Most cats aren’t too chill about getting baths. And, honestly, most cats don’t need to be bathed regularly. They’re designed to be self-cleaning, with little barbs on their tongues that pick up extra fur, dirt and fleas. But there are times when cat baths become necessities. Here are a few of them:
Sphynxes or other hairless cats need cat baths once every week or so in order to get rid of the oils that accumulate on their skin. If they’re not regularly bathed, they can develop cat acne, and the feel of their oily skin may make petting and affection much less enjoyable for you.
This fungal infection requires medicated baths in order to eradicate. Your vet or groomer can teach you how to give these baths in a way that’s safe for you and your cat.
Baths aren’t necessarily needed for cats with fleas, but you may need to bathe cats with severe infestations or flea allergies. Also, if your cat is too young for regular flea products, a bath is the only choice to get the fleas, and their eggs, off your cat.
Sometimes cats get into things they can’t get off their own fur. Or, what they got into may be toxic or smell awful, like skunk spray. In this case, a bath is the best solution.
Cats with arthritis or cats who are very fat have trouble cleaning themselves and may need your assistance to do so. While you’re helping your fat cat get to a normal weight, cleaning him in order to avoid urine scald and other problems will be a huge help. Arthritic cats may actually appreciate the warm water.
In some cases, you can just clean your cat using unscented, hypoallergenic wipes or dry shampoos rather than giving full-scale cat baths. But keep in mind that some cats won’t like being sprinkled with waterless shampoos any more than they’d like the more traditional cat baths. Make sure the dry shampoos are good for dry or sensitive skin if your cat has either.
When my cat, Siouxsie, was severely arthritic, she appreciated being wiped down in places she was having a hard time reaching.
Tell us: Have you ever bathed your cat? What’s your advice for giving cat baths?
Thumbnail: Photography ©fotoedu | Thinkstock.
This piece was originally posted in 2017.
JaneA Kelley is the author of the award-winning cat advice blog Paws and Effect and a contributing writer at Catster.com. She is the board secretary for Diabetic Cats in Need, a nonprofit that helped save her diabetic cat’s life.
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