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To wash or not to wash?

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your cat. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your cat's hygiene needs.

  
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Nikki, the- Soul Cat in- Heavens

His Kittyness- gives you His- blessing
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 5, '08 10:32am PST 
Hi all, I'm considering giving Nikki a bath, probably for the first time in his life. His coat is not as good looking as Leo's is. He's got dander too, and keeps scratching himself. My hubby thinks washing is not good because cats wash themselves anyway. So would it be good or bad?
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Atrus

Fluff butt
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 5, '08 11:30am PST 
The only "bad" things I've ever heard about bathing a cat is that too many baths can lead to dry skin.

If you do decide to give a bath, brush him out completely first. Baths remove -a lot- of dead/loose hair, but afterwards a cat will lick himself like crazy. So it's important to remove all of the loose hair so he doesn't swallow more than usual when grooming himself afterwards. This is also why it's important to make sure you rinse the fur really well.

Coat appearance is generally more related to overall health/diet, but a bath may help a little. I bathe every so often and it is not terribly difficult.
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Nikki, the- Soul Cat in- Heavens

His Kittyness- gives you His- blessing
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 5, '08 12:21pm PST 
Thank you sweet Atrus!
What about shampoo? Do I have to buy an expensive pet brand, or can I use baby shampoo? And should the water be body-temperature or warmer?
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Atrus

Fluff butt
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 5, '08 4:47pm PST 
I bought a bottle of cat and kitten shampoo from Petsmart, but you could probably find it at a grocery store too. Some people use baby shampoo, some people use a mild dish soap like Dawn. If you wash often, you may need to condition, since the sulfates in soap/shampoo may leave the fur dry. Some people also use a (very) diluted vinegar rinse afterwards. So far I've just shampooed and rinsed my cat, but I've only ever had to bathe him like, twice.

The rule of thumb is generally to get the water to a temperature where if you dab some on your wrist, it doesn't feel hot or cold (think bathing a baby), although I generally use water a tiny bit warmer as cats have a high body temperature than people.
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Harvey

Has been COTD!
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 5, '08 5:49pm PST 
All of Atrus' advice is very good, and I don't have too much to add.

I shampoo my Maine Coons regularly (especially Harvey) because they are show cats, and must be shampooed before each show. I use a bunch of products designed for cat show exhibitors, but depending on my mood, a mild dish detergent is one of the things I use--it's especially effective for getting out the grease for cats with oily fur. I wouldn't worry too much about what kind of shampoo you use; you just want to get Nikki clean, not prepare him for a beauty contest. Just make sure that you rinse very thoroughly--if possible, with a hand-held shower head.

Also, many people say that shampooing too often can lead to dry skin, but my own experience tells me that this isn't true--during the peak of the show season, my cats can get a very thorough shampoo and blow dry every week, and none of them have ever had dry skin, nor have I heard of this as being a problem for other exhibitors and breeders. Of course, it could be a problem for some individual cats, but I think it's more likely that the FUR would become rather dry and lusterless rather than the skin.

As for whether cats need baths--it all depends on the cat. My childhood cat, who was an indoor/outdoor cat, never had a bath in her life. Nor did the cats I had before the ones I have now. But none of the cats in question ever appeared dirty (they were shorthaired, by the way), except for the one who died at 18--in the last year of his life, he became unable to groom himself very well, and his fur was dry and lifeless-looking, but I didn't want to shampoo him because of his advanced age. Long-haired cats, however, usually DO need the occasional shampoo; think of all the Persians you've seen who were once white fluff balls and are now grey and matted.

Now, as for Nikki's dander (dandruff?) and scratching. A good shampoo will definitely help, but I suspect that there may be a health problem that should be looked into. It could be something as simple as feeding him better food; or it could be a food allergy. Fat cats like my Spot often can't groom themselves very well. Also, I think I've heard that dandruff can be a sign of diabetes. Is there any possibility that he has some kind of infestation problem that could be causing the itching? In any event, when Spot developed oily fur and dandruff, I took him to the vet for a thorough physical and blood workup. There were no particular health irregularities, so we decided that his problem was related to his obesity (he's on a diet now) and the fact that, since there had been three kittens in the house, one after another, he'd been dipping into the kitten food (which has more calories and fats than regular food), and that was a contributory cause to the problem. So, my advice would be that you see a vet to rule out any allergies, infestations, or other health problems.

In any event, many cats do benefit from a regular bath. Even though most of them don't like it, after the bath, they seem to enjoy feeling cleaner. And the fact that a bath is great for removing loose and dead fur makes it cooler for the cat in the summer, and is a great way to prevent hairballs.

Good luck!
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Punky

Don't leave me- alone!!
 
 
Purred: Wed Aug 6, '08 10:20am PST 
A BATH????? HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!
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Kisu

Japanese Bobtail
 
 
Purred: Thu Aug 7, '08 5:25am PST 
Me and my brofur are showcats also, and I agree with HARVEY
100% ! Yippee.. during our baths for the show we each get bathed twice- one time to degrease -and one time to whiten our fur.
Special shampoos (F1R2) for each one.
And then we get the white vinegar rinse rinse rinse (diluted with water), and then conditioner to soften us up.. After all is done - We feel like SILK!
And we LOVE our baths, as a matter of fact, we sit in the water as meowmy bathes us. Its fun, she uses the kitchen sink with a small litter pan as a bathtub, and rinses us with the sink hose...
Enjoy!
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KuJu Ku

Bobtails Rule!
 
 
Purred: Thu Aug 7, '08 5:31am PST 
Hi! Thats my sisfur above me and I love my baths.
She forgot one thing, dont shampoo anywhere above the high neckline, face, etc... we use babywipes for inside the ears, around the nose, and eyes, and mouth. Gently does it. Tell your meowmy to check for boogers in your nose and eyes ! hehehehehehehh
Cause I always get black dried boogers in my little pink nosey.

Edited by author Thu Aug 7, '08 5:33am PST

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Harvey

Has been COTD!
 
 
Purred: Thu Aug 7, '08 8:56am PST 
This is OT, but there was actually a thread recently somewhere on boogers and what to do about them. The cat in question was very relieved to hear that it's permissable for their Human to pick the cat's nose!
big grin
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KuJu Ku

Bobtails Rule!
 
 
Purred: Thu Aug 7, '08 12:04pm PST 
Hi Harv... I wont lie, Meowmy does pick dried black boogers out of my nose.. but we prefer wipes.. it hurts when they are so suck to my little pink nosey.. OUCHcry
Only I am the one to seem to get the boogers... Kyande Kisu always has a perfect pink nose

Edited by author Thu Aug 7, '08 12:11pm PST

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