Some of the more important aspects of owning a cat and caring for its overall health and well being is bathing and grooming them.
To be a responsible pet owner, firstly you need to make sure that your pet’s coat is healthy and its skin is glowing. However, the majority of cats are not the biggest fans of bathing or anything to do with water except when drinking it. More often than not, they can become skittish or down right aggressive if you attempt to bathe them which can make every bath time quite the hassle.
But, if you make it a routine and start doing it early in your cat’s life, you can make it a borderline tolerable experience both for you and your feline friend.
The question is though, how often does a cat need a bath? Fortunately, we have the answers for you right here.
Why do cats lick themselves ?
Most felines, cats included, naturally groom and clean themselves frequently by licking themselves. This, luckily, reduces the amount of times that you need to bathe your cat by a lot. However good a cat is at grooming itself, simply going off by that they won’t be completely “clean”, and it won’t make them smell any better either.
How often should you bathe your cat ?
It is recommended by The National Cat Groomers Institute of America to bathe your cat once every 4 to 6 weeks, but the frequency of which they will need a bath depends on some other factors, such as:
- If they are and indoor or outdoor cat. An outdoor cat will need to be bathed more frequently compared to an indoor cat.
- The type and length of their coat. Longer coats mean higher maintenance and upkeep. Hairless cats on the other hand won’t need as many baths.
- How active is their lifestyle? Active cats will need more regular cleaning and grooming.
- Whether they have any health issues. Anything ranging from ticks, fleas to other type of cat skin problems will affect the amount of times that they need a bath.
Usually you can do an eye or a smell test to conclude whether your cat needs a bath or not. “The general condition of your cat’s coat and skin are good indicators of its health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth and healthy skin should be supple and clear,” says VCA Hospitals.
How to bathe your cat
The time rolls around when your cat is in dire need of a bath, and you just don’t know how to get them near the water filled tub. You can try out some of these steps to have a more enjoyable bath time experience:
- Try tiring them out beforehand. No one wants a hyperactive cat during bath time, so before you let your kitty anywhere near a bath tub full of water, you should initiate play time before to tire their energy levels out, or even allow to tire itself out.
- Try brushing your cat’s fur. By brushing your cat on the regular, you help them with grooming themselves. What this means is that it will not only lessen the amount of baths that a cat needs, but it will get out much of the stuck dander, debris and loose hair as well. It is also recommended by the ASPCA to brush your cat once or twice a week to keep a healthy glow to your cat’s coat.
- Keep their nails trimmed. This is another very important part of a cat’s health and well being. By caring for their paw pads and trimming and maintaining their nails your cat will easily do many of their day to day activities while also saving you from getting a scratch or two.
- Preparing your cat and their bath. To prevent water from getting in your cat’s ear you can gently place some cotton balls in them. Also, by putting a rubber mat down by the washing area you can prevent your cat from slipping.
- Take a gentler approach to washing them. Majority of cats have a natural aversion and fear of water and getting wet, they especially loathe getting sprayed with it. Avoid spraying their face, or even completely submerging them in the water at once. Start with sections working your way up from the legs, one at a time, and up to the head, so they can get used to the feeling. However, if your cat suffers from a cat burn or a cat abscess you will need to be very careful with their skin while you are washing them.
- Switch out for a medicated shampoo. It is a given that you should not ever use human products on your pets as they may contain chemicals that are safe for us but harmful for them. Your vet can recommend you an appropriate cat shampoo. A good shampoo will be a non -irritating, hypoallergenic pet shampoo that conditions, deodorizes, enhances shine and relieves dry and itchy skin.
- Rinse them thoroughly after the bath. After shampooing and massaging that into their coat and skin, make sure to rinse super well so that there is no soap residue left on the skin.
- After removing the cotton balls from the cat’s ears, you can then carefully dry their body and face off with a soft towel.
- Last step. After patting them down, grab your blow dryer and set it to the lowest setting and dry your cat while simultaneously brushing them.
Is there an easy way to groom your cat?
Cats have a natural need to groom themselves and have in turn developed certain techniques for it. If you supplement this with frequent brushing you can reduce the number of times that you will need to bathe your cat. But, just to be safe, you should still bathe your cat at least once every two months.
Even though bath time with a cat is not the easiest thing in the world, with the right steps taken, you can maintain your cat’s coat squeaky clean and shiny.