spray her directly with the hose; cats hate that. Instead, hold the open end of it in your palm and let the water run out of the hose and into your hand, and then onto the cat.
2.Lather Her Up Starting at the Neck
The 8th tip for how to bathe a cat is squeezing some of the diluted shampoo onto the cat’s neck and then onto her shoulders and chest. Then work your way back, lathering under her armpits and on her belly and torso, saving her inner thighs and tail for last.
3.Rinse and Rinse and Rinse Rinsing
The 9th tip for how to bathe a cat is perfectly rinsing your kitty. the shampoo out is so important—the residue can irritate a cat’s skin. After all the shampoo is out, rinse with a couple of containers of your acid rinse water, and then rinse again with clear water after that.
4.Squeeze the Water Out, then Dry
The 10th tip for how to bathe a cat is pressing the cat’s tail and legs gently with a towel or your fingers to get out the excess water. Then use a series of dry towels to pat and squeeze her dry.
Do not rub a cat to dry her, especially a long-haired cat whose fur will get knotted from a rubbing motion when it is wet.
5.Dry Her in a Small, Warm Place
The 10th tip for how to bathe a cat is drying your cat. You may want to put the cat in a bathroom with the door closed and a heater on until she is totally dry. Some cats will tolerate a hair dryer on a low setting, but be careful not to burn her or overheat her. Air-drying in a warm place is safer and easier. If the cat is allowed to walk around when wet, her wet fur can pick up dirt.
- Never spray a cat in the face or dump water on her head.
- Use a warm wet washcloth to clean her face.
- Don’t spray the cat directly with the hose; run the water into your hand first.
- Speak to the cat in a gentle, calm way while you bathe and dry her, to soothe her and reduce stress.
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