Have You Ever Given Your Cat a Bath?


Most of my “spa days” are spent painting my own nails in my steamy bathroom as opposed to getting hot stone massages at a fancy spa, but they are still pretty pleasant and relaxing. It was time for one of those days. Everybody knows I adore my pretty little calico cat, Tulip, and last weekend I thought for sure she’d be purring for some pampering, too. However, our joint “spa day” of grooming resulted in a pristine, fluffy furbaby and a haggard, guilt-ridden (but still pleased) cat mom.

This wasn’t the first time I’d given Tulip a bath or trimmed her nails in a well-intentioned attempt to keep my cat looking her most gorgeous self. Okay, it may also have been slightly motivated by the fact that she rolls around in a filthy litter box and then crawls into bed with me. But, we cat people … we try not to think about that. I mean, dogs eat their own feces, and we still hang out with them.

Being that my previous experiences bathing Tulip had involved some trials and tribulations, I started by tricking Tulip into thinking she was just hanging out in the bathroom with me while I got ready, like always. Perfectly casual. She was none the wiser as I painted my nails, plucked my eyebrows, and mentally geared up to swaddle her in a towel before holding her down and attempting to cut her nails at warp speed! Here are the results in words and (funny) pictures.

1. The mani-pedi

I grabbed my biggest, fluffiest beach towel and wrapped it around Tulip, her first clue that the relaxing time watching me in the bathroom was quickly coming to a close. Her green eyes widened and ears flattened against her head as I gingerly took out the nail clippers. “It’s OK, Tulee,” I cooed, carefully extracting one little white paw from the towel. “Raraawww!” she belted as I clipped the first nail. “Don’t be a drama queen,” I uttered softly. “You saw me trim my nails earlier, and I didn’t scream.”

I popped out her razor sharp nails one by one and cut them as quickly as possible, all the time wrestling her wriggly little body and trying to block out the cries that sounded like she had lost her best friend and/or gotten her tail closed in a door.

2. The bath

Once that lovely spa service had concluded, I turned on the faucet and the bathtub began to fill with water. It was then that she really broke out her seven pounds of pure strength and made a beeline for the door. Our spa day was NOT over! I quickly grabbed her and called for my roommate to assist with the bath, one part of our spa day I didn’t predict I’d be able to do alone.

My roommate held Tulip as I carefully poured warm water over her and sudsed her up with cat shampoo. At this point, she basically just submitted to the “torture.” Dangling in mid-air, fur matted to her face and eyes shooting daggers, she stayed still as I washed her.

I can’t help but feel so guilty whenever I give her a bath because she clearly despises it. I know cats clean themselves and all, but there are certain things that really can’t be removed and places that can’t be reached by tiny, sandpaper cat tongues!

3. A second bath? Yes!

I wrapped Tulip back up in the giant beach towel and we grabbed Tulip’s catmate, Jack, to give him a quick cleanse. Believe it or not, Jack is totally into spa days! He’s been bathed since he was a kitten so he pretty much just goes with the flow. He tries to escape more for the fun challenge, as opposed to a complete disdain for water.

4. The race to get dry

After both kitties had sufficient spa time, the race to get dry began. Jack likes to jump to the highest surface possible so he can be in charge and dry himself in peace. Tulip just plops on the floor looking like an agitated porcupine and furiously licks herself dry.

I also notice that after a nail trimming, the cats always book it to the scratch pad and paw it furiously. I imagine them thinking, “Gotta sharpen these, gotta sharpen these,” as they begrudgingly attempt to accustom themselves to their shorter, blunter nails.

As you may be aware, the Northeast has been bombarded with snowstorm after snowstorm recently. You probably also know that storms can make cats a little skittish. A coworker recently told me that bathing her cats, albeit slightly traumatic during the process, helps them to calm down and rest when a storm is approaching.

I’m not sure whether this was definitely the case, but shortly after our spa adventures, Tulip snuggled in next to me as I read in my bed. Burrowing under the blanket and resting her little pink nose on her freshly washed, stark white paws, she let out a little sigh as the first snowflakes fell.

Ah, tranquillity.

Have you ever given your cat a spa day? How about just a bath? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About the author: Kate E. Lyle is a teacher by day, fitness enthusiast by night, and is forever trying to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand. Her precious cat, Tulip, can be found curled up next to her as she sips Pinot and scours the internet for the next travel adventure she can’t afford. A New England native, Kate is a proud cat connoisseur of Connecticut.

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